TAMPA, Fla. — There is a slight buzz beginning to swirl around an upcoming draft prospect and his potential landing spot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Though mock drafts tend to be speculative and for entertainment, there's usually a bit of truth to them. As you go back, taking a look at previous seasons under Jason Licht, there seems to be quite a few mock drafts that targeted the exact player the Bucs would go on to draft — Jameis Winston, Vernon Hargreaves, O.J. Howard, Devin White. And, although this year is different with the Bucs selecting 32nd overall, Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore’s name is beginning to gain traction.
In just the latest of a string of mocks sending the 6-foot-5-inch, 311-pound Philadelphia native to the Bucs is one from Pro Football Talk's Oliver Hodgkinson.
In it, Hodgkinson says, "Anyone who witnessed Barmore destroying a talented Ohio State offensive line in the college football title game knows the devastating impact his combination of size, strength, and speed can bring."
Yes, Ndamukong Suh is back for one more year, but that's all anyone can count on right now. Vita Vea is one of the best, if not the best, nose tackles in the league. But, he has been plagued with injuries early in his young career. Rakeem Nunez-Roches filled in admirably, as did Steve McLendon, but depth is something that is desperately needed along the defensive line as is another playmaker placed within the already existing rotation.
Barmore fits the bill and, like any other Bucs draft pick, will not be asked to play heavy minutes early on in his career. Getting Barmore acclimated to the NFL game and Todd Bowles' defense without the reliance of him being a full-time starter is a luxury the Buccaneers have; and it may ultimately help Barmore's development for the long term.
Barmore saved his best performance for the biggest stage, ripping apart an elite Ohio State offensive line in the National Championship. He finished the 2020 season with eight sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss.
Despite some draft experts believing Barmore may wind up the most overdrafted prospect, that tends to lean more towards a team that needs to utilize Barmore as a plug-and-play tackle. With the ability to get Barmore playing time while also bringing along his development, the Buccaneers could find one of the higher upside players fall in their lap at pick number 32.
It feels like this year, more than any other in recent memory, is the year for Licht and head coach Bruce Arians to take a risk on a player with high upside rather than a player that could be a starter right now but has nearly reached their ceiling. Players like Barmore, Gregory Rousseau, or Quincy Roche may not be as NFL-ready as other prospects at the same position, but can develop into far better talents.
It's a spoil of riches for the Buccaneers, but only one thing is for certain — nothing that happens on draft night should come as a surprise nor will it be the wrong decision.
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