Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3 Best picks to make at No. 32 in 2021 NFL Draft

Gregory Rousseau, 2021 NFL mock draft. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Gregory Rousseau, 2021 NFL mock draft. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the defending Super Bowl champions and are picking 32nd in the 2021 NFL Draft. They can build depth with the pick.

The 2021 NFL Draft has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafting in unfamiliar territory. The team will pick 32nd due to its recent Super Bowl victory. For general manager Jason Licht, this is a different spot on the draft board, but he has shown an ability to find talent anywhere in the draft.

The team does not have a lot of holes to fill for the 2021 roster, but this season’s draft gives the team the ability to start finding pieces that will fill future holes. Looking forward to 2022 and beyond, the team has some potential needs at edge rusher, interior defensive line, interior offensive line, running back and quarterback.

Some of these holes are due to impending free agents while others are due to age. The team can start to add youth and depth to these positions when they draft next week. Without a glaring need on the roster, the team has the luxury to draft the best talent available rather than trying to draft for need.

Although it can be a disadvantage to draft 32nd compared to the top 10 or even top 20, there is the bonus of being able to focus on players and positions that other teams overlook because of the lack of impact or value the position may bring.

Best picks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the No. 32 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

3. Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

The Buccaneers have a couple of decisions to make when it comes to the interior of its offensive line after next season. Both starting center Ryan Jensen and starting right guard Alex Cappa are free agents after the 2021 season. By drafting Landon Dickerson, the Buccaneers can at least create leverage with one or both players while potentially having the replacement in-house.

Dickerson played mostly center for Alabama, but he also played guard earlier in his collegiate career at Florida State. He has been viewed as capable of both positions at the NFL level which would be a plus for the Buccaneers.

Dickerson does have an injury history, but he could be worth the risk if he clears a look by the team’s doctors. Listed at 6-6 and 333 pounds, Dickerson has the size to excel at the pro level and potentially be a future anchor to the line along with last year’s first-round pick Tristan Wirfs.

2. Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (FL)

At some point, the Buccaneers will have to address the edge position on defense. They have a potent combo in Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett, but unfortunately, there is no depth behind them.

Pierre-Paul is a free agent after 2021, and more importantly, he is also 32. Last season, he showed signs of slowing down before turning it on during the playoffs. By bringing in Rousseau, the Buccaneers could take some of the workload off of Pierre-Paul to keep him fresh throughout the season.

By grooming Rousseau, the team would also be able to see if he were able to replace Pierre-Paul in 2022 or if they should re-sign JPP or seek a replacement in free agency. Rousseau could be available at 32 due to only one true year of college production which came in 2019. He opted out of 2020.

1. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Taking a running back at 32 is a luxury the Buccaneers can afford. The team is set at the position for 2021, but it wouldn’t hurt the team to get in front of a potential need in 2022. Najee Harris would give the team a feature back for next season and beyond.

Harris is a tough north-south runner who showed an ability to be used in the passing game in 2020. He showed the ability to both run routes and do well in pass protection. Being able to be used in pass protection is a key with running backs for head coach Bruce Arians.

The Buccaneers only have running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn currently under contract in 2022. There is a chance Vaughn doesn’t make the 2021 roster so the team needs to address the position eventually. Drafting Harris would help make some combination of Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard expendable.

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A duo of Harris and Vaughn and 2022 could at least be a poor man’s version of Jones and Fournette with the potential to be better. If Harris is not available, it is possible the team opts for Travis Etienne instead. Harris has the bigger body and preferable running style that Arians tends to look for.