By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports writer
In just under 10 days, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 31 other teams from the National Football League will take part in what becomes an unprecedented first all virtual NFL Draft. Because of the COVID-19 threat that has ravaged the United States and the rest of the world, sports has had to make its adjustment on the fly and nothing is different for America’s most popular league, the NFL.
The NFL Draft 2020 was supposed to take place in Las Vegas this year in what was going to be a spectacle like none other. A boat was going to take draft picks to the stage to shake hands with commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected. Instead, Goodell will be announcing draft selections from the friendly confines of his home and players will be featured on television via live streaming from their homes.
The Buccaneers have experienced one of the more exciting off-seasons in recent memory and much of that can be attributed to the acquisition of quarterback Tom Brady. The soon to be 43-year old made his decision to leave the New England Patriots after nearly 20 years with the same franchise. Now Brady joins Tampa Bay in an effort to try and lead the moribund club to a Super Bowl, one that will be in Tampa’s backyard come February, 2021.
A lot of homework has been done by the Buccaneers’ scouting department and coaching staff in regards to whom they might take with the No. 14 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Will they trade up to secure a potential successor to Brady at the quarterback position? Will they trade down and attain more picks? Whatever Tampa Bay does, it’s quite obvious that they’re in a win-now focus and the Buccaneers will do what it takes to make a deep run to the postseason. We take a closer look at a few players Tampa Bay might select in the NFL Draft.
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: Big in stature and also can sling the football all over the field. Has brought some comparisons to Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Would be the route to go if looking into the future.
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: Imagine a wide receiving corps with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Jerry Jeudy. …Is your mouth drooling? Yeah, ours is too. Jeudy may be more luxury over need, but would give Brady another top of the line target.
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: The Buccaneers have to figure out a way to keep Brady upright for 16 games and beyond. This pick seems like one that could really stick. Thomas did a great job protecting Jake Fromm.
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa: Wirfs is another offensive tackle that many analysts are projecting may fall to Tampa Bay at No. 14. The big tackle would be a welcomed sight for Brady and the offensive line this fall.
Tua Tagovialoa, QB, Alabama: If Tagovialoa can’t convince the 13 teams ahead of Tampa Bay that he’s healthy enough moving forward into the NFL, do the Buccaneers take the bait on this? This would give Tagovialoa time to sit and not take much action at all, while sitting behind Brady. Seems possible if he falls to No. 14.
Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama: Dream scenario would be Wills Jr. somehow falls to Tampa Bay at No. 14. Unfortunately the draft’s best offensive tackle will likely be selected in the top five come draft day.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.