Apr 24, 2024 - Sports

Bucs could consider center, edge rusher in NFL Draft's 1st round

The exterior of Detroit's Ford Field, decorated to celebrate the NFL Draft being held there.

The Bucs pick 26th tonight in Detroit. Photo: Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Coming off a third straight division title, the Buccaneers enter the NFL Draft in need of replacements for some former key contributors.

State of play: The Bucs hold the 26th pick in tonight's first round.

  • Experts seem divided on whether the team will seek to bolster its defense or surround returning quarterback Baker Mayfield with more talent.

Here are some rumored candidates for the Bucs' first-round pick:

Chop Robinson, an edge rusher from Penn State, has been one of the more frequent names linked to the Bucs in mock drafts.

  • The team has a need at the position, having lost star rusher Shaquil Barrett to the Dolphins this offseason.
  • "Robinson is explosive with terrific first-step quickness," writes ESPN's Jordan Reid.

Graham Barton, an offensive lineman who played for Duke, could replace another stalwart: center Ryan Jensen, who retired in February.

  • Washington Post NFL insider Jason La Canfora describes Barton as a "plug-and-play" option with "great football IQ."

Jackson Powers-Johnson, from Oregon, is another center option.

  • "Powers-Johnson is big, powerful, and tenacious and brings the build and demeanor to play at multiple spots on the interior" of the offensive line, writes The Ringer draft analyst Danny Kelly.

Ladd McConkey, a wide receiver from Georgia, would give the Bucs youth at a position led by two key veterans: Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

  • The Athletic's Dan Pompei says: "McConkey could be a short-term complement for Evans and Godwin … and he could be a long-term replacement for Godwin, whose deal is up after the season."
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