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Tampa Bay Buccanneers 2022 NFL Draft Projections, Positions Needed & Mock Draft

Tampa Bay Buccanneers Draft 2022

The NFL got a look at what life without Tom Brady was going to look like for 40 days. Then, for whatever reason, the future Hall of Fame quarterback decided he missed the quarterback drama, like Brett Favre had at the end of his career, and decided to come back and play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022. Brady’s retirement was surprising in the first place because of how well he played, despite being 44-years-old.

Last season, Brady passed for 5,316 yards and threw for 43 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. The Buccaneers benefited from the veteran’s quarterback success, finishing the season 13-4 to win the NFC South for the first time since 2007. While Tampa Bay bowed out to the Rams, they did win a playoff game for the second straight season.

Tampa Bay Buccanneers 2022 NFL Draft Projections, Positions Needed & Mock Draft
Tampa Bay Buccanneers 2022 NFL Draft Projections, Positions Needed & Mock Draft

But how does Brady’s return impact the franchise as a whole? Coach Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers aren’t scrambling to rebuild with their signal-caller. Tampa Bay was $3 million over the salary cap and will have to make some significant moves to get Brady more help at wide receiver for the Buccaneers to contend for a second Super Bowl in the past three seasons.

Players Leaving the Tampa Bay Buccanneers

Guard Alex Cappa left Tampa Bay after four seasons to sign with Cincinnati. Cappa was durable during his time with the Buccaneers. He started every game for Tampa Bay in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Safety Jordan Whitehead signed a free-agent deal with the New York Jets. Whitehead had been a consistent playmaker for the Buccaneers who played free and strong safety during his four years in Tampa Bay. Whitehead intercepted two passes and defended eight passes last season. Whitehead also recorded five tackles for loss and made 58 solo tackles.

Tight end OJ Howard decided to head north and sign with the Buffalo Bills. Howard has seen his production decline over the past two seasons with Tampa Bay. After an injury-plagued 2020 season, Howard appeared in all 17 games in 2021 and made nine starts with the Buccaneers. Howard was only targeted 21 times and caught 14 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Pro Bowl center Ali Marpet announced his retirement in February. Marpet, who made 16 starts last season, started 101 games during a seven-year run with the Buccaneers. Marpet was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2021.

Positions Needed by the Tampa Bay Buccanneers

The Buccaneers could use another playmaker in the running game. Tampa Bay was led by Leonard Fournette in rushing, who finished with 812 yards on 180 carries. However, Fournette showed some issues with wear-and-tear, appearing in 14 of the Buccaneers’ games. Ronald Jones fell out of favor, only making 101 carries in 16 games. Tampa Bay will want to find a young and cheaper option who can break big runs.

Brady’s return was enough to likely save Ryan Jensen from exiting the offensive line. However, it didn’t prevent Cappa from heading to greener pastures. While Brady is still an excellent passer, heading into a season where the veteran will be turning 45, it will be more important than ever to have solid protection in front of him. Tampa Bay will want to grab more depth and perhaps an upgrade in the trenches.

With Howard departing and Rob Gronkowski aging like Brady, the Buccaneers will be in search of another dependable receiver at tight end. Gronkowski, who is 32, led all Tampa Bay tight ends with 55 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns. However, it will be unfair to expect that type of production from him moving forward.

Tampa Bay Buccanneers Mock Draft

Tampa Bay has seven draft picks for the 2022 NFL draft. In the first round, the Buccaneers will be able to find some help on the defensive line. Oklahoma senior Perrion Winfrey broke out with career-best numbers in 2021. Winfrey recorded 5.5 sacks and forced a fumble for the Sooners.

In the second round, Tampa Bay could pursue Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam. Elam, who is a 6-foot-2, 196-pound cornerback, didn’t have his best season as a junior. Elam only intercepted one pass and made 29 tackles, 17 of which were solo. Elam also broke up five passes after making 11 as a junior.

In the third round, Tampa Bay could continue stacking depth on its defensive line by drafting defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis. Mathis made a major leap forward as a senior. He recorded a career-high nine sacks, forced a fumble, and made 53 tackles. Before his senior season, Mathis’ hadn’t recorded more than 1.5 sacks in a season.

For a fourth-round selection, the Buccaneers could draft Arizona State offensive lineman Dohnovan West. It may be a good buy-low spot on West, who only played in four games apiece during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. However, West demonstrated the skills needed for the next level. West has good size, with a 6-4, 300-pound frame. Check Cowboys’ NFL Draft odds and NFL Odds.

2022 NFL Draft Event Information

  • Date: Thursday, Apr. 28th (Round 1) | Friday, Apr. 29th (Rounds 2-3) | Saturday, Apr. 30th (Rounds 4-7)
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday) | 7 p.m. ET (Friday) | Noon ET (Saturday)
  • Location: Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, NV
  • TV Channel: ABC | ESPN | NFL Network
  • NFL Draft Live Streaming: NFL Game Pass

Check other NFL teams that have the best winning record last season

2022 NFL First-Round Draft Order (with 2021 records)

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Houston Texans
  4. New York Jets
  5. New York Giants
  6. Carolina Panthers
  7. New York Giants (via Bears)
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
  10. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
  11. Washington Commanders
  12. Minnesota Vikings
  13. Houston Texans (via Browns)
  14. Baltimore Ravens
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers
  18. New Orleans Saints
  19. Philadelphia Eagles
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers
  21. New England Patriots
  22. Green Bay Packers (via Raiders)
  23. Arizona Cardinals
  24. Dallas Cowboys
  25. Buffalo Bills
  26. Tennessee Titans
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  28. Green Bay Packers
  29. Kansas City Chiefs (via Miami from 49ers)
  30. Kansas City Chiefs
  31. Cincinnati Bengals
  32. Detroit Lions (via Rams)

Teams with no First Round Pick

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Denver Broncos
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Miami Dolphins

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