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Potential First-Round Draft Selections for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Offense

Let's take a closer look at the offensive prospects available in this year's draft that have the best chance at being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round.

We're just a few days away from the 2023 NFL Draft kicking off in Kansas City, and for every fanbase in the NFL, the excitement is mounting.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this year's draft holds a lot of weight. Whether you consider it a 'rebuild', or just a 'retool', there's no question that Bucs' GM, Jason Licht, needs to add some real difference makers to his roster. At least if he has plans to re-establish the Buccaneers franchise as one to be reckoned with in the years to come, that is. 

Assuming that's the plan, then there's no better place to start than round 1. With the Bucs currently positioned with the 19th overall selection, it will be imperative that the team is able to add a player who can step in and contribute in year one, while also having the potential to develop into a star down the line. 

Let's take a look at which offensive players I think are most likely to hear their names called when the Buccaneers are on the clock Thursday night.

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Darnell Wright | OT | Tennessee

Wright has a massive frame, and he uses it to his advantage in both the run game, and pass protection. He's deceivingly fleet of foot, and his combination of length and strength allows him to gain leverage over most edge rushers. Although Wright has experience playing on the left side, he really shined as a right tackle this past season for the Volunteers. Wright's overwhelming power and heavy hands were on full display as a Senior, where he shut down Alabama's Will Anderson during their matchup, en route to dominating nearly every other SEC pass rusher he faced throughout the year.

If Wright were to slip to 19, it would be a good value pick for the Bucs. That said, Wright is viewed by many as a more natural fit at right tackle in the NFL. Which means that if the Buccaneers also see it that way, then Tristan Wirfs would likely be expected to switch over to the left side. Although chances are Wirfs would be just fine playing left tackle, it's not an ideal scenario compared to if the team were to select a natural left tackle, which would allow Wirfs to remain in his comfort zone. 

Broderick Jones | OT | Georgia

Jones is a naturally gifted athlete with excellent mobility and foot speed for an offensive tackle. Despite only starting for a year and a half at Georgia, Jones proved to be an extremely reliable bookend tackle for the Bulldogs, while also displaying a high level of physicality and aggression when finishing plays. Jones also has great discipline and didn't commit a single holding penalty throughout his entire career at Georgia. To add even more intrigue to his potential, Jones ran a 4.97 forty-yard dash, which was the fastest time of any offensive lineman at the combine. Although Jones could benefit from some refinement to his technique, that's something that should happen over time. He's young, and in addition to his speed and physicality, he's also got a ton of raw power to work with.

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Although it's less than likely that Jones will be available when Tampa Bay is on the clock, stranger things have happened, and it would be a home run pick for the Bucs. Not only would Jones immediately slot in as the team's starting left tackle — allowing Tristan Wirfs to remain on the right side — but based on his physical profile and limited experience, the argument could be made that Broderick Jones has the highest ceiling of any offensive lineman in the draft. 

Anton Harrison | OT | Oklahoma

At just 21 years old, Harrison still has plenty of room to grow as a football player. Still, he's got an impressive set of tools to work with and good experience under his belt. A former basketball player, similar to Broderick Jones, Harrison has good agility and movement skills for an offensive tackle. He uses his mobility to excel in the run game, and he's a problem for defenders to deal with when he's pulling down the line. In pass protection, Harrison is comfortable accepting the first blow, and consistently remains poised and disciplined throughout his 'pursuit of protection'. Harrison has experience playing on both sides of the line, and in addition to his versatility, he has a great frame which would allow him to put on weight if needed. 

Harrison will likely be the last of the Tier 1 tackles available in this draft. After him, the position falls off a cliff. I think it's unlikely that Harrison goes off the board before the Buccaneers' pick at 19, which makes this a very realistic option. If the Bucs were to select Anton Harrison, it's safe to assume he would become the team's starting left tackle immediately. This would allow Tristan Wirfs to remain at his preferred right tackle position and hopefully set the team up with two bookend tackles for the next decade. 

Michael Mayer | TE | Notre Dame

In a draft class that is loaded with high-quality tight end prospects, Michael Mayer stands out as the type of tight end that Bucs' GM, Jason Licht, covets. Mayer can function comfortably as an inline tight end due to his impressive combination of size and blocking ability, which is something the Bucs need. He is also a highly effective pass catcher, with the hands, route-running, and body control to excel in all areas of the field, but especially the red zone. Personally, I'm a big fan of Utah's Dalton Kincaid — who has drawn comparisons to Travis Kelce for his dynamic receiving skills — but I just don't think he fits within Jason Licht's preferred prototype for the position. 

Based on the offense he was a part of in Seattle, new OC, Dave Canales, likes to run a lot of 12-man personnel, with an emphasis on utilizing the tight ends. You can bet the Bucs will look to get in on this talented crop of rookie tight ends at some point during the draft, but the question is, when? There's a good chance they would prefer to do so on Day 2 or 3 of the draft, but it all depends on how the first round unfolds. If the best offensive tackles and edge rushers are off the board by 19, and Mayer is still available, I could see Jason Licht pulling the trigger. 

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