Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

What are the most pressing Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft needs? With the 2023 NFL Draft here, let's dive into the positional gaps they might fill.

With the first round of the NFL Draft in the books, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing for life without Tom Brady. What are the Buccaneers’ biggest team needs in these final two days, and which targets might be most appealing for an NFC South squad in contention for a division title where a 9-8 record might be sufficient?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Needs Following Round 1

  • QB
  • OT
  • LB
  • EDGE
  • G

The Buccaneers hold nine picks in this year’s NFL Draft but only three of the first 152. As a result, we might not be surprised if they try to package some later-round picks for a middle-rounder.

Because while developmental players are always useful, Tampa Bay must contend with a roster that’s still good enough to compete at a high level on a great day. To get there, they’ll need to shore up a few key positions. And as we’ll see below, they started on the defensive line to help maintain a near-elite — or perhaps even elite — pass rush.

MORE: 100% FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator

This franchise went from the cream of the NFL crop from a roster construction perspective to barren in a hurry. While there is still defensive talent present, the offensive line has become a massive question mark (dating back to last year’s injury woes), and QB is an even more significant one.

Baker Mayfield is still on the path toward redemption, but he’s likely not the long-term answer. Linebacker swiftly became a need when Devin White requested a trade. Meanwhile, Lavonte David is outstanding, but he’s also not going to play forever.

Results for Buccaneers 2023 Draft Pick

We used PFN’s FREE Mock Draft Simulator to project some realistic Tampa Bay targets at each of their draft positions. Here’s a breakdown of the Round 1 results, as well as the simulator’s remaining projections.

Round 1, Pick 19: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

This franchise clearly wants to elevate its already impressive defensive line. Calijah Kancey is both incredibly talented and also positionally undersized. How will his playing translate at the NFL level? Assuredly, the Bucs believe he can make an immediate impact.

MORE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Draft Grades 2023

It should be noted that last week, the MDS projected Alabama safety Brian Branch as a realistic Bucs draft target. Interestingly, no safeties came off the board in the opening round. If the first five selections in Round 2 are non-safeties, then it would mark the first time in 12 years that no safeties were snagged within the first 36 picks. On an opening night filled with surprises, this one merits more attention.

Predictions for Remaining 2023 Draft Picks

Round 2, Pick 50: Keion White, EDGE, Georgia Tech

This team can win a lot of games if they can get their defense close to 2020 levels. That might not be possible this year, but the early portion of this mock draft demonstrates a commitment to improving this unit — this time grabbing EDGE Keion White.

Round 3, Pick 81: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse

Yes, the Bucs need o-line help. Perhaps they’ll reach earlier, but at this spot, Matthew Bergeron makes sense.

Round 5, Pick 153: SirVocea Dennis, LB, Pittsburgh

Another pick, another defender. It could take a year or two before such a unit begins to gel. Or maybe they’ll strike gold and find the right combination of rookies to help elevate a unit that still has some very talented guys. SirVocea Dennis could be worth the investment as a Day 3 pick.

Round 5, Pick 175: Jay Ward, S, LSU

Another college safety and one who probably can play nickel corner if needed. Jay Ward would bring even more needed depth to an increasingly young corps of defensive playmakers.

Round 6, Pick 181: Ronnie Bell, WR, Michigan

Nothing to lose here. While Ronnie Bell might not be more than a special teamer in the NFL with occasional No. 5 WR value, Tampa Bay could use another body on the roster, and Bell brings some fundamental soundness and competitiveness to his game.

Round 6, Pick 196: Camerun Peoples, RB, Appalachian State

You can’t spell “Camerun” without “run.” OK then.

MORE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2023 Schedule

The Bucs could use another RB. Whether or not it’s the potentially low-ceiling Camerun Peoples, the fact is, this franchise almost certainly will add a running back to compete with Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Patrick Laird for a roster spot.

Round 7, Pick 230: Spencer Anderson, C, Maryland

Another lineman. Spencer Anderson might end up skirting past the draft and getting signed soon afterward. Regardless, the Bucs will do their best to beef up their offensive line.

Round 7, Pick 252: D’Anthony Jones, EDGE, Houston

An “old” prospect who just turned 24, D’Anthony Jones might be headed for the practice squad in 2023. Or he could impress on a needy team. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tampa Bay packaged two or three of their late picks to move up 20-25 spots to land someone with a higher immediate ceiling.

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

Related Articles