2021 NFL Draft: Buccaneers team needs, draft picks, top prospects to keep an eye on


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl champions but it is not as simple as running it back next year. The team has several high-profile free agents, which will inevitably force them to make difficult choices and develop a corresponding draft strategy. CBS Sports takes a look at the Tampa Bay’s war chest of draft picks, potential team needs and examines a few players that might fit into their infrastructure. 

2021 draft picks

  • Round 1: Buccaneers  
  • Round 2: Buccaneers 
  • Round 3: Buccaneers  
  • Round 4: Buccaneers  
  • Round 5: Buccaneers  
  • Round 7: Steelers  
  • Round 7: Buccaneers 

Tampa Bay has retained its picks in each round with the exception of the sixth. The team acquired offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins and a seventh round pick from Pittsburgh in exchange for a sixth round pick. 

Biggest offseason needs

  • Edge rusher
  • Defensive tackle
  • Left tackle
  • Wide receiver

Coming off a Super Bowl victory, Tampa Bay does not have many needs, but rather could be forced to fill some holes after free agency. Defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Steve McLendon, edge rusher Shaq Barrett, linebacker Lavonte David, wide receivers Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin and running back Leonard Fournette are all scheduled to be free agents. 

With roughly $30 million in salary cap space, the Buccaneers are likely not going to be able to retain the services of all those players. In the event that they lose one or two, general manager Jason Licht will need to utilize the draft to execute a cost-saving plan. The idea of taking a running back might seem exorbitant but that is the type of luxury move that a Super Bowl champion can afford to make. Head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady are not going to be around the game forever so the idea of adding an immediate impact player is a consideration. The Chiefs selected running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round after winning the Super Bowl last year.

Left tackle Donovan Smith and edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul are potential cap casualties if the team finds an adequate replacement. The team is unlikely to part with either unless it benefits them in another area. 

Prospects to watch

Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

Oweh does not have the sack production that most like to see out of a first-round pick, but if Oweh was a complete player, he would be taken much higher. At this time, he is more of a projection, which is hardly different than Barrett when the team signed him two years ago. The Buccaneers could potentially lose Barrett and/or Pierre-Paul, so the addition of Oweh would be an opportunity to save money to retain other key players. Oweh, along with other edge rushers in that range like Azeez Ojulari and Jaelan Phillips have been mocked to the team during the pre-draft process. 

Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State

Togiai is a response to potential free agent losses, just like Oweh. Suh and McLendon are both free agents so the team could use some depth at the position with the potential to one day become a starter at the least. The Buckeye was a pocket pressing interior player that often drew double teams on a talented Ohio State front. The expectation is that he lands somewhere on Day 2. 

Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB

Smith is likely a Day 2 pick and it would not be a total surprise if he found his way into the first round. He is a long, lean player with a world of potential. The draft class lacks an elite edge rusher like the Bosas, Chase Young or Myles Garrett but there is a lot of depth from No. 15-50. Tampa Bay should be able to potentially move around and capitalize on the depth at the position. The No. 64 overall pick in 2020, Jeremy Chinn signed a 4-year deal worth roughly $5.2 million. Spotrac.com is projecting Barrett will receive an average annual salary in the neighborhood of $19.7 million. You don’t have to be a math wiz to see the difference. 





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