Buccaneers Contemplating First Round Trade-Up

The Buccaneers exceeded expectations in 2023, reaching the divisional round of the playoffs. That has left the team near the back of the first round draft order, and a move up the board may be required for Tampa Bay to land a highly-coveted prospect.

The Bucs currently own pick No. 26, and many of the best prospects at several positions will be off the board by that point. Tampa Bay has shown considerable interest in some of the 2024 class’ top edge rushers, and a trade aimed at securing one of them could be in play depending on how Day 1 shakes out. General manager Jason Licht recently acknowledged the team is putting together plans for a potential move up the order in anticipation of the first round.

“Right now, we have five to seven guys we think might be there,” Licht said (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). “Then you start kind of falling in love with them and you’re like, ‘Okay, one of these guys is going to be there, and we’re going to be so happy.’ Then, there’s the chance that none of them are. I think that’s the hardest part about picking down there late.”

Dallas Turner is widely considered the likeliest edge rusher to be selected, putting him firmly on the top-10 radar. Other options – such as Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu and Chop Robinson could be in play elsewhere in the first round, though. Tampa Bay has met with Verse, and the team’s pre-draft evaluation process has included work on the latter two prospects. While Robinson could fall to the No. 26 slot, moving into range for Verse or Latu would likely require a trade-up maneuver.

As Licht noted, Tampa Bay has the capital to pull off a small move up the board. The Bucs acquired a third-round pick in the Carlton Davis trade, and the team has seven 2024 selections in total. Licht added the team will wait until around the 20th pick to make a determination on whether or not trading up will be a worthwhile endeavor.

Regardless of what happens in the first round, Tampa Bay could be one of the teams in the market for a running back addition during the draft. Rachaad White is firmly atop the backfield depth chart, but the Buccaneers have finished last in the league in rushing each of the past two seasons. Veteran Chase Edmonds and 2023 UDFA Sean Tucker are in the fold, though Licht noted adding another back capable of providing depth behind White is under consideration. How the team will have operated prior to making such a Day 2 or 3 selection will be worth watching as the first round takes shape.

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