NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Quarterbacks rise post-combine, Redskins land pass catcher
This would be a steal for the Buccaneers. Quinnen Williams may end up being the best defensive player in this draft, but he falls to the fifth slot due to the rise of two quarterbacks into the top-five. Tampa Bay won’t complain, as they could continue to build their defensive front.
The Buccaneers have a new defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles. Bowles has employed a 3-4 defense over the course of his past few coaching stops, and the Bucs may look to run some more looks in that scheme moving forward. If they do switch to that, they will need some extra interior talent. And even if they don’t, they have some uncertainty on the defensive line.
Vita Vea was a first-round pick last year, and he will continue to operate mostly as a run-stuffing nose tackle. Next to him, Gerald McCoy has been one of the better interior rushers in the NFL since being drafted in 2010, but there were rumblings that the Bucs could cut him. With his future uncertain, adding a successor could be a smart move for the Bucs.
Williams was a monster at Alabama last year. He totaled eight sacks and 19 tackles for loss in his new full-time starting role. He did a lot to seamlessly replace Daron Payne, and that has done a lot to improve his stock.
Williams tested very well at the combine, weighing in at 303 pounds yet still blazing a 4.84-second 40-yard dash. For those keeping score at home, that was the same time that Jachai Polite put up despite being 45 pounds lighter. Williams is quick on his feet for his size and should be a disruptor at the next level.
The Bucs could also consider trading down from this slot for a team to move up and get a quarterback. The Broncos stand out as a logical trade partner, but at the same time, it’s hard to imagine that Tampa Bay would pass on one of the top defensive players in the draft should Williams fall to them.