TAMPA (FOX 13) - This year's draft doesn't have the hype like last year when the Buccaneers controlled the board with the first overall pick, but Bucs general manager Jason Licht is looking to make the same kind of impact with this year's picks.
"This is a very good draft," Licht said. "The more that we dig into it and the more meetings we have, the more tape we watch. It's very deep at certain positions -- a lot of positions. There's a lot of good players to be picked and, you know, here we are and we're ready to do it."
Holding the ninth overall pick will allow the Bucs a variety of options. Most mock drafts have the Bucs selecting a hometown player, Florida Gator cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. He'd be an upgrade to the Bucs' secondary, but Licht has a philosophy to take the best player available player regardless of the team's needs.
Former Buc head coach Jon Gruden thinks the Bucs need to fill that need at some point.
"I think they've got to address their secondary at some point, certainly," Gruden observed. "They've had a turnstile at safety. They've had a number of different players playing at corner. I wouldn't be surprised if they get a DB at some point."
The NFL draft is the most-watched offseason event in the league. Its TV rating last year easily beat NBA and NHL playoff games. Mock drafts have become viral year-round now, but while fans get caught up in the frenzy of the draft, most NFL players are causal observers and like to stay away from predicting their team's top pick.
"I know that our guys upstairs know exactly what we need to do to put the right guys in our locker room and on this field, where we may need a little more depth,” Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson diplomatically offered.
The Bucs aren't on the clock yet, but their clock is ticking. The draft gets underway Thursday night.