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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers boost defensive line

With the 19th overall pick in the 2023 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Neil Dutton selects ...

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Three years after winning the Super Bowl, and two years after almost pulling off a near-miraculous comeback against the eventual champion LA Rams in the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster has holes everywhere. As someone who still sees the Ronde Barber 92-yard pick-six in his nightmares, you’ll forgive me for thinking one simple thought regarding this matter:


But I digress. Tom Brady’s fearsome desire to set the NFL single-season record for pass attempts and completions (which he managed, completing 490 of his 733 attempts) drove the Bucs to an 8-9 record, yet somehow this was good enough to earn a division title. Following a defeat in the Wild Card round, the Bucs earned the 19th overall pick in the first round of the draft, a spot they last occupied in 2017 when they selected tight end O.J. Howard. This all but took them out of the quarterback sweepstakes they needed to enter when Brady called it quits for the second time in two seasons. The Buccaneers signed Baker Mayfield as a band-aid quarterback this offseason, but are looking for the player whose stint with the Panthers saw him rank 41st in total Expected Points Added per play (-0.217) among 42 qualifiers while his turn with the Rams was good for 33rd (-0.087), to help them get involved in drafting Caleb Williams in 2024.

With no obvious quarterback option available, it makes sense that Todd Bowles might like a player to enhance the unit he is supposed to be the master of, namely the defense. With this in mind, Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey would be a nice option here. If there’s one thing you can say about Kancey, and to be fair there are lots of things you can say about him, is that he is seriously quick. He posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.67 (99th percentile) with a 10-yard split of 1.64 (95th). The kid is a blur, quite frankly.

Speed is a major calling card, but it does not mask a lack of production. Kancey had 7.0 sacks in each of his last two seasons with the Panthers, while setting career-highs with 21 QB hits and 23 pressures. He also racked up 35.0 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. Kancey is a specialist defensive tackle, lining up as a defensive end on just 3% of his career snaps (as per the 33rd Team).

If there is a negative to Kancey, it is his lack of prototypical size. He stands just a touch over 6 feet and weighs in at 281. So he may not be a player to depend upon if you’re looking for someone to destroy double teams at the point of attack. But as a player who can generate a legitimate pass rush from the interior, then Kancey’s Dawg Levels (which I can’t find an official measurement of) should see him contribute as a QB-Killer fairly early on.

It is not an apples-for-apples comparison, but Pitt did produce a 6’1, 285lbs defensive tackle back in 2014, and he hasn’t done a bad job adapting to life in the NFL. I am not saying that Kancey is the next Aaron Donald (because I’m not an idiot), but his success is a cautionary tale of the danger of looking down on a prospect just because he isn’t ideally size. Yoda once told us (Well, he told Luke Skywalker) not to judge him by his size. We would do well to remember the same for Calijah Kancey.


Do you approve of this pick?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    (126 votes)
  • 37%
    (75 votes)
201 votes total Vote Now

2023 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Panthers (pheebthegoose): QB Bryce Young
2) Texans (Phoenix X Minimus): QB C.J. Stroud
3) Cardinals (alwaysaphillyfan): EDGE Will Anderson
4) Colts (eaglenomics): QB Anthony Richardson
5) Seahawks (The Player Formerly Known as Mousecop): DT Jalen Carter
6) Lions (Sam2TheMaximum): DE Tyree Wilson
7) Raiders (joey2arms): OT Paris Johnson Jr.
8) Falcons (Kephas): CB Christian Gonzalez
9) Bears (chewy wellington): OT Peter Skoronski
10) Eagles (Philly21): CB Devon Witherspoon
11) Titans (RachAttack): WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
12) Texans (Domonate): WR Quentin Johnston
13) Jets (JawnJam): OT Broderick Jones
14) Patriots (Amish Eagle Lion): CB Joey Porter Jr.
15) Packers (bdawk4ever): QB Will Levis
16) Commanders (the dog did it): OT Darnell Wright
17) Steelers (Dr.MidnightGreen): CB Deonte Banks
18) Lions (DreadPirateRocco): DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
19) Buccaneers (Neil Dutton): DT Calijah Kancey
20) Seahawks (wardbell92)
21) Chargers (Brendanekstrom)
22) Ravens (Rollinpin)
23) Vikings (FierceDisc65)
24) Jaguars (Leo Bedio)
25) Giants (dkays)
26) Cowboys (roberticus01)
27) Bills (EHyungNim)
28) Bengals (mainmanham)
29) Saints (RiverCityEagle)
30) Eagles (ablesser88)
31) Chiefs (Hoosinole)

Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected in the 2023 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.


Who should the Buccaneers select at No. 19 overall?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    RB Bijan Robinson
    (25 votes)
  • 34%
    QB Will Levis
    (54 votes)
  • 10%
    QB Hendon Hooker
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    S Brian Branch
    (3 votes)
  • 19%
    DE Lukas Van Ness
    (30 votes)
  • 7%
    OT Anton Harrison
    (12 votes)
  • 7%
    OG O’Cyrus Torrence
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    TE Dalton Kincaid
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    TE Michael Mayer
    (4 votes)
156 votes total Vote Now

1) Panthers: QB C.J. Stroud
2) Texans: QB Bryce Young
3) Cardinals: EDGE Will Anderson
4) Colts: QB Anthony Richardson
5) Seahawks: DT Jalen Carter
6) Lions: DE Tyree Wilson
7) Raiders: OT Paris Johnson Jr.
8) Falcons: CB Christian Gonzalez
9) Bears: OT Peter Skoronski
10) Eagles: CB Devon Witherspoon
11) Titans: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
12) Texans: DE Myles Murphy
13) Jets: OT Broderick Jones
14) Patriots: CB Joey Porter Jr.
15) Packers: DE Nolan Smith
16) Commanders: OT Darnell Wright
17) Steelers: CB Deonte Banks
18) Lions: DT Calijah Kancey
19) Buccaneers:

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