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Bucs looking for defensive help as NFL draft starts tonight

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Jalen Ramsey won’t be there.

Joey Bosa probably won’t, either.

Myles Jack and DeForest Buckner figure to be gone. Still, the Tampa Bay Bucs will look for defensive help with the ninth pick in tonight’s draft.

Oh, there are some mocks that have them taking an offensive tackle, but the needs that cry out the loudest for the Bucs are on defense, where they have drafted only one player in the last two seasons.

Most of the mock drafts have the Bucs’ taking Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, although there has been concern about his height. The Bucs could also reach for Leonard Floyd, Sheldon Rankins, Shaq Lawson or Eli Apple.

For the Bucs, it’s a familiar problem. It may sound like a high draft pick, ninth. The truth is that in 23 different seasons, the Bucs’ draft pick was higher than ninth. Some of those, they traded away. Some turned into Eric Curry or Charles McRae.

This time, Bucs’ general manager Jason Licht has talked about moving up or moving back.The only thing you can be relatively sure of is that it won’t be a quarterback or a running back.

Quarterbacks, once again,are supposed to dominate the top of the draft. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are supposed to go 1-2 to the Rams and Eagles, who each traded up to get them. FSU’s Ramsey, Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil, Bosa and Buckner are supposed to follow quickly. Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is also supposed to go high.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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