TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The 2022 NFL Draft has finally arrived and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one luxury that many teams do not: the ability to sit and be patient.

The Bucs are slated to pick very late Thursday night with the 27th selection in the first round. While general manager Jason Licht sounds content to let the best possible player fall to the Bucs, the speculation of which player the team is interested in picking is all over the place.

Do the Bucs think defense? Which position group on that defense? What about the offensive line and the loss of two starting players?

Fair questions that have sent the draft experts and mock draft gurus in different directions, leaving fans to guess.

If anything, the 27th pick should create its own drama if the Bucs wind up with a few of their choices sitting on the draft board, waiting for the call.

Based on draft grades and opinions, a number of candidates have lined themselves up as possibilities within the window of the Bucs selection:

  • Kenyon Green: OL, Texas A&M
  • Zion Johnson: OL, Boston College
  • Devante Wyatt: DT, Georgia
  • Travis Jones: DT, UConn
  • Trey McBride: TE, Colorado State
  • Kaiir Elam: CB, Florida

Each player fits the Bucs’ long-term needs at their respective positions and would also be players that could get on the field immediately and contribute to a team that is already loaded with veteran players with postseason experience.

Do not be surprised if the Bucs move their pick, actually trading down a few spots, acquiring more mid-round selections. Licht pointed to the value of those rounds in his pre-draft press conference, even noting that Thursday’s first round may not be the key to having a successful draft this year.

“Initially you think, well maybe it’s not going to be as strong, but it does look like a draft [where] there’s going to be some good players in the mid rounds, for sure,” Licht said. “There may not be 30 guys that you think are legit first-round picks but there’s going to be a lot of good players in the middle rounds.”

Follow Dan Lucas and Karen Loftus on Twitter for updates on the NFL Draft Thursday night.