For some reason, drafting for need seems much more kosher in a 2012 NFL Mock Draft than it does in a 2012 NFL Actual Draft. There's just something about not actually parceling the players out to their particular teams that makes an overdraft seem more like a pleasant way of making sure everybody gets what he needs, and nothing more. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Morris Claiborne at No. 5—as they do in the latest WalterFootball.com mock, among others—is far from a simple draft pick for need, but there is something of that need-and-wish-fulfillment going on in the pick's ubiquity.
It works on a few fronts. For one thing, Tampa Bay is a Defense Team; we imagine those teams that for 10 years, in the late-90s and early aughts, dominated that side of the ball and simply tried to remain adequate on offense, and the team in 2012 who finished 32nd overall in points allowed simply doesn't compute. For another, the Buccaneers' secondary is old and otherwise ineffective; Ronde Barber might still have a year or two left, but Aqib Talib, his 26-year-old counterpart, has a case of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon hanging over his head.
The Buccaneers need Morris Claiborne, and we think they want him, because we watched the Buccaneers when they loved defense and nothing else. It's a recipe for mock draft ubiquity, but it also makes a lot of sense.
More NFL Mock Draft analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Of course, Morris Claiborne has also been the St. Louis Rams' fallback of choice when Justin Blackmon at No. 4 snowballs into the Buccaneers selecting Trent Richardson.
- Which is worth worrying about because the Browns taking Justin Blackmon has always made too much sense.
- At which point the Rams might take Trent Richardson. Then this is just like those nightmares I have.