The 2019 NFL Draft has officially concluded. Everyone take a deep breath and come to terms with the picks. Again. While I’ve seen a lot of “recommendations” to beef up things like the offensive line, Jason Licht and Bruce Arians chose the defense. This needed to happen and the picks weren’t sexy, but they were solid.
Before you argue, yes, the picks were necessary. Carlton Davis met a demand he wasn’t ready for last year and paid the price dearly by Vernon Hargreaves III heading to IR in week 1 and Grimes being whatever he was. MJ Stewart will be transitioning to the safety role and had a hard time playing catch up to the receivers in coverage.
Let’s start with the first: 2nd rounder Sean Bunting DB, Central Michigan. Bunting’s speed, physicality, and size(6′ 195 lbs) will give us great matchups against larger body receivers the NFC South has to offer. While he’s not a name heard much he doesn’t have some of the larger question marks that plagued guys like Williams with his tackling issues. He also allowed a very low completion percentage for the receivers he covered and is also known as a leader on and off the field. Jason Licht also compared his meeting to that of first-round pick Devin White as far as attitude and leadership. This pick is solid and the staff loves the guy. Fast, mean, and a natural leader, what’s not to love?
The Bucs also traded down in the 3rd and picked up a pick from the Rams.
The first pick in the 3rd round: Jamel Dean CB, Auburn. Former teammate to Carlton Davis the 6’1″ 205 lbs corner adds more size and speed to the new defensive scheme. Boasting a 4.3 40 on “bad knees”. His ability to hang tough with receivers and find the ball while the play is unfolding is an issue our secondary had plagued it all year long. So this may be a depth pick and/or rotational role, but it’s a solid one. His health seems to be a non-issue to the front office.
The final, but the most solid pick was: Mike Edwards S, Kentucky. This pick was just as much as him being high on their draft boards as it was Jason Licht and Bruce Arians hearing from other UK players how amazing of teammate and player Edwards was. Not very tall but very athletic and physically solid at 5’10” and 205 lbs this adds a very strong depth and starter role in the safety position that was lost when Christ Conte was injured and band-aided by Andrew Adams, who had arguably only 1 great game and a handful of good ones during his time with the Bucs. He will most likely be direct competition with last years safety pick Jordan Whitehead, who had his own struggles during the season. This is absolutely a win pick.
While fans were hoping for offensive line changes during free agency and the draft, some things just aren’t possible and Arians being an offensive guru saw very little wrong with the line in its underutilized state it was in. The defense, however, was almost historically bad in some spaces and mediocre in others with the only bright side being double digit sacks by Jason Pierre-Paul. This is most certainly due to change now and this draft picks will play a big park in one form or another. Be patient.