Getting the negatives behind us
I’m going to get the negatives out of the way right away and move on to what I feel were positives in the Buccaneers’ latest Draft.
To me, this draft was about settling four positions of need: Offensive Tackle, Running Back, Safety, and Quarterback. My feeling is that they desperately needed to go out and get another RB1 to pair with Jones as a big one-two punch. This would also provide insurance in case Jones were to go down injured. You still would have a capable force worthy of respect at the position, able to do many of the same things that made Jones the starter. At quarterback, with this being such a deep year for them, the Bucs could have picked one up late and let the young man learn under the G.O.A.T. for two seasons. Then post Brady in Tampa wouldn’t be such a worry point at quarterback. Instead, they picked up a good blocking back that can catch in Ke’shawn Vaughn out of Vanderbilt. He is a “one move and done” back that had very few runs over twenty yards last year at Vandy. Not to mention, he is almost as slow as Peyton Barber was at a 4.52 40 at the combine. All this with better, faster, more agile backs still on the board. I’m sorry, but he’s going to have to show me what made him so special to our coach and front office to reach for him in the third round. No quarterback was drafted, with Anthony Gordon still there in the 7th round. The Bucs passed.
Now, onto the positives/gems of our draft
One bright shining selection was the one at the #13 spot obtained through the Niners, allowing us to ensure the selection of Tristan Wirfs of Iowa. It’s been said that the Dolphins were trying to move up to that spot to get Wirfs out from under us. I guess the Dolphins forgot John Lynch was a Buccaneer. Lynch reportedly let it slip to the Bucs; the Dolphins intentions and Licht quickly brokered a deal to prevent it. Let’s hope he’s all they say he is and justifies the extra draft pick it took to get him. One thing I will say is that Wirfs is a beast. He’s incredibly strong up top and all over, often manhandling lesser men like dolls. He may or may not be able to do the same thing in the NFL. The point is: He’s very strong, having been a wrestler in college. Draft Grade A-
Safety Winfield Jr. plays bigger than his size
Then in the second round, instead of going running back with Cam Akers or Dillon out of B.C., the Bucs went Safety. It’s hard for me to stay mad at the pick. They got a top two or three player at the position, maybe even better than that. Time will tell. Antoine Winfield Jr. out of the University of Minnesota is a smaller sized Safety, but he makes up for it in pure ball skills and competitive nature. He’s going to be a gamer if he can stay healthy. The team is definitely expecting big things from him, and the thought is that he will deliver. Draft Grade B+
Bucs can’t resist Tyler Johnson still on the board in the fifth
Having no fourth-round picks, as they gave them up for Gronkowski and moving up to get Wirfs, the Bucs took a very talented receiver in Tyler Johnson also out of the University of Minnesota. Having put together an outstanding senior campaign, Johnson finished with 86 receptions, 1,318 yards, and 13 touchdowns in 13 starts. He was tied for seventh in the nation at the position. The fact that he was still there in the fifth round must have made the Bucs giddy. Not that they really needed another great receiver at this time. But the fact that he was still there so late, the Bucs couldn’t ignore him. If for no other reason than the value of the selection, so late in the draft, the Bucs earn a Draft Grade of A for Tyler.
So those are the high points of our draft. This group isn’t going to challenge last year in terms of overall talent, but they should be able to help us get better, and maybe even over the hump and dare, I say into a Super-Bowl? Go Bucs!!