Well, the 2022 NFL Draft is over and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added eight new players to their already super talented roster. This draft was a rollercoaster ride of emotions for Bucs fans. The long wait until the 27th pick in the first. Then the trade back to the second round. Having the first pick on Day 2, the first of three for the Bucs on Friday. The “questionable” picks at #60 and #91, according to some fans. The trade up in the second to get the o-lineman that “nobody was expecting“. Thinking we had to wait 115 spots between picks from the fourth and seventh rounds. Then finding out they traded up into the fifth round. Then up into the sixth.
Man, what a ride!
Fans should be excited about this new group of players coming in. Jason Licht and his staff did a phenomenal job of fulfilling team needs, while still getting solid value for their picks. Even though some Bucs fans may not agree. The best part of this draft might have been the way the Bucs were able to move around and get the players they really wanted via trades. So let’s talk about those.
Jason Licht made four trades throughout this draft and each one of them was a brilliant move. First, he traded to 27th pick to the Jaguars to move back to the first pick of the second round (#33), while also getting the first pick of the fourth round (#106) and the first pick of the sixth round (#180), to pick Logan Hall. Then he used that sixth rounder and their 60th pick in the second to trade places with the Bills at the 57th pick to grab Luke Goedeke. He then traded a 2023 fourth rounder to the Jaguars to obtain the 157th pick in the fifth, and the 235th pick in the seventh giving them three seventh round picks, where he got Zyon McCollum. The last trade he made was sending two of those seventh rounders, the 235th from the Jags and the 261st pick, to move up into the sixth round at the 218th pick to get Ko Kieft.
*2022 NFL DRAFT RESULTS*
The Bucs said that they had five players still on the board that they would’ve been happy taking with the 27th pick. So when they had a chance to trade back five spots with Jacksonville receiving the 33rd pick in the second round, the 106th pick in the fourth and the 180th pick in the sixth, they took it in hopes that at least one of those players were still on the board. There was one left when they went on the clock with that 33rd pick. It was Logan Hall.
Rd.2 Pk.33 (from Jaguars)
DL LOGAN HALL, HOUSTON
I had the Bucs trading back with Detroit at the 34th pick and taking this guy, so I was pretty close on this one. At 6’6″/285lbs, he ran a 4.8 forty at the Combine, so he has the size, power and speed to play almost anywhere on the Bucs defensive line, even though Todd Bowles did say that he would primarily play at the three-tech position. Jason Licht and Todd Bowles both said that this pick has nothing to do with re-signing Ndamukong Suh so we’ll see about that soon enough. This kid is only 22 years old and was actually born 6 days AFTER Tom Brady was drafted by the Patriots. He will be a really nice addition to the d-line rotation and I think he’ll be a stud in the very near future.
I thought the Bucs were done looking for their new starting guard once Zion Johnson and Cole Strange came off the board in the first round. However, Jason Licht had something up his sleeve. He used the 6th round pick he got in the first round to move up three spots to the 57th pick. It’s a good thing too because the Vikings took a guard with their 59th pick, which was one ahead of the Bucs original 60th pick, so Goedeke could’ve been in play there.
Rd.2 Pk. 57 (from Bills)
OL LUKE GOEDEKE, CENTRAL MICHIGAN
I have to admit, this one caught me off guard (pun intended). I didn’t think the Bucs would pick a guard after the first round and they didn’t really need a tackle. Goedeke played right tackle at Central Michigan and his draft profile had him listed as a tackle, so I didn’t pay him much attention in my pre-draft prep. Maybe that’s why I don’t scout for the Buccaneers. They see Goedeke as a guard and, according to Carmen Vitale, “they have every intention of starting him“. Now the pick makes sense. At 6’5″/312lbs, he says he’s a “glass eater“, likes to “bury people” on the field and has @lukethelifter as his Twitter handle because of his obsession with the gym. He’s a big, strong, mean, nasty kid that should fit right in with this Bucs o-line.
RB RACHAAD WHITE, ARIZONA STATE
In my one and only mock draft, I had White as the Bucs third round pick. However, I was a little baffled with this pick under the circumstances. With HUGE needs at tight end and safety, the Bucs still had their choice of either Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert or Maryland safety Nick Cross with this 91st pick. Despite having plenty of other pass catching backs still on the board like Isaiah Spiller and Dameon Pierce, the Bucs took White and passed on those other “perceived needs” as Jason Licht calls them. Cross would go to the Colts five picks later and Ruckert to the Jets ten picks later. However, two of the next seven picks were running backs by the Niners and Commanders. That means White could’ve been in play and long gone by the time the Bucs first pick of the fourth round came. That, plus the fact that Licht says White was the highest ranked player on their board at the time explains the pick. At 6’1″/215lbs, he ran a 4.48 forty and had a 38″ vertical. He’s got the ability to be an every down back in the NFL, but his biggest contribution to the Bucs offense right now will be as a third down back.
Rd.4 Pk.106 (from Jaguars)
TE CADE OTTON, WASHINGTON
The Bucs used the fourth round pick they got from their Day 1 trade with the Jags to FINALLY select the tight end they so desperately needed. At 6’5″/250lbs, he has great size, 4.7 speed and was the 4th ranked tight end in this draft class. He’s a legit dual threat tight end, meaning he’s a pass catching tight end that can block as well. But, just like the Hall pick and Suh, this pick has nothing to do with Gronk. The only two tight ends under contract with the Bucs at the moment are Cameron Brate and Cody McElroy. Neither of them are blockers. Whether Gronk comes back or not, the Bucs needed a player like this. After all, they did lose OJ Howard to the Bills in free agency.
P JAKE CAMARDA, GEORGIA
Boy oh boy, did some of you lose your minds with this pick and to a certain extent I do get where you’re coming from. That being said, this was a brilliant pick by Jason Licht. At 6’1″/195lbs, this kid is an athlete, not just a punter. He punts, handles kickoffs and can even kick field goals in emergency situations. He was a Ray Guy Award finalist and he’s a directional kicking specialist. I know, some of you are saying “Why would they draft this guy when Matt “Punt God” Araiza was still on the board?”, right? Hang time. There’s no doubt that Araiza has a huge leg, but his hang time sucks. And that’s what NFL teams care about more than distance. Camarda only averaged about 10 yards less than Araiza, but his hang time was better. Another thing that could’ve factored into the decision is money. By drafting a punter, the Bucs may be able to release Bradley Pinion and save almost $3 million in salary cap space. They could still carry both guys into camp and let them battle it out, but after using a fourth rounder on Camarda, Pinion is probably on his way out.
After using their other fourth round pick on a punter, the Bucs still had a need at cornerback to fill and one of their guys was still on the board in the fifth round. So Jason Licht dipped into next year’s draft, offering Minnesota a 2023 fourth rounder to move up to that 157th pick and also gained another seventh round pick.
Rd.5 Pk.157 (from Vikings)
CB ZYON MCCOLLUM, SAM HOUSTON STATE
Here was the cornerback so many of you were clamoring for over the last few rounds. Jason Licht got a steal here as I had them taking McCollum in the third round of my mock draft. At 6’2″/200lbs, he’s a big dude with 4.3 speed and a 40″ vertical. He’s a long, athletic corner with great ball skills and a high football IQ. He’s just the kind of cornerback the Bucs like to draft. He will probably be a special teams star at gunner and he could be in the mix to play opposite of Carlton Davis.
Since the Bucs used their sixth round pick from the Jags to trade up with the Bills in the second round, they didnt have a pick from that 157th pick until the 235th pick of the seventh round. That’s 78 spots they would’ve had to wait and Licht wasn’t having it. Especially when he had his eyes on another tight end still sitting there on the board. So he packages two of their three seventh rounders, the 235th and 261st picks, and sends them to the Rams for their 218th pick of the sixth round.
Rd.6 Pk.218 (from Rams)
TE KO KIEFT, MINNESOTA
Well, I said the Bucs would double up on the tight end position in my mock and I was right. I just had the wrong tight ends. I’ll admit, I didn’t really look into this guy before the draft but I should’ve. He’s a stud! At 6’5″/265lbs, he has an 80″ wing span and ran a 4.9 forty. He didn’t have much production as a pass catcher, but this guy is an absolute mauler and will blow defensive players up. His NFL draft profile says that “he’s an animal at the line of scrimmage” and he looks like a red-headed lumberjack. In his press conference, he said that he “likes to get down and dirty with the worst of them“, so he’s going to fit in just fine with the Bucs who apparently already have plans for him to possibly play some fullback in certain situations. And no, this still has nothing to do with Gronk coming back. I think he’ll be back, so that will give the Bucs a tight end group of him, Brate and the two rookies Otton and Kieft.
DE ANDRE ANTHONY, LSU
With their final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bucs finally got an edge rusher. At 6’3″/250lbs, he’s the same size as Shaq Barrett and ran a 4.78 forty at his pro day coming off of an ACL injury that shortened his 2021 season. He started 2021 on fire with 3.5 sacks in his first 3 games before getting hurt. Had he not been hurt, he probably would’ve been a mid-round pick in this draft. He could be in the mix for the OLB rotation and as a special teamer, but at the very least he’ll end up on the Bucs practice squad so that he can develop a little more.
SO WHY NO SAFETY???
I know, I was thinking the same thing. I thought for sure that safety would be addressed in this draft given how deep the position was in this class and the Bucs current group being shorthanded.
Right now, the Bucs have Antoine Winfield Jr, Mike Edwards and Keanu Neal under contract, along with two more guys named Chris Cooper and Troy Warner who are also on the books. That’s not enough depth. Especially when you take Neal’s injury history playing one full 16-game season out of six into consideration. In a season that could be Tom Brady’s last and the Bucs are “Super Bowl or bust“, that’s not gonna cut it. Remember they lost Jordan Whitehead to the Jets in free agency AND have also decided not to re-sign Andrew Adams. So they’re actually down two safeties. Yes I know they signed Logan Ryan, but I think he’s going to play more nickel corner than safety. And it’s hard for me to believe that they are putting all of their eggs into the Keanu Neal basket to replace Whitehead.
Neal was brought in to replace Adams, not Whitehead. He and Ryan were both signed to vet minimum $1.1 million contracts, which means they don’t have much money at all tied up in that position. And since they didn’t draft anyone that can replace him, what are they going to do?
I’m not so sure anymore.
I thought they were headed towards signing Tyrann Mathieu since they had cleared over $12 million in cap space and he is related to Todd Bowles by marriage. However it appears as though he is signing with the New Orleans Saints, which is a real slap in the face to his new father-in-law. With that theory blown out of the water, I’m not sure what the answer is for the Buccaneers secondary. Maybe they’re hoping Neal can actually stay healthy for a change. Maybe Logan Ryan plays a bigger role than I expect him to in this defense. Landon Collins is still sitting out there in free agency and he’s a true strong safety, so maybe that’s an option, even though he is coming off of an achilles injury. If they have an injury in this group then it could derail any hopes of a successful postseason for this team. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that doesn’t happen.
*THE WRAP UP*
They started this weekend with 68 players on their roster. They drafted eight and have now signed more than a dozen undrafted free agents giving them 89 players. That leaves one spot left to get to 90 players. Gronk or Suh maybe? There will probably be cuts made to open up spots for other veteran free agents that get released or waived. But as of right now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 89 players deep and it’s almost time to get this 2022 season underway.
This draft couldn’t have gone much better, in my opinion. I hope that I’ve been able to give you enough information about the why they picked and who they picked and when they picked them that you can now appreciate what the Bucs were able to do in this draft. They came into it with just six picks, including two in the seventh round, and turned them into eight picks, which included an extra fourth, a fifth and a sixth. They came away with a stud defensive tackle, a new starting guard, a new third down back, another tight end that will contribute both in the passing AND run game immediately, a solid corner for depth, a new punter, a nasty new blocking tight end and a pass rusher with potential. They filled their needs and didn’t “reach” for any of them. It was a fantastic weekend for Jason Licht and his staff.
For those of you who still have doubts or question some of the choices, I’ll just say this. Jason Licht, John Spytek and their staff spend thousands of hours watching game film on these guys. They meet with these players on multiple occasions. They talk to the players in depth. They have them in for visits. They talk to their coaches, their teammates, their families, their friends and their teachers. They probably know more about these players than the players know about themselves. There’s a lot more that goes into selecting a player than just watching a YouTube highlight video and reading his stat lines and Combine results. This staff knows what they’re doing. Trust in their decisions, even if you dont agree with them, because they’re right and you’re wrong. Sorry, but that’s the truth. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were already a really good team. They got even better over the weekend. Now it’s time to get ready for training camp and get this 2022 season underway!
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!
*UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS*
The Bucs have now signed over a dozen undrafted free agents and invited another dozen or so to “tryout” at their rookie mini-camp coming up.
Here’s that list of players:
CB KYLER McMICHAEL, NORTH CAROLINA
6’/205lb. outside corner that can play safety as well
18 games, 47 tackles, 1 interception, 9 pass breakups
WR KAYLON GEIGER, TROY
5’9″/175lb. ran a 4.56 forty
35 games, 184 rec, 2,158 yards, 9 touchdowns, 11.7 ypc, 20 carries, 150 yards, 1 touchdown, 7.5 ypc
ILB OLAKUNLE FATUKASI, RUTGERS
6’2″/240lb. ran a 4.78 forty
55 games, 282 tackles, 25.5 tfl’s, 6 sacks, 7 pass breakups, 4 forced fumbles
WR DEVEN THOMPKINS, UTAH STATE
5’8″/155lb. with 4.35 speed
2021: 14 games, 102 rec, 1,704 yards, 10 touchdowns, 16.7 ypc
S NOLAN TURNER, CLEMSON
6’1″/205lb. with 4.42 speed
2018-21: 48 games, 190 tackles, 13.5 tfl’s, 2 sacks, 7 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles
WR KAMERON BROWN, COASTAL CAROLINA (Rookie camp tryout)
6’2″/220lb. ran a 4.73 forty
22 games, 56 rec, 911 yards, 8 touchdowns, 16.3 ypc
OL DEVONTAY LOVE-TAYLOR, FSU (Rookie camp tryout)
OT DYLAN COOK, MONTANA
WR JERRETH STERNS, WESTERN KENTUCKY
5’9″/185lbs. ran a 4.56 forty
2021: 14 games, 150 rec, 1,902 yards, 17 touchdowns, 12.7 ypc
LB JJ RUSSELL, MEMPHIS
6’1″/225lbs. ran a 4.7 forty
2018-21: 51 games, 306 tackles, 24 tfl’s, 5 sacks, 1 interception, 7 pass breakups
CB DON GARDNER, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
6’1″/185lbs. ran a 4.43 forty
48 games, 133 tackles, 11 tfl’s, 4 sacks, 20 pass breakups
LB JORDAN YOUNG, OLD DOMINION
6’3″/235lbs, ran a 4.76 forty
49 games, 338 tackles, 20 tfl’s, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 8 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble
OL CURTIS BLACKWELL, BALL STATE
OLB JOE OZOUGWU, ARKANSAS STATE
6’2″/240lbs, ran a 4.72 and had 26 bench reps
2021: 12 games, 56 tackles, 16 tfl’s, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble
G KYLER SCHOTT, IOWA (Rookie camp tryout)
QB AQEEL GLASS, ALABAMA A&M (Rookie camp tryout)
2021: 10 games, 62.6% comp, 3,568 yards, 36 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
DT KEYSHON CAMP, PITT (Rookie camp tryout)
6’4″/290lbs, ran a 4.78 forty
2021: 8 games, 17 tackles, 3.5 tfl’s, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
DL RYAN BOWMAN, WASHINGTON (Rookie camp tryout)
45 games, 124 tackles, 28 tfl’s, 16 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
WR BRALON ROBINSON, ALCORN STATE (Rookie camp tryout)
5’10″/190lbs, ran a 10 second 100-meter in college
TE BEN BEISE, WISCONSIN-RIVER FALLS
6’5″/255lbs, ran a 4.67 forty
2021: 10 games, 38 rec, 358 yards, 1 touchdown
TE BRETT BORSKE, WESTERN MICHIGAN (Rookie camp tryout)
6’7″/275lbs, ran a 4.76 forty
2021: 4 games, 6 rec, 71 yards, 2 touchdowns
ILB NICK HENINGER, UTAH STATE (Rookie camp tryout)
6’2″/235lbs, ran a 4.76 forty and had 30 bench reps
2021: 14 games, 74 tackles, 20.5 tfl’s, 8 sacks, 6 pass breakups, 6 forced fumbles
S JT WAHEE, BALL STATE (Rookie camp tryout)
2021: 13 games, 64 tackles, 5.5 tfl’s, 2 interceptions, 7 pass breakups
G JOE WARE, AUSTIN PEAY (Rookie camp tryout)
OL DYLAN PASQUALI, FERRIS STATE (Rookie camp tryout)
K PARKER WHITE, SOUTH CAROLINA (Rookie camp tryout)
2021: 12 games, 30-30 extra points, 16-17 field goals
DT BLAKE GREEN, SOUTH FLORIDA (Rookie camp tryout)
2021: 12 games, 31 tackles, 4.5 tfl’s, 2.5 sacks
DL DEIONTE KNIGHT, WESTERN ONTARIO (Rookie camp tryout)
2021: 11 games, 52 tackles, 13 tfl’s, 10 sacks
DT MIKE GREENE, JAMES MADISON (Rookie camp tryout)
2021: 12 games, 56 tackles, 12 tfl’s, 5 sacks
RB JACE JORDAN, WEST GEORGIA (Rookie camp tryout)
2021: 10 games, 73 carries, 446 yards, 10 touchdowns, 6.1 ypc
C KEEGAN CRYDER, WYOMING (Rookie camp tryout)