With the selection of Mike Evans in the first round, there was only one real hole left on the Bucs' roster, at guard; there was no other position where the team desperately needed a fresh body. Lovie Smith and Jason Licht, however, appeared not to agree, or remain hopeful that they can find a starting guard in rounds five through seven. The Bucs added two more pieces to their offensive skillset, one to a position that was, at best, average - and one to a position that was already the team's deepest corps.
'ASJ', as he will invariably be referred to, brings a true two-way tight end ability, as a legitimate in-line blocker as well as a receiving threat. Don't be fooled though, he's not going to be capable of being a team's primary focus in the passing game, in the way that Rob Gronkowski or Vernon Davis have been at times - it might not be unfair to compare him to ex-Buc TE Jerramy Stevens during his Seattle days, though hopefully without the possession and domestic assault charges. Sims, meanwhile, is something of a head-scratcher . His skillset seems to be a good fit for Tedford's offense, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him head into the season as the team's no.2 back on the depth chart - but between Doug Martin, Mike James, Bobby Rainey and Jeff Demps, the running back position didn't particularly seem in need of being bolstered with a third-round pick. The best reaction I saw to Sims' selection was this one:
Charles Sims is the smallest guard ever.— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) May 10, 2014
The optimist in me says that Sims' selection means that the Bucs are confident that Carl Nicks will be playing sixteen games this year - but we'll see how the rest of the draft unfolds later today. For now, let's take a look at how the Bucs' Day 2 picks are viewed by the media.
Our own Leo Howell broke down the picks, as he did with Mike Evans, according to three categories - talent, value and fit, as well as an overall score. Leo was happy with the ASJ pick - giving the fit an 'A' grade - and graded him a 'B' overall, concluding
There may not be as much speed on offense as some would like, but there's tons of talent, tons of upside, and a whole lot of size and strength.
His views on the Sims' pick, however, was not quite as joyful, to say the least. Grading the fit for the team a lowly 'D', but grading the value an 'F' - and the pick overall an 'F' - led to Leo's summation of the pick as
...a total failure by the Buccaneers. Selecting at a position with zero need at the top of the third round, , and picking a player who would likely remain around until later is a mistake.
The Bucs Nation readers followed Leo's line of thinking on both selections, with 55% giving ASJ an even better 'A' grade, but with 47% of you grading Sims an 'F' (and a further 21% a not-much-better 'D' grade).
Next up is CBS's Pete Prisco, who gives the ASJ pick a B+, adding
They need a tight end and I love this kid. He is inconsistent, but he has a ton of talent. This is a good, sound, pick.
Like many, Prisco didn't quite get the Sims pick, though he wasn't as harsh as some others have been, grading the selection a C-, though it should be noted that he's only graded two selections - the Panthers' second round pick of Kony Ealy, and the Jets' third round pick of Dexter McDougle - a lower grade. Prisco says that Sims
has big-play ability as much as any back, but with Doug Martin, I am not sure there is good value here.
Bleacher Report's lead NFL writer, Michael Schottey, gave ASJ an A grade, though he does throw up something for Bucs fans to consider - and not the DUI that ASJ pled guilty to last year:
Ignore the minor (and long past) red flags, and focus on the fact that he's coming off of injury. If everything heals up nicely, though, this is going to look like a steal eventually.
Schottey breaks from the trend when it comes to Sims, though. While most reactions to Sims have been guarded at best, and very negative at worse, Schottey gives Sims an unqualified A grade:
I know I said in the intro that I'd find something positive and negative about every pick, but this one doesn't have any clear downside. It might not be a grand slam, but Sims is a perfect fit.
NFL.com's Bryan Fischer continues to use the bizarre grading system we recapped yesterday. Fischer seems not to be grading individual selections, but rather moving the teams through his unusual categories as they make their picks. After Day 2, the Bucs remain in the "general manager gets a sticker" category - I'm sure that Jason Licht is clearing a space on his fridge for that sticker as we speak. On the actual picks themselves, Fischer says
Evans and Seferian-Jenkins are a pair of big targets, and getting the second-best tight end in the draft as late as the 38th pick is great value. Jeff Tedford will know how to use both. As for Sims, he's a great fit to team with Doug Martin.
Finally, ESPN's resident Bucs blogger Pat Yaskinskas gave a grade to the Bucs' choices as a whole - but rather than grading from A-F (or, for that matter, from "Passed with flying colours" to "try again"), ESPN are relying on a simple thumbs up/thumbs down grading scale. Yasinskas gave the Bucs a thumbs up, saying
Seferian-Jenkins is an upgrade over the flock of mediocre tight ends the Bucs had on the roster. Sims was taken because the Bucs viewed him as the best receiving running back in the draft.
To recap on those draft grades:
Leo Howell: B
Bucs Nation readers: A
Pete Prisco: B+
Michael Schottey: A
Bryan Fischer: a sticker
Pat Yasinkas: a thumb up
Leo Howell: F
Bucs Nation readers: F
Pete Prisco: C-
Michael Schottey: A
Bryan Fischer: another sticker. Or possibly the same sticker the Bucs got for ASJ. He doesn't make it clear.
Pat Yasinskas: a thumb up
While there were only a few media people who have handed out grades, there are plenty more who pitched in with their opinions of the Bucs' Day 2 choices.
In addition to pointing his thumb in an upwardly direction for ESPN's "NFL Nation", he gave a more straightforward account on the ESPN's Bucs blog. On ASJ, he says the picks means that
Tampa's receiving corps could make for a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Seferian-Jenkins is big enough to help as a blocker but athletic enough to be a pass-catching threat.
While Yasinkas explained why he felt the Bucs made the move on Sims, he points out the ramifications it could have for the rest of the room.
This wasn't a position of need for the Buccaneers... but the team had Sims highly rated and made the move. The Bucs have said they want a backfield rotation this year, but they could end up having to part ways with a talented back or two.
Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar writes about a side of ASJ that should make Bucs fans pay attention - while he says the Bucs "could have a good one" in ASJ, he offers this warning:
Seferian-Jenkins is a confusing prospect who will need motivation -- he struggles with his weight at times and loses speed and explosiveness as a result. Were he a little faster on the field, or had he played in a slightly more congruent offense, or had he lived a bit more up to expectations, Seferian-Jenkins might be thought of as a first-round prospect.
Farrar's colleague at SI, Chris Burke, offered some positive thoughts on Sims:
Sims likes to swing wide and turn the corners, and he averaged 50.8 catches over his four college seasons. Combine the versatility with that solid body type and you've got one of the draft's biggest sleepers.
An uncredited writer at Yahoo! Sports had only positive things to say about the Bucs' two selections:
Tight end was a bigger need than many realized for the Bucs, so they rolled the dice on a height/weight/speed prospect who - when healthy and motivated - could be the top blocker/receiver combo at the position in this class.
The Houston transfer showed some Matt Forte-like skills at West Virginia and can be an excellent third-down alternative to Doug Martin in Tampa. Sims is fluid as a receiver and is a decent pass protector.
Meanwhile, Yahoo!'s Frank Schwab was so high on the ASJ pick, he wrote an article praising the Bucs and declaring them his surprise team of 2014:
The trio of Jackson, Evans and Seferian-Jenkins gives the Buccaneers three targets who are all 6-foot-5. Good luck defending them in the red zone.
If Seferian-Jenkins can show that 2013 was an aberration... the Bucs are going to be very deep and dangerous.
NFL.com's Chris Wesseling declared ASJ as one of his ten "plug and play" starters from Day 2 of the draft, noting how the Bucs' top two selections represented Lovie Smith attempting to recreate the offense Josh McCown had in Chicago:
Seferian-Jenkins has the size and athleticism to fill Martellus Bennett's role in the three towers' passing attack.
Finally, Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty declared his 'biggest surprise' of Day 2 to be "No one wants running backs — except for the teams that already have running backs", illustrating the point with two selections: the 49ers picking Carlos Hyde, and the Bucs picking Sims. Daugherty says that the pick "made sense the deeper you dig":
For the Bucs, they're getting a bruising back in Sims who does the little things well. Rainey had the looks of a competent No. 2 in 2013, but is already 26. A second-year sixth rounder, James is returning from a broken ankle. Neither team had to make the picks they made, but when you run as much as the 49ers and Lovie Smith do, you can never have too many backs.
So, all in all the ASJ pick seems to be pretty universally lauded, but there's a very mixed reaction to Charles Sims' selection. It just goes to show that there really is no telling what teams will do when they go on the clock; now to see what surprises Day 3 has in store for us Bucs fans!