The 2014 draft is now firmly in the books. It was a historic draft, in many ways - it was the most-watched NFL draft in history; it was filled with surprising records and facts, such as seeing the most receivers ever taken in the first two rounds of a draft, the latest the first RB off the board has ever been taken, the first time in 74 years no Texas Longhorns were drafted, and the first time in 61 years a quarterback under 6' was drafted in the first round; and of course, it saw Michael Sam being the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. For the Bucs, though, it was particularly historic, as it was the first time the Bucs went an entire draft without selecting a single defensive player.
As historic a draft as it was, though, there are some things about the draft that will never change - and at the top of that list is the fact that there will always be draft grades, delivered as soon as the draft wraps up. Here's a look at some of the grades the media awarded the Bucs, both for the prospects the drafted on the final day and for the first draft of the Lovie-Licht era as a whole, as well as some reactions and takeaways to their all-offense draft.
Day 3 grades
Day 3 of the draft finally saw the Bucs address the offensive line, though by the time they did turn their attention to the trenches, it was a case of drafting players to develop rather than players to plug&play from week one.
Firstly, the Bucs drafted Tennessee State's Kadeem Edwards. Our own Leo Howell graded the pick a 'B', calling him a "solid pick" who has real potential once he develops his technique; the Bucs Nation readers agreed with Leo's 'B' grade. CBS' Derek Stephens gave the selection a 'C', saying "he has a long way to go technically" and needs to get more physical. Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey gave Edwards a B+, though tempering the grade with the note that Edwards either needs to shed weight or add functional strength to compete in the NFL.
The Bucs then traded their seventh round pick, and next year's fifth round pick, for Buffalo's fifth round selection in order to draft Purdue lineman Kevin Pamphile, a tackle who has the potential to play on the interior of the OL as well. Both Leo and our readers gave Pamphile a 'C', while CBS' Stephens graded him slightly higher at a B-. Schottey graded him a D+, calling him "a long-term developmental pick at best."
Lastly, the Bucs took speedster Robert Herron in the sixth round. Leo claimed "the value and fit of this pick is phenomenal", giving the selection an 'A', which a resounding 79% of our readers agreed with. Stephens felt similarly about the Wyoming wideout, giving the pick an 'A-' and calling him a "true game-breaker with explosive play-making ability." Schottey would also give the pick an 'A'.
Full draft grades
And now the part you clicked on this article for: a look at well the media believes the Bucs' draft went.
We start again with Leo, who broke the draft down into three subcategories: Talent, Filling Needs, and Fitting Scheme. Click through to Leo's article (if you haven't already read it) to see how he graded the Bucs' draft in each of these categories, but his overall grade for the draft was a B+. He knocks the grade down because the draft didn't yield an immediate starter at guard, but ultimately concluded
the final result of the first draft ran by Licht and Lovie is a positive one, with multiple new weapons on offense to compliment a defense that was upgraded via free agency and via coaching changes.
The Bucs Nation readers are feeling the good vibes, but were ultimately split on the final grade, as (at time of writing), 45% of you graded the draft an 'A', while another 45% of you gave the draft a 'B' grade, which suggests that Leo's B+ is exactly in line with a majority of our readers' thinking.
In fact, B+ appeared to be the consensus in the SB Nation world, as both SB Nation's draft editor Matthew Fairburn individually, and the whole of the always-excellent Mocking the Draft crew, gave the Bucs' draft B+s. Fairburn said that the draft was all about offensive playmakers, saying
Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins give the Buccaneers plenty of height, while Robert Herron was a steal in the sixth round and should be a nice option out of the slot.
The final MTD grade came with this thrilling thought for Buccaneers fans (while also pointing out that the quarterback position still comes with question marks):
A group of receivers featuring Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Robert Herron is an intimidating bunch. Throw in the addition of Seferian-Jenkins and this offense could rival any other unit in the NFC South.
Elsewhere, NFL.com's Bryan Fischer continued with his own wacky, wacky grading system. though he did replace two of his grading categories - "Sorry, Charlie" and "Try again" - with a new one, "We'll see down the road". Because, well, why not? Fischer decided to keep the Bucs in the "general manager gets a sticker" category. Hmm.
Moving swiftly on, CBS' Pete Prisco was all aboard the B+ train for the Bucs, briefly commenting
They needed to get weapons on offense and they did with their first three picks, including first-round receiver Mike Evans. I really like second-round tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
In this ESPN Insider piece, Mel Kiper (who apparently has less credentials than Bill Tobin's neighbour) broke from the norm and gave the Bucs a B+, saying that the front office may one day look back at when the had the choice of Mike Evans or Jonny Manziel. Kiper rounded up his thoughts on the Bucs' draft by saying
They effectively targeted the offense, and didn't make mistakes on value. Now it's up to a QB to live up.
Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar looked at the Bucs' draft, and after weighing up the strengths and weakness of their draft class settled on a surprising B+. Farrar didn't really sum up the draft as a whole, but rather collated comments on the individual players. Of the more interesting comments, in my opinion, were him calling Edwards "one of the more underrated blockers in this draft", while calling Pamphile a "personal favourite of mine", saying
he doesn't have a lot of experience, but could be great with the right coaching.
Over at Yahoo! Sports, an uncredited writer (or writers) put together this pretty slideshow of draft analysis for their Shutdown Corner blog (you'll have to cycle through til you reach the Bucs as there's no direct link to the Bucs' slide), where they became pretty much the only people not to grade the Bucs a B+, giving them just a plain ol' 'B' instead. They offer the Bucs a 'hats off', concluding
The Buccaneers have continued their strong offseason overhaul with a nice group here.
Interestingly, they call Austin Seferian-Jenkins the Bucs' 'worst pick' for consistency issues, so that's something to watch out for.
Fox's Peter Schrager also went the slideshow route for his draft grades, and also strayed from the B+ norm - but in the opposite direction to Yahoo!, giving the Bucs an unqualified 'A'. Schrager decides he wants to nickname Vincent Jackson, Evans & ASJ as "The Skyline", and is so smitten that he already calls them
one of my favourite pass catching threesomes and two of them haven't stepped on the field... This offense will be very fun to watch. The receivers are a basketball team. Now, Jeff Tedford must make it work.
The final draft grade comes courtesy of Evan Silva from Rotoworld, which NBC have adopted as their official draft grades. Silva, who goes for "Twin Towers" as his nickname of choice for Jackson & Evans, brings us safely back to that B+ grade again. Silva is very high on the team's 2014 chances as a result of the draft:
Their defense is a lock to be good, and they have touchdown scorers at the skill positions who will prop up their journeyman quarterback. Don't be surprised if the 2014 Buccaneers bypass the Panthers and Falcons to become the NFC South's No. 2 team.
In addition to the grades, there were plenty more articles out there giving some gradeless reactions to the Buccaneers' draft.
In this video, which promises draft grades, but doesn't actually feature any draft grades, sees Fox's Mike Garafolo wax lyrical about Mike Evans and, well, not much else. But it's always nice to hear good things about the guy you just spent a first round pick on.
ESPN's Pat Yasinskas offers his draft wrap-up for the Bucs here, where he says the Bucs' riskiest move in the draft was not finding an instant starter at guard.
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal calls the Bucs one of the "winners" of the draft, succinctly pointing out what they did right:
They have a playoff-ready defense, and needed to add offensive talent to balance out the squad. They are awful in the red zone, and needed to add physical talent. Done and done.
In an interesting twist, Bleacher Report's Alessandro Miglio decided to grade general managers rather than grading draft classes. How different is this from grading the draft class themselves? I'm not sure, but at least Miglio does what the cool kids do and gives the Bucs a B+.
An interesting tidbit: CBS' Frank Cooney claim that "the Bucs had a top-20 grade" on ASJ. As a result, he names the TE the team's best-value pick of the draft.
NFL.com's fantasy expert Michael Fabiano calls Mike Evans the fourth-best fantasy rookie from the draft.
Finally, if you haven't seen it (and yes, this probably should have gone under the "Grades" bit above, but it's a nice note to end on), make sure you check out SB Nation's Future Considerations video below to see what grade they gave the Bucs.