The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have rounded out their 2014 NFL draft class focusing exclusively on offensive prospects. For the first time in their history, the Bucs drafted no defensive players, although in the 1978 draft they waited until the eighth round (they had those back then) to draft their first defender.
That offensive dominance wasn't by design, or so the Bucs claim, but simply how the board fell. Using a best-available-player approach, Jason Licht and Lovie Smith consistently found themselves in position to consistently draft quality offensive players, constructing the Tampa Bay Dunkaneers with their first five picks before finally adding someone with below-average size for his position. The Bucs drafted four players over 6'4", three of them having a significant basketball background.
The biggest surprise of the draft was the team re-committing to quarterback Mike Glennon, after talking about the need for athleticism at the quarterback position and several reports that the Bucs were willing to trade Glennon during the offseason. No such trade materialized, and instead Lovie Smith called the 6'7" signal caller their "quarterback of the future" and talked about continuing to develop him, behind Josh McCown.
Effectively, the Bucs used the draft to overhaul their offense, while adding a few key pieces on defense through free agency. Given the amount of talent the team has added this offseason and their own stated ambitions, anything less than a playoff berth will be disappointing at this point -- and that feels like a realistic goal.
|1||7(7)||Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M||Introducing the Dunkaneers|
|2||6(38)||Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington||Scouting report|
|3||5(69)||Charles Sims, RB, WVU||Scouting report|
|5||3(143)||Kadeem Edwards, G, Tennesee State||Grade|
|5||9(149)||Kevin Pamphile, T, Purdue||Grade|
|6||9(185)||Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming||Grade|
#7 overall: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
After much speculation and throwing up of smokescreen, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply did what everyone thought they would do at the seventh overall pick: they selected the top wide receiver on the board, passing on Johnny Manziel and Aaron Donald despite multiple reports stating they love those players. The Bucs instead filled their biggest need with the best player available at their pick, taking the massively productive Texas A&M product with their top-10 selection.
The 6'5", 230 lbs. receiver joins Vincent Jackson to give the Tampa Bay Dunkaneers the biggest receiving corps in the NFL by quite some distance, and their size and ability to make contested catches should help Josh McCown and Mike Glennon succeed this year.
"It's in the great state of Florida. I'd love to play there [with] the great weather. I don't know if Tampa has a beach or not - I'm not too up-to-date on the [geography] of it. If it has a beach, then it's going to be easy for me, because I grew up in Galveston [Texas], and they have a beach down there."
#38 overall: Austin-Seferian Jenkins, TE, Washington
In the second round, the Bucs continued to address their offense by selecting yet another massive, 6'5" target in tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. As with Evans, his catching radius and ability to make contested catches should help the team's quarterback excel.
Seferian-Jenkins isn't just a pass-catcher, though, but he's also a quality blocker who has the ability to develop into a dominant player in the running game. He was by quite some distance the best player on the Bucs' board, which is why they picked him rather than a player who would have filled a bigger need.
"I'm going to bring explosiveness, I'm going to bring play-making ability, I'm going to bring blocking; I'm going to bring an all-around tight end that can play on three downs and a guy that's going to work hard and chase Super Bowls and try and win as many games as possible for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization."
#69 overall: Charles Sims, RB, WVU
The third round saw a shocking decision: a running back. The third straight pick used on an offensive skill position player. The Bucs have a very deep stable of running backs but once again, they decided to pick the best player available rather than passing up a talented guy to fill a need.
Sims should primarily be a receiving back for the Bucs, while adding some depth and insurance behind Doug Martin as well. He has the ability to line up at slot receiver and win against man coverage, and the Bucs could use him as a movable, matchup player across their formation.
"I like being able to do more than one thing. I like being able to catch the ball out of the backfield, line up as a receiver - I actually played receiver back in high school, so I always was comfortable playing receiver, so that's where me being comfortable catching the ball came from. I'm just excited, that's about it. I don't know how to feel right now."
Kadeem Edwards, G, Tennessee State
The Bucs waited until the fifth round to finally address their offensive line, taking a little-know offensive lineman out of small-school Tennessee State with the third pick of the fifth round. Edwards isn't a very polished player, and he needs a lot of technique work, but he's an athletic talent. Sports Illustrated even had him as the seventh-best guard in the draft, but this late in the process most of the differences are fairly small and it's all about scheme fit.
Edwards may need technique work, but he's a very aggressive player and an impressive person off the field, making the President's List and All-OVC Academic Team. If he can apply that work ethic to his NFL game, he could develop into a very good starter down the road. He certainly has the long arms and other physical to eventually turn into a quality player. For now, though, he's likely to be a swing backup -- as is the case for most fifth rounders.
"I'm not afraid of anyone, they put their pants on just like I put my pants on, so they line down, we're going to war" (via Tom Krasniqi)
Kevin Pamphile, T, Purdue
The Bucs were so intrigued by this player that they traded up for him in the fifth round. They gave up the Baltimore Ravens' 2015 fifth-round pick and their own 2014 seventh-round pick to jump up to number 149 overall. That trade actually grades out pretty evenly, going by Football Perspective's trade calculator.
As with Edwards, Pamphile is another athletic offensive lineman who may need some technique work. The Purdue prospect is another former basketball player (Dunkaneers!) who has a solid frame and long arms, and terrific speed, running a 4.94 40-yard dash at his pro-day (per NFL.com). If he puts in the effort and gets good coaching he could turn into a steal down the line, but like Edwards, he's not an instant starter.
The Bucs will initially try him out at offensive tackle, as the Bucs need a backup swing tackle, but he has the ability to shift inside and play guard as well.
Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
Robert Herron is a 5'9" speedster, and the first player in the draft to really fit that "speed in space" mantra we all envisioned before the 2014 NFL draft. Quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo recruited and coached him in college, giving them some inside info on the diminutive receiver. Herron was really the only offensive weapon for Wyoming, and still managed over 2,000 receiving yards in his career.
The Bucs see him as a kick returner and slot receiver, and he could do some real damage with his speed in spite of his size. However, there's a reason why he was available this late: there are question surrounding his ability to hold up against the bigger and more physical competition in the NFL. There's a chance he's just another Dexter Jackson -- but that's a much better risk to take in the sixth round than in the second round.
Herron says he "put his money on myself" in a foot race vs Jeff Demps #Bucs— Tom Krasniqi (@TKras) May 10, 2014