Jason Licht and Lovie Smith have completed their first NFL Draft as the decision-makers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and in doing so they were the first front office in Bucs history to not select a defensive player.
In other words, Licht and Smith knew where the Buccaneers were lacking, and attacked those needs aggressively.
The worst-ranked offense in the NFL in 2013 has received six new talents in wide receivers Mike Evans and Robert Herron, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, running back Charles Sims, and offensive linemen Kadeem Edwards and Kevin Pamphile.
So how did the Buccaneers do in the 2014 NFL Draft? Here are their overall grades.
The Buccaneers added loads of talent in the draft, especially with their first two selections. Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are freaky athletes with size and speed combinations rarely seen in the NFL.
Evans was arguably the best receiver in the draft (I believe he was), while Seferian-Jenkins was the best two-way tight end, and the second-best tight end overall behind Eric Ebron. Adding both in the first 40 picks made the Buccaneers bigger, stronger and faster on offense in a hurry.
Charles Sims is a talented guy, although his selection was met with question marks over where he fits on the depth chart. He's got elite hands for the running back position, and has good speed for his size.
The offensive linemen the Buccaneers added both have work to do, but if they develop and reach their potential, they'll be versatile, capable linemen with athleticism beyond the average player at their positions. Kevin Pamphile in particular has a long way to go, but his basketball background means he could have a quick ascent to being a relevant NFL player just like former hoopster Demar Dotson.
And finally, Robert Herron adds incredible speed and quickness to the offense, and will pose a threat on a line of scrimmage loaded with big, strong, tough-to-cover receivers that will attract defense's attentions.
Filling Needs: B
The Buccaneers entered the draft with lots of specific needs (guard, wide receiver, depth at a few positions), but one over-arching need: Add more talent to the offense.
The 2013 Bucs were at the bottom of the league in offense, and lost Donald Penn, Davin Joseph, Mike Williams, Tiquan Underwood and Erik Lorig. The poor were getting poorer as the offseason went on.
But adding offensive linemen and a new quarterback in free agency helped shore things up in the middle of the formation, while the draft allowed the Bucs to add skilled players with talent and potential.
Fitting Scheme: A
Jeff Tedford needed playmakers for his offense. Jeff Tedford got playmakers for his offense.
The Buccaneers now have three huge targets who can move the chains in the passing game, plus a running back with soft hands and good route-running skills who can exploit weaknesses in the short passing game. Throw in a world class speedster to play in the slot and bring a dynamic presence to the screen game, and the Buccaneers did more than just add "speed in space." They added talent and upside to their new look offense.
It wasn't a perfect draft, because getting a starting-caliber guard would have been nice, and picking up some extra picks to snag some defensive depth later in the selection meeting would have been fitting. But 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.