The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a curious second day in the 2016 NFL draft. They entered it with two picks: the eighth pick in the second round, and the eleventh pick in the third round. They left it with two second-round players, including a kicker, and one less fourth-round pick than they had when they started.
The Bucs had already addressed cornerback in the first round by taking local prospect Vernon Hargreaves, so the biggest need on the board was edge rusher -- by a long distance. The Bucs went straight to work to address that problem.
39th pick: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
The Bucs started out by hoping that defensive end Noah Spence would fall to them -- and were elated when he did. Despite defensive ends going first and second overall in the second round, the Bucs stayed put and were rewarded for their patience.
"We felt like he was one of the, if not the, best pure pass rushers in the draft," general manager Jason Licht said.
That's a sentiment shared by many, including yours truly, our own Jason Kanno, and Stephen White. Spence isn't the best run defender, and probably isn't the best all-around defensive end in the draft, but no one can turn the corner on an offensive tackle like him. It's why he put up 7.5 sacks as a sophomore at Ohio State, before getting kicked out for abusing ecstacy. He went on to put up another 13.5 sacks with Eastern Kentucky last year, absolutely dominating the opposition. While that didn't happen against the best opposition, he was also terrific at the Senior Bowl this offseason. His talent is real.
Speaking of drug abuse, the Bucs think he's overcome those issues since then. Spence has passed every drug test he's been given in the past year, and has been upfront about his drug abuse to teams. That's really all you can ask for.
59th pick: Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State
The Bucs then did something no one expected. They'd been linked to Roberto Aguayo before, and he's likely the best kicker to come out in a decade. But a second-round pick was very high for him, and the Bucs even traded up to get him at that point: they gave up the fourth-round pick they'd finagled from the Bears a day before.
Still, that's what the Bucs did. It's either the worst decision in the draft, or sneaky smart. If any kicker is worth that kind of investment, it's Aguayo. He's the most accurate kicker in college football history, never having missed a kick inside 40 yards. He also has a cannon for a leg, can consistently get touchbacks, and can pin returners back deep -- a skill that's a lot more valuable now that touchbacks bring the ball back to the 25- instead of the 20-yard line.
The Bucs now head into day three of the draft with four more picks: the tenth pick of the fourth round, the ninth pick of the fifth round, the eighth pick of the sixth round, and the 22nd pick of the sixth round. They have no seventh-round picks, though that may change by the end of the day. Should be fun!
Buccaneers 2016 draft picks
Round 1: pick 9 (9th overall): Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Round 2: pick 8 (39th overall): Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Round 2: pick 28 (59th overall, from Kansas City): Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State
Round 4: pick 10 (108th overall)
Round 5: pick 9 (148th overall)
Round 6: pick 8 (183rd overall)
Round 6: pick 22 (197th overall, from Washington)