The 2017 NFL draft is over, done, in the books, fini. Not done: draft grades, because what’s more useful than giving an immediate reaction to a draft class before you know how those players will do in the NFL, or even how their teams will use them.
Still, it’s fun, and there’s some limited value in the consensus view on the Bucs’ new players. So let’s start with SB Nation’s Dan Kadar, who seems to like what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did, at least if we can go by what he actually wrote.
The draft for the Buccaneers was about finding help for Jameis Winston. They did that in the first round, getting an absolute steal in tight end O.J. Howard with the 19th pick. He should see a lot of passes thrown his way in Tampa Bay. They got another target for Winston in wide receiver Chris Godwin. Like Mike Evans, he’s a wide receiver you can throw it up high to and he can come down with it.
Between the two pass catchers, the Buccaneers got safety Justin Evans. He plays a lot like Tanard Jackson did. Hopefully Evans can stick around a little longer. I thought pick No. 50 was a bit too high for him. Running back Jeremy McNichols was a great pickup in the fifth round. He could get some carries while Doug Martin is suspended, and he has the talent to keep them.
Somehow, this block of text results in...a C+. I’m not sure how that works, to be honest, because it seems like Kadar is very positive about the Bucs’ moves, and yet can’t give them more than just a barely passing grade.
Other analysts gave the Bucs better grades in addition to good blurbs. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco, for instance, gave them a B+ and noted that O.J. Howard was perhaps the “cleanest” player in the draft—though what that means, exactly, remains a bit unclear.
Similarly, Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar gave the Bucs an A-, focusing on how much help the team got Jameis Winston. Everyone, in fact, is more positive than Kadar. USA Today gave them a B, Sports Illustrated a B+, the Washington Post a B+, and Rotoworld a B+ too.
The consensus view: the Bucs got great value with their picks, and added a lot of weapons for Winston and got a very promising if risky safety in Justin Evans. It’s a good draft, in other words. Now let’s hope we can still say that in a year or three.