It’s so hard to grade any team’s draft selections just hours after the picks are made. Of course you can tie it all in with how the teams are currently built and how the picks can impact them in the present. But overall, it’s very hard to determine the difference any player can make as they come out of college.
Regardless, many can’t wait to get into grading draft selections. So with that being said, we have grades from several media outlets on how they feel the Buccaneers draft went.
Final draft grade: A
The reigning Super Bowl champions brought back everybody who was scheduled to be a free agent this offseason. That being said, the draft allowed them to take best player available in some spots and add continue to bolster certain positions. At the end of the first round, they took Joe Tryon out of the University of Washington, giving another pass rusher.
In the second round, they drafted former Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask, who could turn out to be the heir apparent to Tom Brady. After that, the Bucs drafted offensive tackle Robert Hainsey in the third round and wide receiver Jaelon Darden in the fourth round. To wrap their draft class, Tampa Bay selected linebacker K.J. Britt (5th round), cornerback Chris Wilcox (6th round), and Grant Stuard (7th round aka Mr. Irrevelant). Its hard to give the Bucs a bad grade as they didn’t have many needs to address.
With a championship team effectively returning intact, GM Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians didn’t need anything ... and it was worth wondering if the Bucs would try to amass assets when they’re needed for future drafts. But they managed to bolster an already exceptional pass rush with Joe Tryon in Round 1 and found a potential heir apparent for Tom Brady at the end of Round 2 in Kyle Trask, who led the nation with 43 TD passes in 2020. Grade: B+
Tampa Bay had an amazing offseason before the draft keeping every single one of their key veteran players intact on their Tom Brady-led Super Bowl 55-winning team. GM Jason Licht kept up the momentum with fine stashes everywhere except defensive tackle. Tryon and Britt are good supporting third options for their great starting linebackers. Hainsey and Darden are good developmental types for the offense. The standout is Trask, who can turn into Brady’s successor in the right pocket passing system under Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich.
Bucs first-round pick Joe Tryon is a raw talent with exciting upside, and he’s going to the perfect place to realize his potential. The University of Washington linebacker won’t be thrust into the lineup if he’s not ready. The Bucs have great depth at linebacker and can afford to develop Tryon at an ideal pace.
Tampa Bay’s most intriguing pick was the second-round selection of Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, who could be Tom Brady’s successor, if he ever retires.
Best pick: Third-round guard-tackle Robert Hainsey from Notre Dame is a good player. He gives them some insurance for next year when it’s time to pay Alex Cappa.
Worst pick: I didn’t like the decision to take quarterback Kyle Trask in the second round. I would have taken Davis Mills, or passed altogether on the quarterback of the future.
The skinny: They were clearly drafting for the future with all 22 starters back from the Super Bowl team. That’s a heck of a luxury. First-round pick Joe Tryon gives them a nice potential replacement down the line for Jason Pierre-Paul.
Analysis: Tryon’s versatility fits quite well in the Buccaneers’ scheme, as he can play the five-technique or stand up as a powerful rush linebacker. The team really needed to get younger there, with Ndamukong Suh, William Gholston, and Jason Pierre-Paul all potentially free agents after the season. Trask could be a Nick Foles-type starter down the line, but was probably picked one round earlier than his skill set called for. Hainsey brings versatility and toughness to a Tampa line in need of depth.
I was afraid teams would overlook Darden because of his size (5-8, 174), but he was a draft crush for me because of his juice and toughness after the catch. Britt is a leader with great football IQ, and he will serve as a nice backup to the Bucs’ veterans. GM Jason Licht finished off the draft with solid selections in versatile defensive back Wilcox and high-motor linebacker/special teamer Stuard.
The was a lot to like from the Buccaneers draft, especially the selection of Jaelon Darden. The speedy receiver out of North Texas has the potential of being the team’s punt returner and being on the field with Scotty Miller at the same time.
Imagine quarterback Tom Brady having both of those options as they go jetting down the field.
The reality of all this is that we’ll be able to get a better feel for this draft class in two to three years. But for now, it’s fun to look at how several folks view Tampa Bay’s 2021 draft class.