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Grading the 2022 Buccaneers Draft Class

How do we think Tampa did with its 8 selections in the NFL Draft?

2022 NFL Draft - Rounds 4-7 Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Buccaneers 2022 draft class is finalized, and it brings another intriguing crop of talent down to central Florida.

GM Jason Licht — who completes his 10th draft with the team — and the rest of the front office proved to be even more aggressive than usual with trades, as they executed four separate deals throughout the weekend. From the trenches to the backfields, the team sought to improve depth throughout the roster and generally succeeded at doing so.

Let’s recap all of their moves below (complete with initial grades)!

Round 2, Pick 33: Logan Hall, DL, Houston

Traded No. 27 to Jacksonville for Nos. 33, 104 and 180

The Bucs having a clear vision for their top players and extracting strong value in a trade down shows how Licht has become one of the better general managers in the league.

By most value charts, Licht got the better end of the trade down, and Logan Hall was widely considered one of the higher upside players on the defensive side of the ball in this range. Given his versatility, he will fit right in with what Todd Bowles wants to do, and he has the frame to continue adding weight and strength while further improving his projection.

With reports generally agreeing upon the quality of Hall’s character and work ethic, it’s clear that Tampa has fully committed to prioritizing positive locker room presences with awesome athletic profiles. It’s an approach that has generally worked the last 5 years or so, and therefore Hall should be given the benefit of the doubt over other defensive tackles like Devonte Wyatt (whom the Bucs passed on at 27) and Travis Jones (a third rounder).

One final note on the trade: netting No. 104 got the Bucs Cade Otton, who profiles as a starting caliber tight end with time.

Grade: A

Round 2, Pick 57: Luke Goedeke, OL, Central Michigan

Traded Nos. 60 and 180 to Buffalo for No. 57

Goedeke isn’t a household name, but he embodies the ethos that Tampa has striven to establish in the trenches. He’s a mean son of a bitch – a self-described asshole and glass eater – who is among the best block finishers in the class.

He’s a punishing run blocker and surprisingly technical as a pass protector despite picking up the position just a few years ago. His arrow is clearly pointing up, and the team reportedly plans to give him the first crack at the left guard spot to replace franchise legend Ali Marpet.

We dove into his profile more in-depth elsewhere, but the point is this is a good player at good value. The ceiling is unclear because he doesn’t seem to be a plus-plus athlete, but he’s athletic enough to stick in the league for a long time.

Making the small jump to secure him using a pick that didn’t belong to the team in the first place is the kind of trade you like to see.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Pick 91: Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State

Licht and Co. are determined to get a Day 2 running back pick right if it kills them. White joins a group that includes Charles Sims, Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn – the latter three could form a Led Zeppelin cover band called “A Whole Lotta Meh.”

White profiles somewhat similarly to Sims, given they’re both quicker-than-fast running backs with superior receiving skills and an allergy to running between the tackles.

The biggest caveat, and what I sense Licht probably sees as the differentiating factor here, is that White has better field vision, decisiveness, and the ability to create for himself. White is constantly moving his feet, and he’s very fluid in his movements. It seems like Tampa is betting on the higher end comp – David Johnson.

White is probably not a regular home run hitter, but he seems fit to serve as Leonard Fournette’s partner in the backfield while contributing meaningful third down snaps. The trouble is, I think they could have filled this need just 15 picks later at 106 or even 42 picks later at 133. I understand getting your guy, but other intriguing options like safeties Nick Cross and Kerby Joseph, linebacker Channing Tindall, and defensive lineman Zachary Carter all play higher impact positions and went just a few picks later.

We don’t know their board, so can’t be too harsh, but for reference Isaiah Spiller – one of the classes most heralded backs – went at 123. White should be a fine player, but backup running back seems more like a fourth or fifth pick than a top 100 one.

Grade: C

Round 4, Pick 106 (from Jacksonville): Cade Otton, TE, Washington

The team addressed its dire need for tight end depth with the first pick of Day 3, acquired in their first round trade. Otton was clearly one of the team’s guys from the onset, as they met with him at the Scouting Combine (they even gave him a team hat!), virtually talked, and hosted him for a top 30 visit.

We don’t have access to the board, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Otton was the team’s No. 2 or 3 ranked tight end. He recently received a clean bill of health from the ankle injury that ended his senior year, which means that he will be ready to roll for rookie workouts and training camp.

Otton didn’t produce much at Washington due to a terribly run and executed offense, but he was easily their most reliable target in the passing game when given the chance. He’s a good athlete who understands the nuances of route running and stands out as one of the better blockers in the class, which will be key to him seeing the field in his rookie year.

Tight end is generally one of the least productive positions as a rookie due to the adjustment to NFL speed and power, but Otton has a good base to build on and should be a regular contributor by his second season.

The fact that the team got him at excellent value with a pick they didn’t even start with only sweetens the pot.

Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 133: Jake Camarda, P, Georgia

We all know there’s a sensitive spot when it comes to Licht and drafting specialists. Roberto Aguayo and Matt Gay understandably create hard feelings, we won’t re-hash them here – though I’d recommend it’s time to let go.

Camarda is Licht’s first drafted punter, and I’m honestly fine with it. Bradley Pinion was not good last year or the year before, and the team can save $2.2 million in cap space by releasing him. Yes, the fourth round is a tad rich, but try to re-configure it in your mind.

First, the team gets an excellent punter in Camarda, who compares favorably to Pat O’Donnell per Puntalytics. O’Donnell has established himself as one of the better punters in the league for the last 8 years.

Puntalytics praised Carmada for being the most consistent available punter, and they noted that he showed notable improvement on coffin-corners last year by allowing just one return on 14 pin-deep attempts. He’s also been praised for having a booming leg and the fastest operating time of draft eligible punters, which translates well to the pros when block attempts come much faster. (yes, I am really conveying punter analysis.)

The second component of this is the money. The cap saved by hypothetically cutting Pinion will be enough to sign the entire draft class (Bucs need about $2.5 million in space, per Over the Cap), which opens up money for other endeavors (Ndamukong Suh, Rob Gronkowski, other veteran depth).

So if you frame this transaction as getting a better punter AND additional flexibility for vital veteran deals, you should be able to at least respect the process a little more. That all said, it is still a punter in the top 150 so I have to ding it slightly.

Grade: B-

Round 5, Pick 157: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State

Traded 2023 fourth rounder to Jacksonville for Nos. 157 and 235

Jason Licht made another savvy deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, giving up a 2023 fourth rounder to acquire picks 157 and 235. That fourth rounder will likely be late – basically a fifth – since the Bucs should make another playoff run, so giving up what amounts to a future fifth for a current fifth plus an additional seventh is a win that’s only augmented by the quality of the player who the team selected.

McCollum is a rare athlete – one of the best to ever enter the league. He consistently improved throughout five seasons, and he’ll go down as one of the FCS’s best defensive backs from a production standpoint (54 passes defensed, 13 interceptions). With his physical traits, ball production and excellent demeanor, it’s easy to see why the Bucs have thought highly of him throughout the process.

For someone thought of as a late Day 2/early Day 3 pick, getting McCollum here is a steal.

Grade: A+

Round 6, Pick 218: Ko Kieft, TE, Minnesota

Traded Nos. 235 and 261 to the Los Angeles Rams for No. 218

He’s a nasty blocking tight end, basically an extra offensive tackle who will likely add an extra 10-15 pounds in the league to maximize his potential. The team didn’t have anyone like him on the roster, so this pick is fine considering how often the Bucs like to play in 12 personnel. He’s drawn favorable comparisons to Lee Smith, who made a long career as a blocking tight end for 11 seasons.

I’m not so sure about the trade up to get him, but it’s fairly inconsequential at this point.

Grade: C+

Round 7, Pick 248: Andre Anthony, EDGE, Louisiana State

Hard to give an F grade to a seventh rounder, but this isn’t a very good pick. Anthony missed most of his final season due to a knee injury, and he’s already 26 years old. He has below-average play strength, getting frequently railroaded by tight ends, and he’s not particularly athletic. He knows how to play the position but doesn’t seem to possess the physical tools to capitalize on his skillset.

The odds are stacked against him to escape camp with even a practice squad spot, but I would love to be proven wrong.

Grade: D

Overall, this class feels like a strong attempt at balancing immediate needs while being mindful of the future. I think the franchise could have used further investments at defensive back and linebacker to soften potential losses in the years to come, and a few picks felt like reaches, but it’s critical to remember that you can only do so much with 8 total picks (3 of which came in the final 50 selections).

The final grade from me? I give this class a solid B-.

  • Really nice adds to the trenches, a potential starting tight end, and a high-upside developmental corner highlight the class.
  • Another Day 2 running back and some Day 3 reaches stand out as areas that could’ve been a little better.

Let us know your opinions, Bucs Nation, by voting in the poll below and discussing in the comments.


How do you grade the Buccaneers’ 2022 draft class?

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