The fanpost title will make sense as you read on.
So anyway, about the 2022 Bucs. Here's my grade on the players drafted this year. The rules are: Did The Player Fit a Need and Will the Player Make the Team? After going through that, I comment on The Moves I Liked and Moved I Didn't Like (you can probably guess which one is gonna TICK ME OFF ROYALLY) before giving a final assessment and heading off to dinner.
AND WOULD IT KILL YOU, SB NATION, TO BRING THE POLLING OPTION BACK TO FANPOSTS.
Here's the 2022 review:
First Round (27) – Traded down
Unlike last year, where the Bucs had no outstanding needs, this year even with the division title and playoff run the lineup has some noticeable gaps. Players lost to free agency (Tight End, Running Back) that aren't resolved yet, positions unsigned (Defensive End/Tackle), or positions lost to retirement (Offensive Guard especially with the loss of already-legend Ali Marpet). We had depth issues with Safety and Cornerback.
So with the 27th overall pick, the Bucs could have gone in any number of roster choices to fill. Thing is, in any draft you tend to have one guy in mind you REALLY want for your team, and from there you list a number of alternatives just in case another team ahead of you beats you to the pick (or another team trades ahead of you to YOINK him).
Which seems to have happened this year. You might notice that the minute the Jets traded up to the 26th spot to draft DE Jermaine Johnson from Florida St., the Bucs agreed to a trade down with the Jaguars out of the First Round altogether.
I had been arguing pre-draft that given our needs and lack of enough draft picks to fill them, a trade-down to secure more was something I agreed with. I just wasn't expecting our top pick to be that deal. Then again, we were drafting late in the First anyway, and moving to the start of the Second wasn't that great a difference. We picked up extra Fourth and Sixth Round spots that could fill needs (or get used in any trade-UPs later in the draft).
We did pass up on getting a player - Devonte Wyatt or Lewis Cine - that the fans were keen on seeing in pirate pewter, but another quality player we hadn't considered could still be had later.
Still, not having a First feels like a defeat. Whoever we drafted would have set the tone for the rest of the weekend...
Second Round (33) – Logan Hall, DE, Houston
With the move to the start of the Second Round, the Bucs were in an envious position to trade down a little more to snag more picks, but at some point you gotta draft SOMEBODY so Tampa Bay opened up with a much-needed defensive linesman to fill a DE spot in our 3-4 system.
Hall entered the draft as one of the top DEs on the scouting boards. Given the high demand for them in the First, there was a likelihood he would have been taken that early. The reporting on him is high on his pash-rush speed, flexible moves to shake off blockers, and good tackling skills. He played as a DT on the interior, but his body shape is more suited to the End spot.
When he starts, he would likely play alongside pure DT Vita Vea, and opposite solid veteran William Gholston.
Player Fit A Need? Yes. The Bucs have yet to re-sign veteran Ndomakong Suh. While there is some cap space now to do it, he has been noticeably slower in 2021 and is getting up there in age. Hall is a younger, faster pass-rusher who can create pressure on QBs even without a blitz package of LBs to aid him. We may not have to send 5- or 6-man blitzes if Hall can consistently get past the blockers like he did in college.
Makes the Team? Yes. He's NOT the First Round pick, but he could have been if the Bucs hadn't traded down. This is the top guy on the draft board we took, the Bucs are going to do everything to coach him up and get him playing ASAP.
(57) -- Luke Goedeke, G, Central Michigan
With this, the Bucs traded up a few spots from their original 60th pick, likely on rumors that another team was going to get Goedeke, and they did so giving up that Sixth Rounder they secured from the Jags the night before (the Vikings got another Guard at 59th, so...). That trade-down did generate a dividend already.
Goedeke is one of those off-season scouting wonders, someone who didn't always pop up on the ESPN highlight reels during college game days but shows up at the workouts and combines showing off elite skills. In many respects he's following the career arc of the guy he's replacing, Ali Marpet, who came from an even smaller college program as a highed touted draft pick and gotten in the Second Round by the Bucs. Marpet just retired unexpectedly, having reached the pinnacle of success as an O-lineman - a Super Bowl ring, Pro Bowl recognition - and leaving a gap Goedeke has to fill.
The scouting on Goedeke is that he's one of the better pass-blocking linemen in this draft, but still raw as a talent with only two years experience as a Tackle. A serious leg injury also hurt his draft stock, but with luck he's recovered from that. He's got some experience at Guard AND Center, which is something Licht and the coaches like to see in their OL choices.
Player Fit A Need? Yes. With Marpet's departure (and G Cappa's free agency move elsewhere), Bucs had a gap at Guard that even our free agency signings and trade move for Shaq Mason couldn't cover. Goedeke is projected to fit in at Left Guard, while Mason takes care of the Right.
Makes the Team? Yes. Guy plays with the attitude similar to a guy who's lining up next to him at Center: Ryan Jensen. Goedeke's drive is akin to "eating glass" and being a monster on the field. It'll be a question if that motor leads to too many yellow flags, but we'll see He's got the intensity to be a starter right away.
From what I gathered on social media, there was a little outrage from my fellow draftnik Bucs fans who were not thrilled Tampa Bay went with running back here.
Some were upset we were drafting RB at all. We had re-signed Leonard Fournette to be our primary back, and KeShawn Vaughn was still on the roster as a capable backup. We even had Gio Bernard re-signed to a one-year deal, although in the time he played in 2021 he did not impress the way Playoff Lenny still did.
However, with Ronald Jones departing via Free Agency - failing to prove his Second Round value in the four years he'd been here - there was a gap here, and the Bucs still need to develop an RB - either Vaughn, or White now - to step up when Fournette is no longer here.
The biggest complaint was that White is something of a reach pick: Most scouting had him going in the Fourth Round, and there were bigger marquee RB names - (Brian Robinson, Isiah Spiller) - and fan-favorites (Dameon Pierce) still on the board.
But there's a good reason why White was chosen ahead of those names, and it has everything to do with Tom Freaking Brady: Of the remaining RBs on the board, White was the one with the best receiving skills. Backs are called on from time to time to go out on screens and flats, to be a safety value check-down for QBs to look for in case all the receivers downfield are covered. Brady LOVES to work with RBs who can catch - Fournette is capable of it, hence HIS value - and if he can get in sync with White right away, we can see more short yard passing gains for first downs.
In terms of being a running back, White has decent agility to avoid tacklers and can find the running lanes, and can burst for long yards in the open field. He doesn't shake tackles well when caught, and he needs an OL ahead of him to open those lanes (he cannot push the pile). He's pretty much another Ronald Jones but with better receiving skills, so hopefully he'll last
Fourth Round (106) - Cade Otton TE, Washington
The benefits of that trade-down to Jacksonville shows up here as the Bucs now have TWO Fourth Rounders to fill the remaining needs now that D-line, O-line, and running back are taken care of.
Now I couldn't follow the Saturday Draft Day as my best friend's daughter was getting married that afternoon in St. Pete, but I kept tabs on it throughout the day and I was on the Horror Frankenstein bridge when I heard the Bucs had chosen TE Otton at the start of the round. I cheered it.
Our need at Tight End is mostly for depth, not replacing. For all the talk about GRONK not getting re-signed, it has to do with the fact that Gronk wants to enjoy a vacation: If he signs a contract now, he's expected for mandatory post-draft training camp, and he'd rather relax a little first.
No, what's happening here is that Otton is replacing OJ Howard, who departed via free agency. Without Howard, our TE lineup is just Cameron Brate (and Gronk) and a handful of Practice Squad level guys. Our depth is terrible at this roster spot, and Otton is the one picked to fill it.
Scouting-wise, Otton is arguably a steal. In the top THREE of prospects, graded at a Second Round level, getting him here in the Fourth is almost a miracle (there did not seem to be a run on TEs early on). He excels at receiving and route-running, noted for turning from a block to a catch on a dime. Where the fanbase were dreaming of getting the likes of Dulcich or Likely, we got someone better.
Player Fit a Need? Yes. Even when (not IF) Gronk comes back, the Bucs need quality depth at this position. Considering our offense runs a lot of 2-TE looks - even a 3-TE play or two - we need the bodies for it.
Makes the Team? Yes. Otton is someone who can contribute early, as soon as he gets the playbook figured and he gets in sync with Brady's style. This may be one of the best Fourth Round draft picks the Bucs ever make. ...Wait, which round did we get John Lynch...?
(133) - Jake Camarda P, Georgia
So as I mentioned earlier, I was at a wedding this Saturday! OH MY GAWD, Sherry's little girl is ALL GROWED UP. I can remember when she was this little thing painting whiskers on her cheeks and calling herself a cat, and now she's an adult all dressed up like a Princess getting married to the guy she met in medical school and... and... WAIT WHAT. THE BUCS DRAFTED WHAT LATE IN THE FOURTH ROUND?!?!
...Yeah. Good news, people, I didn't go ballistic during the ceremony, that would have been rude. I kept it all on Twitter and didn't yell like a madman until I was in the car screaming all the way on the drive home.
Well, I didn't scream loudly, that hurts my throat. BUT I WAS SCREAMING INTERNALLY AND IN CAPS LOCK HERE.
Okay... Okay, lemme calm down.
The Bucs going for Camarda as a punter takes care of a problem that rose up during the 2021 season: our veteran Bradley Pinion was aging out and failing to make the deep kicks we needed to pin other teams inside their 10-Yard line. I was aware of others - here at BucsNation and other drafting sites - suggesting the Bucs would address in via the draft, but I was pointing to higher-priority needs and argued against it. A decent punter - not a great one, I admit - could be got in the UFA looting that happens post-draft who could perform better than Pinion and that could be that.
Except Licht and the front office saw differently, and drafted a guy they wanted to take care of this.
To be fair, Camarda is a great punter coming out of college, scouted second overall on most boards. He's got accuracy to pin his kicks and has uncommon speed for a punter to help in return coverage.
IT'S JUST, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE BUCS DRAFTED HIM TOO EARLY. I know Licht was likely working on the rumors that another team drafting Camarda if he slipped past us. But he bit on that rumor before, going after K Aguayo and making the mistake of trading UP to get him, which caused too much psychological pressure on the kid and he flamed out. While Licht didn't trade up this time, he still drafted too early to get a punter in any way.
AND YES, Baltimore HAD just drafted a punter a few picks before, which they're probably getting raked over the coals by their fanbase. We didn't have to do what Baltimore did, the Bucs could have done their own thing (like draft the guy they took in the Fifth, more on that later). Hell, they could have accepted a trade-down into the Fifth for an extra pick or two and STILL could have gotten a decent punter. Maybe not Camarda, but there were others that could have been improvements over Pinion anyway.
Just look at how the draft board continued after Bucs selected Camarda in the Fourth: NOBODY drafted another punter until the Sixth Round. This tells me there wasn't any serious rush for punters, this was Licht seeing Baltimore get one and likely panicking that the chance to get a good one would disappear.
I have a serious question: Did the Bucs receive any trade offers for this spot? Anybody with multiple Fifth Rounders looking for a chance to move up to secure their own favorite rookie(s)? If so, Licht could have honestly traded down into the Fifth to pick up those extras and get both Camarda (or another good punter, there were STILL some left on the board like Matt Arazia or Trenton Gill by the Sixth) and also the guy Licht coveted so much in the Fifth we traded for anyway. To me, this was a wasted effort. Not even in hindsight, if I were there in the draft room and not at my friends' wedding, I would have told Licht to trade down instead of pick Camarda here. We could have gotten more value out of this.
One final note: Out of ALL the players the Bucs could have drafted from bowl champion Georgia, we only took the PUNTER. /headdesk
Player Fit A Need? Yes. I'm not ranting against Camarda here, he's a good punter, the scouts noted he was worth a draft pick (just not this high). May he pin all teams at the one-yard line with his kicks. May he play for 12 years with 8 Pro Bowl invites and even a Super Bowl MVP award, okay?
Fifth Round (157) – Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston St
As part of my rant about getting a punter earlier, another after-effect was how Licht became desperate to trade INTO the Fifth Round where we had lost the original pick in trading for G Mason.
The Bucs front office was making a lot of noise about how much they wanted to draft this one kid with a scouting rep of their dreams. Thing is, if the scouting was working out the way they planned, and McCollum was going to slide this far, why didn't the Bucs do more during trading down to secure enough picks in the Fifth to justify getting him?
What happened instead was the Bucs trading away next year's Fourth to get here, which to me feels like a waste. Yes, I know the value of that pick depends on how well we do in the regular season, but the thing is we may be expecting a mass exodus of veterans in free agency in 2023 and we may need all the picks we can get then.
In the meantime, the Bucs do garner a guy who on paper should have been a higher-drafted talent. He has all the appropriate physical tools and the speed to cover the field. A turnover machine in his collegiate career, he's a potential ball-hawk that the Bucs keep looking for. If he's got any knocks, it's that he plays a little too soft and lets receivers contest for the throws. Also, he played at the lower division of football (I still call it I-AA) where the opposition weren't all high-caliber talents: We need to see how he matches up to guys who are as fast as he is.
Grade: B+. Scouting on McCollum seems to make him akin to a top-draft pick. It's that his lowly Division experience was never against top talent, so no one is really sure if he's worth the hype. We'll have to see how he works out at the pro level.
THIS was a bit of a surprise for me, as I thought the Bucs had traded away - twice! - any Sixth Rounders we had. It turns out that in our trade with Jacksonville for the Fifth, we also squeezed out an extra Seventh, and somehow Licht used that extra pick along with our Compensatory at 261 to trade to the Rams to move up here.
Why we did, I still don't understand.
This was a name I hadn't seen before on any scouting, so it took me some time to dig up stuff on Kieft's career. Because not everybody even had a report ON him to begin with. At best CBS Sports got a scouting report that lists Kieft as an effective blocker at the TE position, but almost no receiving numbers and was scouted too slow to be effective as a receiver.
If the Bucs drafted him to be a pure TE, it won't work. Part of me is wondering if Kieft is getting looked at as a blocker for the Offensive Line. If this was a special teams move, he's not a tackler or speedster to affect the return game. Otherwise this pick makes no sense to me.
Out of all the wheeling and dealing, this was the last draft pick we had to work with. And Licht went with... getting another Defensive lineman.
Which is not often a bad thing. You want to test the depth you have at certain roster spots, and plan ahead to develop talent if you know the talent at that will be free agent expensive in a year or two.
Anthony's scouting reports are meager but easier to find than Kieft's. Anthony isn't a monster pass-rusher but he's shown flashes. Biggest knocks are that he doesn't have the snap quickness and the counter moves to shake off blocks. He is someone who will need serious coaching up. He could contribute on special teams as a tackler, but I'm not sure he'll make it that way.
Makes the Team? No. He's got to get coached up to improve any skill sets to shed off blockers if he's going to be a pass rusher in the Bucs' schemes. It's a more sensible pick than Kieft, but I'm thinking the Bucs could have done better getting someone faster and better valued for special team needs.
Staying calm as the First Round didn't give us much, and making a smart move in trading down to snag extra picks we DID need.
Waiting on a First-Round caliber guy like Logan Hall to improve our Defensive Line.
Finding a great replacement for Marpet in Goedeke.
Practically stealing Otton for our Tight End depth.
I will admit getting a great rookie punter in Camarda to settle our need there for the next 5-10 years.
Finding a diamond-in-the-rough guy like McCollum hopefully to boost our secondary.
Making trade moves to snag extra late-round picks that we exchanged in various trade-UPs when we needed them.
Guess. Take a guess. Guess which move pissed me off more than ANYTHING ELSE this weekend. Guess. It's not the quality of the punter we got, and I believe if we had traded down to a Fifth spot or waited with the Fifth we re-acquired through trade on Thursday night we likely would have gotten him anyway. Drafting for any kicker/punter before the Fifth Round is going to trigger me anymore, okay? It just will. I wish Licht was smarter about this.
Making a trade up into the Sixth for someone in TE Kieft who doesn't look like he fits the team in any way.
Not making any draft trade moves to snag a future 2023 pick or two, if only to balance out the one we traded away.
The Bucs went in with serious needs at D-line and O-line and took care of both right off the bat. We had depth needs at Tight End, Running Back, and Cornerback/Safety and took care of those, some of them rather effectively. The team even took care of a need I personally didn't think was draft-worthy - Punter - and drafted one of the top three talents at that spot.
My anger still revolves around the costs our GM made in pursuing some of his moves throughout the draft. The trade-downs to pick up spots were smart, and some of those were traded away with equal skill. But trading away a future draft pick to move back into a Round where better foresight could have gotten us that pick through patience and another likely trade-down just rubs me the wrong way.
Still, in terms of draft results the Bucs should be happy. This wasn't a draft for fireworks and home runs - that was Detroit and New York Jets, go figure - but this was a draft for stabilizing and complementing a winning program. I would argue Hall, Goedeke, Otton and Camarda could start right away.