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Why the Bucs got it right on Day 2

Tampa Bay continues to address major team needs in this year’s draft.

2023 Division I FCS Football Championship Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

After addressing a significant need in day one, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued to find solutions to the problems of 2022. The Buccaneers started off day two with a new face in the offensive line room. No position group was subjected to more scrutiny last season than Tampa’s offensive line and an influx of new talent was clearly a requirement this offseason.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cody Mauch is the embodiment of what fans want an offensive lineman to look like, but Bucs fans will be thrilled to find out that his performance matches his looks.

At North Dakota State, Mauch started 15 games in each of his last two seasons. Predominately a left tackle, Cody Mauch played a majority of his games protecting his quarterback's blindside but did start at both tackle spots during his time as a Bison. Many have projected Mauch as a guard at the NFL level, but the Bucs announced him as a tackle on draft night. Jason Licht referenced Mauch as a guard in his post-draft press conference, though his wording was ambiguous enough to imply that nothing is set in stone. The Buccaneers may plan to kick their new lineman inside to a guard spot and something extremely interesting if that is the case is the fact that a guard like O’Cyrus Torrence was still on the board when the Buccaneers made their selection. Torrence is a highly touted prospect, but he is a guard through and through. Jason Licht and co. projecting Mauch as a tackle/guard hybrid may provide some insight into the team’s thought process while making their selection. Where Mauch lines up in Tampa’s front next year isn’t clear, whether it is inside or outside, the Buccaneers have continued to address holes on their roster.

In the third round, former Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson, announced Tampa Bay was selecting another pass rusher in YaYa Diaby. Diaby is a true ‘one year of production’ college athlete. Last season, Diaby had nine sacks. In his entire Louisville career, up till that point, he had tallied just 1.5 sacks. An over generalization of Diaby’s career at Louisville would be a talented athlete who didn’t always demonstrate the natural instincts of a football player. The decision to take a prospect of Diaby’s nature may be the team putting faith in Todd Bowles and their defensive coaching staff to bring the most out of an athletic prospect with a high ceiling. During the NFL Combine, Diaby jumped 10 feet and sprinted his way to a 4.51 40-yard dash.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

YaYa Diaby may not have been a name that was buzzing through the casual fan’s head, but the position is one fans are likely to appreciate. Pass rush was a major flaw in Todd Bowles’ defense last year. 2022 was the first season since Bowles’ arrival in Tampa, where pressuring the quarterback was not commonplace. The organization clearly took notice, addressing the pass rush with two of their first three picks in this year’s NFL Draft.


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