Buccaneers Earn an ‘B’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Published: April 29th, 2018
By Buccaneers Gab

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Bucs, who according to Kiper got an ‘B’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

The Tampa defense was abysmal last season. The Bucs allowed 5.98 yards per play, which ranked last in the league. They couldn’t stop the run, and they couldn’t defend the pass. They made a few moves to address the defensive line in the offseason, signing Vinny Curry and Beau Allen then trading for Jason Pierre-Paul. And they went defensive line with their first pick, adding mammoth nose tackle Vita Vea after trading down five spots with the Bills. I was a little surprised the Bucs didn’t go with safety Derwin James because he was still on the board, but I like Vea, even if tackle wasn’t a huge need. He should eat up blockers next to Gerald McCoy. GM Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter clearly identified the weakest spot on the team and fortified it this offseason.

The Bucs added two second-round picks from the Bills in that trade — those are two really important and premium selections — and ended up picking four times on Day 2. Running pack Ronald Jones II (pick 38) could be an immediate starter. He has breakaway speed but wasn’t used much in the passing game in college. Then Licht went with back-to-back cornerbacks in M.J. Stewart (53) and Carlton Davis (63), trying to address that need in the secondary. Former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III has been a disappointment, so expect Stewart and Davis to compete right away. Alex Cappa (94) is a developmental prospect who was named Northwest Athletic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year each of the past four seasons. He’ll need time to adjust to the NFL. I had safety Jordan Whitehead (117) farther down on my board — he’s not very big. If Jack Cichy (202) stays healthy, he could be a good player.

Did this D get better in free agency and the draft? Six games against New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina will tell us.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/12 Vita Vea DT WASHINGTON
2/38 Ronald Jones II RB USC
2/53 M.J. Stewart CB NORTH CAROLINA
2/63 Carlton Davis CB AUBURN
3/94 Alex Cappa OT HUMBOLDT STATE
4/117 Jordan Whitehead S PITTSBURGH
5/144 Justin Watson WR PENNSYLVANIA
6/202 Jack Cichy ILB WISCONSIN

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