Re-Evaluating The Bucs 2021 NFL Draft Picks

The 2022 NFL Draft is sort of right here. And Bucs followers are (im)patiently awaiting what their crew may do to bolster its roster for a run on the Tremendous Bowl. This annual occasion has became one of the crucial in style on the league’s calendar. Bucs followers are particularly this 12 months, as it could be the final of a three-year Tremendous Bowl window. To high it off, the crew has a number of holes on its’ roster that the draft class might probably shore up.

That wasn’t the case this time final 12 months although. In 2021 the Bucs have been contemporary off their second Tremendous Bowl in franchise historical past. Bucs GM Jason Licht had simply completed the unthinkable. He had in some way retained each key contributor of the championship crew. Then head coach Bruce Arians characterised the crew’s draft technique as searching for depth items who might begin long-term, because the crew had no open beginning positions.

And that’s the perspective I would like us to tackle this journey of re-evaluating final 12 months’s draft. Prefer it or not, that was the technique the crew took when making their alternatives final 12 months. It is sensible to then consider these picks and the way they’re growing inside that plan. Might the crew have tried to make alternatives that may have challenged entrenched veterans for beginning roles? Perhaps. However they didn’t, so utilizing that as our benchmark doesn’t make sense. With that in thoughts, let’s take a look at the 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft class one 12 months later.

Decide 32: OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

JTS was the final choose of the primary spherical. The Bucs fell in love with him throughout his Professional Day and through crew interviews. They have been impressed by how Tryon-Shoyinka used his 12 months off as a consequence of COVID to essentially maximize his physique bodily. Tryon-Shoyinka mixed nice athleticism with a want to succeed. That made the Bucs suppose he may lead an out of doors linebacker room after Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul moved on.

Tryon-Shoyinka was anticipated to spell the starters and supply affect go rush on lengthy and late downs. As well as, he would supply insurance coverage in case one in all them bought injured. Lengthy-term, JTS was to be the heir-apparent to JPP, as Pierre-Paul was getting into the final 12 months of his contract whereas approaching his mid-thirties.

Re-Evaluating the Draft Decide

The Bucs plan right here has labored out properly thus far. Pierre-Paul spent most of final 12 months coping with accidents that restricted his skill to decorate for video games. When he did play, his efficiency was clearly affected by these accidents. Tryon-Shoyinka offered play that outmoded JPP’s when the veteran was out. When Pierre-Paul was in, Tryon-Shoyinka was in a position to be impactful on a restricted foundation. Now, as we strategy the 2022 season, Pierre-Paul stays un-signed and Tryon-Shoyinka appears poised to take over the beginning OLB function.

Decide 64: QB Kyle Trask

Trask was a lightning rod of a choose. Many Bucs followers thought the usage of a premium choose on a quarterback who would by no means see the sphere in 12 months one was a waste. On high of that, evaluations of Trask didn’t precisely reveal the perfect Bruce Arians’ quarterback. However the Bucs noticed somebody who might successfully function the offense when Tom Brady not donned crimson and pewter.

Trask was imagined to be a quarterback for the long run. He might develop for a 12 months or two, studying from nice soccer minds corresponding to Tom Brady, Tom Moore, Byron Leftwich and Bruce Arians. Then, in a post-Brady world, Trask would hopefully be able to take the reins as Tampa Bay’s QB1.

Bucs QB Kyle Trask draft

Bucs QB Kyle Trask – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

Re-Evaluating the Draft Decide

12 months one for Trask went as deliberate. He spent the 12 months as QB3 on the official depth chart. He bought to be taught the offense because the Bucs made one other playoff run with Brady on the helm. Now that Brady is again for 2022, Trask will as soon as once more look to be taught the whole lot he can in a backup capability.

There are two issues to notice with how occasions have unfolded within the offseason associated to Trask. The primary is that when Brady initially retired, the Bucs didn’t go all-in on Trask because the starter. As an alternative, they publicly praised his skills whereas acknowledging that they have been taking a look at all choices. Secondly, when Brady did return, the crew nonetheless made positive to re-sign Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert and Trask are set to battle all through coaching camp for the first backup job, however the veteran is the incumbent.

Preferrred development for Trask will likely be beating out Gabbert for QB2. Hopefully Trask can finally transfer into the starter function when Brady is gone. However the subsequent step in his evolution is clearly successful the No. 2 job. If Trask can try this, he’ll be on the timeline the Bucs envisioned for him on draft day.

Decide 95: IOL Robert Hainsey

Bucs C Robert Hainsey

Bucs C Robert Hainsey – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

Hainsey profiled as so many Bucs offensive line draft picks earlier than him. An OT in faculty, the Bucs noticed him shifting to an IOL place on the NFL stage. This transition was at all times going to require time for Hainsey to be taught a brand new place. In spite of everything, Hainsey took all his faculty snaps at proper deal with. Additionally, the 23-year previous would want to rework his physique and add appreciable muscle.

The plan was for Hainsey to spend the 12 months as a backup. In fact, the Bucs gave him enjoying time late in video games throughout blowouts too, and Hainsey carried out properly. Lengthy-term, Hainsey is at worse a utility backup offensive lineman for the crew At finest, the workhorse lineman would step right into a beginning function, particularly with Ali Marpet retiring.

Re-Evaluating the Draft Decide

The Bucs did lose Alex Cappa to free company this 12 months, however they have been in a position to re-sign Ryan Jensen. The crew was additionally in a position to substitute Cappa by buying and selling for Shaq Mason. What they most likely didn’t foresee this time final 12 months was the eventual retirement of Marpet. That has left a void that at the moment may be stuffed by various inside choices. These choices embrace Hainsey. Hainsey might want to beat out a few former UDFAs in Aaron Stinnie and Nick Leverett.

As a top-100 choose, Hainsey ought to win the competitors. If he doesn’t, this choose will begin to appear to be one which isn’t understanding as deliberate.

Decide 129: WR Jaelon Darden

Bucs WR-KR Jaelon Darden

Bucs WR-KR Jaelon Darden – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs noticed a playmaker who might have an effect on two completely different phases of the sport once they traded as much as draft Darden within the 4th spherical final 12 months. Seen as an explosive risk with the ball in his arms, Tampa Bay hoped he might convey a component of YAC that the majority of their receiving room lacked. Most significantly,  the Bucs hoped that his playmaking skill would translate to the return recreation immediately.

Re-Evaluating the Draft Decide

12 months one didn’t go as deliberate for Darden. In restricted alternatives, he was unable to carve out a constant function late within the season within the crew’s depleted huge receiver room. On particular groups, Darden upset, averaging 19.9 yards per kick return and seven.5 yards per punt return for the season. Taking out a season-high lengthy of 43 yards, that punt return common would have cratered to a 5.5 common. Darden constantly misplaced his footing after fielding a punt, usually falling to the bottom earlier than any contact.

Darden’s struggles could make sure that he has no pre-determined function with the crew in 2022. Whereas his draft standing could give him a roster spot for at the least yet another season, Darden will compete with Scotty Miller, Cyril Grayson Jr, Tyler Johnson and Breshad Perriman for the crew’s WR4/5 spots.

Decide 176: LB KJ Britt

Bucs ILB K.J. Britt draft

Bucs ILB Okay.J. Britt – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

KJ Britt profiled as a hard-hitting, run-stuffing off-ball linebacker that the Bucs hoped might assistance on particular groups in 2021. Ideally, Britt will grow to be an honest starter, however extra probably a No. 3 linebacker for Tampa Bay.

Re-Evaluating the Draft Decide

This one went just about in keeping with plan in 2021. Britt logged snaps in 5 of the six particular groups models for the season, whereas totaling an total particular groups grade of 68.6 for the season per PFF.

Britt additionally performed 28 snaps on protection. He’s at the moment slotted because the crew’s No. 3 linebacker. Given his lack of draft pedigree and restricted publicity final 12 months, the best expectations for Britt shifting ahead is that he generally is a competent backup and a particular groups ace.

Decide 251: CB Chris Wilcox

Bucs CB Chris WIlcox draft

Bucs CB Chris WIlcox – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

Wilcox was drafted as a possible depth piece to a unit that might see loads of change over the following two seasons. CB1 Carlton Davis was in a contract 12 months, with Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean solely a 12 months behind him. Wilcox confirmed some traits that the Bucs regarded for in corners. He was tall (6-2) and quick. The Bucs hoped he might spend 12 months one growing as a back-of-the-roster or follow squad participant.

Re-Evaluating the Draft Decide

Wilcox was waived on August 31st. The Bucs might have added him to the crew’s follow squad. Nevertheless, the Indianapolis Colts claimed Wilcox off of waivers. Two weeks later, the Colts have been in a position to go him by way of waivers and signal him to their follow squad. Wilcox stays part of Indianapolis’ group.

Decide 259: LB Grant Stuard

Bucs LB Grant Stuard draft

Bucs LB Grant Stuard – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

Mr. Irrelevant was drafted by the Bucs with the first intention of boosting the crew’s struggling particular groups. As somebody who constantly performed each snap at 110 p.c, the Bucs noticed somebody who might convey a mentality to the third part of the sport the crew desperately wanted. Ultimately, possibly Stuard might grow to be a top quality linebacker. However that wasn’t the driving drive behind the crew choosing him.

Re-Evaluating the Draft Decide

Contemplating he was the final choose within the draft, the number of Stuard has already been a transparent success. Final 12 months, Stuard logged over 300 snaps on particular groups. He shortly turned the crew’s finest cowl man with a team-high 8 tackles. Stuard even performed virtually as a lot on protection as Britt, with barely higher outcomes. He ought to be a lock to make the crew as a consequence of his particular groups play.

General 2021 Draft Evaluation

Seven picks. Seven plans of growth. 5 are at the moment on the correct trajectory based mostly on the crew’s unique thought course of. Thus far, there isn’t any motive to view this draft as a disappointment. It’s progressing virtually precisely because the group hoped.

Will the play of Tryon-Shoyinka, Hainsey and Darden, with large alternatives this season, inform our eventual grade on this class? Sure, completely. However wanting by way of the prism of the philosophy itself, final 12 months’s draft is understanding in keeping with plan…thus far.


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