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 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Review


Team Needs: CB DE OT S






Selections:


Rd 1. 11 Vernon Hargreaves CB Florida

Rd 2. 39 Noah Spence DE Eastern Kentucky

Rd 2. 61 Robert Aguayo K Florida State

Rd 4. 108 Ryan Smith CB North Carolina Central

Rd 5. 148 Caleb Benenoch OT UCLA

Rd 6. 183 Devonte Bond OLB Oklahoma

Rd 6. 237 Dan Vitale FB Northwestern



Recap:

The Buccaneers hit in the draft last year with Jamiese Winston, and then promptly fired Head Coach Lovie Smith in order to promote Dirk Koetter. Tampa had a better than expected offense in 2015 behind a resurgent Doug Martin and Winston but their defense was terrible, a big reason why Smith was fired. Vernon Hargreaves should help solidify the team’s pass defense for a long time. Despite less than ideal size, Hargreaves has the athleticism, physicality, and awareness to become a shutdown corner. His timely plays will also set the tone for a defense lacking in leadership on the field. Noah Spence would have been a first round pick had he not gotten thrown out of Ohio State for off field concerns. He’s an elite pass rusher that still needs to refine his technique but he should combine with Hargreaves to make the Bucs pass defense much better. Robert Aguayo is a very good kicker, one of the best prospects ever, but he’s still a kicker. Taking him in the second round is hard enough to justify, trading up to get him is almost impossible to justify. Ryan Smith is an athletic small school cornerback with very good quickness and better than average ball skills. He can earn a job as a 4th or 5th cornerback right away and potentially move up the depth chart as age, injuries, and free agency come calling in future years. Caleb Benenoch is a versatile offensive lineman that is capable of being a 6th offensive lineman and playing at either guard or tackle spot in limited duty. He appears best suited as a long term back up for the team. Devonte Bond will need to make his mark on special teams but does show the ability to disrupt action that is in front of him. Vitale is a better receiver than anything else at this point but he could win a roster spot with a consistent camp.

Analysis:

  1. Tampa Bay was obviously not happy with their defense in recent years. Hargreaves and Spence should help each other by covering receivers longer and getting to the quarterback faster, respectively, thus closing the window that opponents have in the passing game. Smith is a nice developmental player at CB as well and Bond could be a key contributor in the future. Tampa Bay just added a lot of speed to an otherwise pedestrian defense.

  2. Taking a kicker in the second round suggests that the management in Tampa Bay thinks they are closer to being a playoff team than many others, me included, thinks they are. Aguayo should be a safe bet to stabilize the position but he’s still a kicker on a team that had a number of other needs. It’s difficult to like this pick.

  3. Tampa Bay is betting that Dirk Koetter can work wonders with their offense. Koetter has never really excelled as a head coach, or as a coordinator for the long term, so this is a bit of a gamble. While the Bucs gave him some tools to make the defense better, any step backwards in offensive production will destroy this team’s 2016 season though.

Grade: B-


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