Buccaneers Draft Analysis
Published by Michael Garrity
This article will contain a pick-by-pick analysis of the Buccaneers draft selections in 2020.
Round 1, Pick 13- Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
I think I can speak for many people when I say I did NOT expect Wirfs to fall this low. Many mock drafts had him going to the Giants at four or somewhere in the top 10, including mine. The Bucs made a great decision to trade up a spot and get their guy, as he was my favorite Offensive Tackle in this draft class. Wirfs was the definition of a dominant player in his junior year at Iowa. He was the focal point of the Iowa Offensive Line, and led the Hawkeyes to a 10-3 record. Wirfs earned the Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the Year award, was a First-Team Big 10 selection, and was named to the 2019 All American First-Team. Wirfs should start at either LT or RT immediately in his rookie year. The Buccaneers should be extremely pleased with this pick, as should Tom Brady!
Round 2, Pick 45- Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
The Buccaneers addressed a massive hole in their secondary, particularly at safety. With Justin Evans spending last season on IR, and Mike Edwards being unreliable in pass coverage, Winfield could see a starting role early on in his rookie season. The 5’10” DB was a game changing player last season for Minnesota, as he led the team with 88 TOT tackles. He was also a 2019 All American First-Team selection, and was the Big 10 DB of the Year. Tampa Bay is getting a reliable safety in Winfield that will automatically improve the Buccaneers weak secondary.
Round 3, Pick 76- Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt
The only hole in the Buccaneers offense is their run game, and I’m still unsure if Vaughn is the answer. He was a solid player for Vanderbilt, as rushed for 2,387 yards in two seasons, and was the third RB in Vanderbilt history to record multiple 1,000+ rushing yard seasons. Vaughn will most likely challenge current Buccaneer RB, Ronald Jones, for the lead role. Jones rushed for 700 yards and six touchdowns last season, as well as averaging 4.2 YPC. Jones is only two seasons into his NFL career, and he definitely doesn’t want to lose the main role to a rookie. With this being said, the Buccaneers are a pass first team. Last season, Tampa had the 7th highest pass play percentage in the NFL (62.34%). That number could go down this season with the new QB situation, but Brady is going to use his wideout weapons as much as he can. I think Tampa Bay should have used this pick to strengthen their secondary, as that is the weakest part of their team. Vaughn wasn’t even the best back available on the board, as Zack Moss was still up for grabs. In the end, Vaughn can provide depth at the RB position, and could turn into a base down back in the future
Round 5, Pick 161- Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
The Buccaneers draft another quality player from Minnesota in Tyler Johnson. This was one of my favorite picks by Tampa Bay in their draft class. Johnson had an unbelievable senior season, as he ended his four year career with the Gophers with 1,318 receiving yards and thirteen receiving touchdowns. He was an All Big Ten First-Team selection, as well as a Bruce Smith award winner (Best Offensive player). In four years at Minnesota, Johnson broke a whopping 22 school records. He will go down as one of the best players in Minnesota football history. As for his current situation on the Buccaneers, it won’t be easy getting playing time. Johnson will sit behind All-Pro wideouts in Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans in his rookie season. However, if one of them comes down with an injury, he will be the next man up. Johnson will make this already great receiving corp even better, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Round 6, Pick 194- Khalil Davis, DL, Nebraska
The Buccaneers added more depth to their front seven with Defensive Lineman Khalil Davis. Davis was a force on the Nebraska D-line in 2019, in which he had a career-high 45 tackles, eight sacks, and 12.5 TFL. Davis will unlikely see any starts this season, as the Bucs D-line is among the best in the league. Opponents averaged 3.3 YPC when facing the Buccaneers, which ranks lowest in the league. I expect Davis to sit behind current starter, Vita Vea, for the majority of his rookie season. Davis has the talent and ability to start at some point in his career, just not right now.
Round 7, Pick 241- Chapelle Russell, LB, Temple
This was a good pick for the Buccaneers. Russell was a solid player for Temple, and was a force to be reckoned with in stopping the run game. Russell will be far down on the depth chart, and in some ways that can be a good thing. He can take time to develop his game, and learn from players such as Lavonte David, Shaquil Barrett, and Devin White. Russell could surprise a lot of people down the road.
Round 7, Pick 245- Raymond Calais, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette
This was my least favorite pick of the Buccaneers draft. Tampa Bay drafted another Running Back after taking one in the third round (Ke’Shawn Vaughn). Calais made more of an impact as a return specialist than a Running back at Louisiana Lafayette, as he was named to the First-Team All Sun Belt conference as a kick returner. Calais won’t see any playing time in his rookie year, as he is the last option on the depth chart. This pick was unnecessary, and I think the Buccaneers can have drafted at other positions, such as CB.
If I were the Buccaneers front office, I would be pleased with this draft. They got future stars in Wirfs and Winfield, addressed their weak run game with two backs in Vaughn and Calais, added depth on defense in Russell and Davis, and found a hidden gem in the 5th round with Tyler Johnson. Lets not forget, the Buccaneers traded a fourth round pick for a healthy, 31 year old Tight End that came out of retirement, Rob Gronkowski. With this draft class, the new addition to Brady’s offense, and improved defense, the Buccaneers will be must see TV in 2020.
Overall Grade: B+