The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fresh off of a Super Bowl run after Tom Brady’s first year with the team. During free agency, they were able to keep all starting players on offense and defense, giving them hope of a repeat in 2021. Mel Kiper Jr. graded Tampa Bay’s draft as a B, but it is mostly because none of their picks will contribute as starters. The draft was more of an opportunity for the team to get younger to prepare for their future. This draft breakdown evaluates the quality of the Buccaneers selections and how impactful they will be for the team.
Round 1 – Joe Tryon, OLB, Washington
Tampa Bay targeted defense in the first round. Tryon is an explosive pass-rusher who had eight sacks in 2019 before opting out in 2020. He is fluid in his movements and has the versatility to play Todd Bowles’ defense. He has a variety of pass rush moves that make him difficult to block and his skillset allows him to be an early contributor. This was the biggest need for the team as William Gholston and Jason Pierre Paul will both be above 30 and free agents in 2022. They also lost depth at the position after the departure of Carl Nassib in free agency. Tryon is a depth piece for 2021, but could be the mainstay across from Shaquil Barrett, giving them a dynamic pass rush duo.
Round 2 – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
This selection was not a surprise. Tom Brady will be entering the 2021 season at age 44. Prior to the draft, their backup quarterbacks were Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin. Those guys might be serviceable replacements in a pinch, but they aren’t the future of the team. Kyle Trask is young, but he has potential to make this offense more dynamic. Trask may have been taken a round early though, since they had an opportunity to select a more athletic quarterback in Kellen Mond. Trask is mainly a developmental piece to learn behind Brady and is not expected to have significant play time soon. He has the strength to make every throw, but has to develop correct mechanics before elevating into a NFL starter.
Round 3 – Robert Hainsey, OT, Notre Dame
Hainsey was selected in the third round to add depth to Tampa Bay’s offensive line. He excels in a zone run scheme and powers defenders off the line. Hainsey was a consistent starter at tackle, but offers versatility at guard as well. Hainsey will be important and could fill the swing tackle role. The Bucs are looking to ensure consistency in their offensive line after their starting guard, Ali Marpet suffered an injury in 2020. He would serve as a backup not only at guard, but also at tackle since Joe Haeg departed this offseason.
Tampa Bay did not have any big name selections in the draft, but they all serve a key purpose. They used their picks to add depth in every phase of the game with their later round picks being mostly for special teams. The team did not have many holes initially and will see a benefit from getting younger at certain positions. Even after re-signing Leonard Fournette, their biggest improvement area was the production from pass catchers out of the backfield. They then satisfied that need by signing free agent Giovani Bernard. The Bucs are clear Super Bowl front runners and are looking to hold the throne in the NFC South.