Whew, another draft is in the books. With another draft over with, this is now the point of the offseason when it really starts to slow down. There just isn’t much to talk about anymore, Free Agency is long gone, the draft is now over and Training Camp doesn’t start until late July. So that is why this article is here, see after the draft, the only thing left to do is to look at what the team did and how you think those moves will shake out. The draft couldn’t have gone any better for the Bucs in terms of getting value with the trade down and all but did they pick the right players?
Round 1 Pick 12: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
When the Bucs selected Vita Vea, I am gonna be honest here, it shocked me. I thought that Derwin James was going to become a Buccaneer even before the Bucs traded down. So when they did trade down with the Bills, and James was there at 12 I thought it was a done deal. Jason Licht said not so fast. The Bucs made probably one of the more surprising picks of the 1st round (besides Seattle taking a RB projected in the 3rd round) by selecting Washington DT, Vita Vea. Now, I know some people were not happy with this pick and I understand the frustration, but this is not a bad pick at all. Vea is a athletic freak, at 6’4, 347 pounds, Vea moves like a Defensive End. He was a force to be reckoned with at Washington and I believe that continues in the NFL. I would have graded this a bit worse if the Bucs would’ve stayed at 7 and picked him, but since they gained some extra picks, it’s a good one.
Round 2 pick 38: Ronald Jones, RB, USC
Let me say it in the simplest way I know how to, the Buccaneers needed a running back. They have needed one for the past 2 seasons now and it was consistently ignored by the front office. There was no way Licht was going to ignore it again. With Saquon Barkley off the board before the Bucs picked at 7, he wasn’t an option, and with Nick Chubb getting picked at 35 by the Browns, he wasn’t an option. Derrius Guice seemed to be the best running back on the board after Barkley, most Bucs fans, myself included, wanted to see Guice in a Bucs uniform. However, reports came out of his off field issues so the Bucs steered away and picked a guy that many say is the next Jamaal Charles. Jones is a strong runner who doesn’t like to go down easily. He didn’t time well at all at the combine because he had a hamstring issue which he said is now fine and it showed when he ran a much faster time at his pro day. Everyone says he’s Jamaal Charles, but I see more Jay Ajayi in him. The Bucs could use a runner like that and I think they finally found their guy.
Round 2 pick 53: MJ Stewart, CB, UNC
This was probably my least favorite pick of this entire draft, but it’s a pick that I understand. Stewart is a very physical Corner and I think the Bucs liked him a lot because of his versatility. Stewart could play inside corner, or safety if you need him to. The reason it was my least favorite pick isn’t so much a knock on Stewart, it’s more of my liking of LSU cornerback Donte Jackson, who went 55th overall to the Panthers. I hope Stewart can turn out okay but for now I see him being the number 4 corner on the team this year.
Round 2 pick 63: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
We go from one of my least favorite picks, to one of my favorites. Davis is a tall, physical corner who is not afraid to rough it up. At 6’1, Davis the tallest corner the Buccaneers have on the roster. I’m not one of those people that hates the small corners, but having a taller player is a nice change of pace. Davis should come in and compete for the number 2 CB spot in training camp. I think Davis will be a Buc for a long time, good pick Mr Licht.
Round 3 pick 94: Alex Cappa, Guard/Tackle, Humboldt State
Well we knew Licht was going to do it and I think he did a really nice job with it. The “it” is referring to trading back into the 3rd round to get a player he really wants. Last year it was Kendall Beckwith, this year it was Alex Cappa. Cappa is gonna be a fan favorite pretty quickly. He is just a nasty lineman that wants to run your head into the ground on each play and that what the Bucs loved. Licht has also had succes going to small schools before (Ali Marpet) les hope this one turns out the way that one did.
Round 4 pick 117: Jordan Whitehead, Safety, Pittsburgh
Well the Bucs needed to address the safety position. After passing on guys like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin Ames, Justin Reid and others, it was time to get a safety and that is what the Bucs did. Whitehead is similar to Justin Evans. He’s a hard hitter who could use some coverage skills. Whitehead is undersized for a safety, but he plays bigger than he actually is. He’s not scared of anyone. If he can develop some decent coverage skills, I think the Bucs just found their guy to put next to Justin Evans.
Round 5 pick 144: Justin Watson, WR, Penn
The Bucs dipped into the small school pool again and selected a wide receiver?! I know what most Bucs fans are probably thinking, they are so deep at receiver, why take one? Well this is actually smart if Watson pans out. You see, Desean Jackson is not going to be here forever. I would be surprised if Jackson is here in 2019 based on how Godwin has played. So Evans and Godwin are your future, what does this have to do with Watson? Well, I believe Watson will replace Adam Humprhies next year and become the team’s number 3 WR. Watson is a real hard worker and catches almost anything thrown his way. He has a really good frame at 6’3. I think the Bucs got a steal here with Watson.
Round 6 pick 202: Jack Cichy, LB, Nebraska
The Bucs closed out their draft by picking a player at another position of strength for the team. Why do that? Well, depth is always nice. With injuries to Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander last year, depth is important. Cichy is a tackling machine, the only issue is that he seems to be injury prone. When healthy, he was one of the best linebackers in the draft, projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round. An ACL injury caused him to drop to the 6th round and right to the Bucs. If Cichy can stay healthy, there is no reason to think he won’t make the team.
This was probably one of Jason Licht’s best drafts. He turned two picks in the top 100 into five. He also addressed a lot of the needs on this team. All of these draft picks have real potential to make the team this year. I really liked this draft, I just wished that at some spots it would’ve been a different player but there are no picks that I felt were bad. Well done Mr Licht, well done.