Last season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an amazing rookie class. In all, 14 rookies finished on the Buccaneers final 53 man roster; the single most of any NFL team. Their contributions to the Buccaneers helped them finish with a surprising 10-6 record.
This off-season Tampa Bay looked to add to the momentum that they gained in 2010. But, did they? After the jump I will delve further into this.
1st Round, 20th Pick: DE- Adrian Clayborn Iowa
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 22 2010 Stats: 52 Tackles, 3.5 Sacks
Analysis: After going with two defensive tackles with their first two picks in 2010, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed the outside of their defensive line here in Adrian Clayborn. The former Iowa standout has proven that he can get to the QB, but as evidenced by his 3.5 sacks in 2010 it isn't consistent.
Clayborn is solid against the run and gets around blockers extremely well. However, he is going to have to smoothen up his technique in the NFL Grade: B
2nd Round, 51st Pick: DE- Da'Quan Bowers Clemson
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 17 2010 Stats: 67 Tackles, 15.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT
Analysis: One of the top five prospects heading up to the draft, serious injury concerns caused Bowers to fall to the 2nd round. In fact, some teams didn't even have Bowers on their draft board at all.
These injury concerns could mar what would have been an extensively solid NFL career for Bowers. Tampa Bay took a chance on him, and his health, but I am not sure if it will pay off. One thing is for sure, Bowers will have a short NFL career. It just depends on how productive he will be in that time that shows how this pick turned out. If I was Tampa Bay, I would have looked elsewhere Grade: B-
3rd Round, 84th Pick: LB- Mason Foster Washington
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 98 2010 Stats: 162 Tackles, 6.5 Sacks
Analysis: Tampa Bay really needed to address this position in the draft, and they did just that with Mason Foster. Eye popping numbers aside, Foster is a real solid LB and has a chance to be extremely productive if put in the right position.
Some had Mason Foster as a MLB in the NFL, others as an OLB. In Tampa Bay's 4-3 scheme I would have to conclude that he will play on the outside. Dekoda Watson and Geno Hayes are nice options for Tampa Bay at this position, but I am not entirely sold on either as starter caliber players in the NFL. Bringing in Foster enables to Buccaneers to add competition Grade: A
4th Round, 104th Pick: TE- Luke Stocker Tennessee
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 91 2010 Stats: 39 Receptions, 417 Yards, 2 TD
Analysis: While this wasn't the largest need for Tampa Bay considering that they have Kellen Winslow Jr, it makes sense to give Josh Freeman some more toys to play with. Stocker is a big weapon at 6 foot 6 inches and should provide Freeman with a nice target.
His stats were not that great at Tennessee, but Stocker has shown the ability to get separation from opposing defenders, has soft hands and is an elite athlete. Sometimes, you just have to look past the stats for a second because they can be mis-leading. Grade: A
5th Round, 151st Pick: S- Ahmad Black Florida
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 125 2010 Stats: 109 Tackles, 5 INT, 1 Sack, 2 FF, 1 TD
Analysis: I absolutely love the pick of Black in the 5th round. Tampa Bay got value and need with this pick; you cannot ask for much more in the later rounds. Corey Lynch and Sean Jones probably will not be the long term answers for Tampa Bay. I mostly have a concern with how Lynch will produce moving forward. Black could come in an fill an immediate need in 2011.
Black may be forced to move to corner because of his lack of size, under 6 feet; at least that is what some skeptics are saying. However, I envision him being a solid starting safety in the NFL because of his ability to lay receivers out and read the field Grade: A
6th Round, 187th Pick: RB- Allen Bradford Southern California
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 305 2010 Stats: 794 Rush Yards, 7.2 AVG, 5 TD
Analysis: This is a pick that just didn't make sense to me. I understand that Tampa Bay wants to find someone to spell LaGerrette Blount, but I don't think Bradford is the answer. It just seems that they had better options at RB in the 6th round than Bradford.
Bradford doesn't have the vision to be a successful RB in the NFL. He runs too far from the ground, lacks creativity in the open field and is not a good pass blocker. I could be wrong, but there were about 10 other RBs that I would have looked for in the 6th over Bradford. Grade: D
7th Round, 222nd Pick: CB- Anthony Gaitor Florida International
CBS Sports Line Ranking: N/A 2010 Stats: 50 Tackles, 2 INT, TD
Analysis: Another pick that had be questioning what the Buccaneers were doing. Listed, I understand that it is the 7th round, but you can still find value there. As was the case with the 49ers and Curtis Holcomb, Tampa Bay pretty much drafted a player they could have signed off of the street. Grade: D
7th Round, 238th Pick: TE- Daniel Hardy Idaho
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 338 2010 Stats: 32 Receptions, 545 Yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Not too familiar with Hardy, but from what I have read he is a hard worker that utilizes his body well in traffic. You are probably looking at a practice squad or special teams player in Hardy moving forward. Right now, he would be the Buccaneers #4 tight end. Grade: INC
Synopsis: You are not going to see me grade the Buccaneers down because of a couple bad later round picks or the fact that they took a chance on Bowers; someone had to. Tampa Bay did address some real needs in this draft, especially with Clayborn, Foster and Black. On that note, I also like that they went for value with Stocker in the 4th round, he is a real talent.
This is one of the up and coming teams that we talk about in terms of the NFL. Regardless of how the rest of the off-season plays out Tampa Bay will compete with both the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons in the ultra competitive NFC South.
Adding this talent to a team that already has Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount, Kellen Winslow Jr, Mike Williams, Dezmon Briscoe, Gerald McCoy and Barret Ruud means that Tampa Bay will not be a team to miss with over the course of the next few seasons. Final Grade: B