Time To Grade The Bucs

April 27th, 2020

The 2020 NFL draft is over. Now it’s time to add up the grades.

Joe decided to do some surfing last night to see how various outlets ranked the Bucs’ picks.

Hayden Winks, Rotoworld

To guarantee Tom Brady was going to be protected, the Bucs moved up one spot for Wirfs, my OT2. The Iowa alum has experience at both tackle spots and at guard, so he’ll assuredly have a starting spot immediately while the Bucs chase their one-year window for a Super Bowl… Winfield will help that young Bucs secondary that struggled covering tight ends and deep balls last season. The Minnesota product has high-end ball skills and instincts as a free safety. This was a solid pick… Vaughn certainly fills a need and will push Ronald Jones for the starting job, but he is a very replaceable-level prospect with 41st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.51 forty). Not many quality NFL starters played at Illinois or Vanderbilt either. My concerns, however, probably won’t matter in this stacked offense.

Grade: B+

Chad Reuter, NFL.com

The Buccaneers didn’t fool around in trying to get Tom Brady the best right tackle they could, trading up one spot in the first round to secure Wirfs. Winfield should become a playmaker in the secondary while Vaughn should develop into a solid running back — even if he was maybe picked one round too early. Despite possessing just average athleticism, Johnson was a big-time producer for Golden Gophers, even earning MVP honors in the Outback Bowl. Davis is an active and athletic backup for 2018 first-rounder Vita Vea. Don’t blink when Calais gets the ball, as he has the speed to run by guys (4.42 40) and isn’t afraid to initiate contact. GM Jason Licht will scour his list of top undrafted free agents for young pass rusher depth.

Grade: B+

Nate Davis, USA Today

They continued to aggressively dedicate their resources to a Super Bowl-or-bust effort for newly signed QB Tom Brady. First-round OT Tristan Wirfs, third-round RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn and a fourth-round pick spent on TE Rob Gronkowski promise to pay immediate dividends. However the best value pick of GM Jason Licht’s weekend is arguably second-round S Antoine Winfield Jr.

Grade: B.

Walter Football

It’s unbelievable that the Buccaneers were able to obtain Tristan Wirfs at No. 13 overall. Wirfs was one argument away from being the fourth pick in the draft, and yet he somehow slipped all the way down to Tampa in the early teens. That’s crazy, but the Buccaneers won’t be complaining. They obtained a huge upgrade at right tackle to help protect Tom Brady.

The good fortune didn’t end there. The Buccaneers landed another steal at No. 45 when Antoine Winfield Jr. fell to them. Winfield is an excellent safety prospect who could have been chosen in the first round without any complaints. It would be odd to see him slip to the middle of second frame, but all of the safeties fell. Nevertheless, Tampa managed to find another big upgrade. Tampa Bay waited until the third round to find its running back. Ke’Shawn Vaughn was a solid pick, as was fifth-rounder Tyler Johnson, who will provide some needed depth at receiver in the wake of Breshad Perriman’s departure.

The Buccaneers had a tremendous draft overall. They were already enjoying an unreal offseason in which they landed two future Hall of Famers, and now they have a great draft class to complement Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

Grade: A.

Andy Benoit, SI.com

If you’re going to invest in a 42-year-old Tom Brady, you need to fill your glaring hole at right tackle. Insert Tristan Wirfs, who was an efficient, compact starting right tackle for three years at Iowa. Though his measurables are mostly normal—he’s nearly 6′ 5″ and has 34-inch arms—some feel that Wirfs’s playing style is better suited for the guard position. That’s an unlikely move for the Bucs, who have a quality left guard in Ali Marpet and spent a third-rounder on right guard Alex Cappa in 2018. Consider this a straightforward, value-needed selection.

It was a little surprising the Bucs did not look for wide receiver depth until the fifth round (Tyler Johnson), which suggests they must really like third-round back Ke’Shawn Vaughn. He was a straightforward, one-path runner at Vanderbilt, which means the Bucs see him as a base down player. Is he here to add backfield depth? Or does Tampa Bay’s brass envision Vaughn challenging Ronald Jones?

The defense did not have many needs, but Antoine Winfield Jr. was a good pick. Safeties are important in defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’s scheme. Incumbent 2017 second-rounder Justin Evans flashed decent range in 2018 but spent last season on IR. Versatile 2019 third-round pick Mike Edwards is intriguing, but was taken off the field at times in passing situations. Jordan Whitehead, a fourth-rounder in 2018, has some coverage versatility and at times flashes good closing speed, but he can’t quite be viewed as a cornerstone starter at this point. By drafting Winfield, the Bucs—theoretically—stabilize one safety spot, which, given their decent options in the players outlined above, makes it easier to stabilize the other safety spot.

Grade: A-

Mel Kiper, BSPN

If you look at the Bucs’ depth chart, it’s remarkably similar to the 2019 team. They have had very little turnover … except for two massive additions at quarterback and tight end. So for a 7-9 team that thinks it is now a Super Bowl contender, the draft was extremely important. General manager Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians needed to find instant-impact players with their first two picks. The result? Two prospects I really like, one who will help protect Tom Brady (and allow Rob Gronkowski to run a few more routes) and another who could be a Swiss Army knife in the secondary.

Tampa traded up one spot to make sure it got offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (13) — it had to throw in a fourth-rounder to move — and I love the fit. Wirfs played both left and right tackle at Iowa, and I expect him to have a long career. This was the biggest hole on the roster, and don’t forget that Brady, who turns 43 in August, really struggled under pressure last season, completing just 32% of his passes under duress, which ranked 30th in the NFL. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (45) is only 5-foot-9, but he just makes plays. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can use him as a deep safety, as a slot corner or even down closer to the line of scrimmage.

I had running back as a need for the Bucs, and they picked up Ke’Shawn Vaughn (76), but I liked Zack Moss more. Tyler Johnson (161) is an inconsistent wide receiver, and I don’t see how he helps them anytime soon. The Bucs have missed the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, the second-longest active drought in the NFL. They didn’t have much depth here, but they got two good players at the top.

Grade: B.

53 Responses to “Time To Grade The Bucs”

  1. adam from ny Says:

    adam from new york give the draft:


  2. ©MadMax Says:

    A- for me….still not so sure about spending a 3rd on Vaughn when Moss was still there. But maybe he’s a better pass blocker. I dont know. Nothing about him really jumped out at me when I reviewed his film. Seems like a great guy though and ready to get to work, seems happy we drafted him.

  3. Bucs Guy Says:

    B+ for the players, D for the GM. Didn’t get a trade done for OJ so there was no extra day 2 pick. As a result, we took S during the run on RBs so we settled for lesser talent in the 3rd. Same thing happened when there was a run on DTs in the 3rd and we settled for lesser talent in the 6th. Also he didn’t trade for Trent Williams. Should have traded D Smithand a pick this year or next for him. 49ers got a steal.

    Light unneccesarily traded our 4th rd picks for Gronk and moving up 1 position in the first. We needed at least one of these in the 4thor to move up in the 3rd. While not part of the draft, the Gronk deal put us $4.6M over the cap. Maybe a D grade is too generous.

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    Good draft, got some needed pieces in there. Everyone had OL, S, and RB as needs and we filled them.
    Nobody will ever be 100% happy with the draft. Welcome to being a fan.

  5. Bucs Guy Says:

    My mistake, according to Spotrac the Bucs are only $3.75M over the cap because of the 7th rd picks instead of the 4th rd picks. So if the Bucs release or trade OJ ($3.9M) they will be just under the cap with no room to sign additional FAs cut by other teams unless the Bucs make more cuts.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    I agree with Adam … B+. Wirfs is an A+ in my book. Winfield Jr & Vaughn will surely both see plenty of playing time, but I’m still not convinced either is THE ANSWER … Winfield because of his size (5’9″) going up against monster WRs & TEs, and Vaughn because he looks to be a better pass-blocking version of RoJo. I’m still not sure what we got further down the draft, but I see what we DIDN’T get … a pass rusher. Hopefully we find a diamond in the rough (like Nassib was) among the FAs still on the market.

  7. Hodad Says:

    I would’ve called the 49ers bluff, and if someone jumped ahead of us for Wirfs, I would’ve been more then happy to draft Kinlaw. Think we should’ve done better at RB, and receiver, but give them a chance. Think Davis was a sneaky good pick where we got him. B grade.

  8. ElBajito43 Says:

    “””””The Bucs’ fear and panic worked in the 49ers’ favor. By moving down one spot, they acquired the asset required to move up later in the first round. “”””””””

    Great move TRASH LICHT! So sick of this guy. Cannot get out of his own way. Weak Duck 🦆 slob fatso. Leaving Jacob Eason and Jalen Hurts Jordan love all those guys could’ve been had. Take your Fn pick and draft a REAL QB PROJECT BACKUP not the lamo joke of backups you keep signing.

    WHERE WILL WE BE 2 yrs from now!!!! The opportunity of a lifetime for a young QB to learn situations sitting behind TB12 and practicing with him day in and day out!!! I’m sooo angry over this kinda crap

  9. ElBajito43 Says:


    thanks TRASH 🗑 LICHT



  10. Bucs Guy Says:

    Bucs won’t release OJ due to his $3.5M dead cap hit. So who gets cut? One potential candidate is Ryan Griffin or renegotiating deals with Gronk ($10M), Jensen ($10M), D Smith ($14.5M) and Gholston ($4.75M). No cap hit with the Griffin release.

    I vote you start with Gronk as he’s not even close to being worth $10M. Maybe $6-7M. Brate gets paid $4.25M this year and $6.5M next year for comparison.

  11. Bucs Guy Says:

    Didn’t need a QB in the draft. Developmental day 3 QBs never work. Name 1 that became an 8-10 year starter in the last 20+ years — other than Brady. Love, Eason and Fromm will never be long term starters. Hurt maybe, but the Bucs couldn’t afford a 2nd rd pick to draft him.

    Bucs need to go all in for a QB in the 2021 draft. Maybe even consider using both the 2021 and 2022 1st rd picks to get a QB. You don’t need to sit for 2years behind Brady. One year is sufficient.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Considering we spend a 4th on Gronk & used our other one to secure Wirfs the draft went very well.
    There seems to be a consensus on the Wirfs, Winfield & Johnson picks as being very good picks.

    No amount of debate can satisfy those who valued RB above Safety and wanted a RB in round 2…..

    Initially, I was one of those but I’m willing to see how well Vaughn does.

    He played behind the worst run-blocking Oline in the FBS…(WORST) and he ran for 130 yards on 20 carries (6.5) vs LSU (natl. champs)

    Lets give him a chance.


  13. Darin Says:

    Lol. Bajito needs some sleep. Its a game by game league. Dont worry so much about a few years from now. They’re trying to win the next game. He drafts a qb high it’ll be for the next gm. Cant blame him for that.
    And BucsGuy. Dont worry about the cap. Ever seen the saints keep adding pro bowlers while they’re over the cap? Its easy to get under the cap they say. Just gota get a good accountant

  14. D-Rome Says:

    After all of these off season acquisitions via free agency and trade I’m left wondering what would be the most Buc thing ever to happen to the 2020 team.

    I think for me it’s Saints vs. Bucs and on the first drive Brady ruptures an achilles and is done for the season. Saints get the ball back and Sean Payton features a new formation in his offense where Jameis Winston, Drew Brees, and Taysom Hill are all on the field. They run the Benn’d Around except this time Winston throws a TD pass to Brees.

    I’ve been a Bucs fan for a long time and while I am very happy with the off season so far I find myself expecting the worst.

  15. Afo Says:

    A- for me

  16. Allbuccedup Says:

    If they can’t find a trade partner for Howard they will just release Tanner Hudson and Jordan Leggett they hardly ever play anyway. That saves 1.575 mil almost as much as they would get trading Howard. Look for something to happen this week when Howard option year deadline comes up. If they can get Gronk to commit to a 2 year contract I don’t see them exercising Howards option.

  17. Sarasota Garey Says:

    Are we getting any more free agents?

  18. Bird Says:

    I think the RB Vaughn pick kept them from a higher grade

    Almost every write up said he was taken a round early
    ( however bucs didnt have a fourth so they didnt mess around with having to move up from later picks so they took in 3rd)

    All and all i was happy . 1st 2 picks sound like solid contributors
    5th round puck could be third receiver. I mean we may have the biggest basketball team at skilled positions in nfl.
    And the 7th round tarik cohen can return kicks so plus there

    Still not sure about running back Position being met when huge need

  19. DerrickBrooksGOATLB Says:

    Wirfs & Winfield were the right choices and moves. Nobody here or anywhere else will convince me otherwise. A grade overall on those two – period.

    After that it gets a little murky. Not a huge Vaughn fan, but he does have some skills to compliment RoJo. Tyler Johnson is a big time playmaker. Would’ve preferred a downfield speed merchant to take safety coverage off Evans/Godwin while Gronk works the middle but I do believe in him as a pro. Like we got a potential returner late. Rest were fine enough. B grade on these.

    Overall A- or B+ from me. No major complaints. Hated the idea of spending a pick on a QB and so so glad we didn’t. Licht’s job was to fill the biggest areas of need in this draft and not do anything overtly dumb like another kicker early so for that mission accomplished.

  20. Pa fan Says:

    Agree Drome. Im not smelling the roses like everyone else yet. Bad things always happen here. So either there will be no football this year due to covid or Brady goes down. Somehow someway Winston will come back to bite us too. Just wait. Those running their mouths please stop. Your bringing that bad mojo onto our team!

  21. Bird Says:

    What a loser ^^^^

  22. OneBuc55 Says:

    Definitely an A…

    Never we had a shot at Wirfs, many had him rated as a top 10 prospect…I wanted Winfield the whole time; he’s an Honey badger type of player…Vaughn wasn’t the flashy pick that everybody wanted but he’s a good solid RB that produced in a tough conference without much talent around him…Loved the Tyler Johnson pick… he’s a very polished receiver; PJ Fleck is on of the best in the business…Kahlil Davis fits this defense perfectly and both of our 7th round pick have a shot to make our football team….

    Good job Licht…I have to admit that his last 2 drafts have been arguably his best

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    @Bucs Guy … “according to Spotrac the Bucs are only $3.75M over the cap”. Actually we’re in better shape than that right now with a PLUS $752,196 salary Cap. The Top-4 draft picks will replace the Bottom-4 players currently in the Top-51 (the remaining 3 draft picks won’t make enough to displace anyone, even if they make the team).

    We MIGHT even be a little better off than that, even without any contract restructurings. Fact is we won’t be keeping all of the current Top-51 players because we have an overabundance right now in several position groups. TEs are a good example: we’re carrying 6 TEs right now, with the lowest paid coming in at $825K & $750K (all 6 TEs fall in the Top-51). Doubt we’d carry more than 4 TEs, so two have to drop off & would most likely be filled by players in other position groups making less than they were (unless we sign additional FAs).

    Only point being, salary Cap doesn’t mean all THAT much until the season starts and the final roster is solidified. It obviously does impact our flexibility to add FAs, but as we saw with Gronk, if you want something bad enough … yada, yada.

  24. martinii Says:

    I took one posters advice and downed a Xanax after the Buc’s passed on Ackers and Dobbins. All Iv’e heard all offseason (or for that matter the past 3 years) was the need for a running game. After a day or so of brooding I decided that adding another DB in the early rounds has become a tradition in the Licht era. In all honesty however I didn’t see the Vaughn pick coming. A scout must have secretly hung out with him the entire offseason to lobby for a 3rd round pick. We will see next year and I still dare anyone to bitch if Ackers or Dobbins put up all pro performances. Other than Wirfs and a passing curiosity about WR Tyler Johnson the entire offseason for me centered around Brady and Gronk. C-

  25. Jason Says:

    Can’t really grade a draft until at least 4 years after. So about that 2016 draft grade…

  26. martinii Says:

    P.S. I was also impressed by the ability to maintain the core of our defensive line. Just wish we could have acquired another pass-rusher…….

  27. Casual Observer Says:

    We all guess, of course. But I”ll grade an A. I think Vaughn will pleasantly surprise.

  28. Afo Says:

    Everybody are positive but some of the FSU fans are negative for getting rid of a turnover machine.

  29. Afo Says:

    Pa Fan, why don’t you go to saint or Pat fan base and be spitting this thrash, imagine as a fan and you’re praying your quarterback get injured in week 1, are you dumb ? Or just looking for attention? Most of you saying 49iers used Bucs how will you feel if a team trade with 49ers and grab the Wirfs in front of us? You’ll be blaming Wirfs and BA again right ? Even if we trade for Mahommes or Watson you’ll still be better it’s not to late to find a new team to support and stop all this negative talk, your boy is the third string quarterback in Saints. Wish him best of luck if he’ll see the field.

  30. ElBajito43 Says:

    Licht is never gonna be a GM anywhere else after he is fired from Tampa Bay, why is it people sta you don’t need a QB and all this later round QBs don’t work well a couple guyz I can think of rn just off the top

    Dak Prescott…… not bad for an unexpected later pick???

    Nobody can say Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason will be good or bad but the talent and potential is there. You are gonna tell me that when the Bucs let Eason go and continue to drop and drop while they did nothing and picked up a RB that will be in the XFL it’s a good job???

    Why not grab Jalen Hurts like Philly.

    Nope…. they just want an insurance policy! Any QB can get injured at any time ala BREES last yr and BridgeWateredDown comes in.

    GTFOH with the BS about we don’t need a QB when your starter is 43 yrs old my goodness gracious Jimminy John Gruden christmas 🎄
    For the Love of Duece Gruden’s Bench Press!!!
    Why draft this way!!!!! Why oh lord plz tell me when oh when will LICHTENSTEIN be gone????

  31. Afo Says:

    Pa Fan, why don’t you go to saint or Pat fan base and be spitting this thrash, imagine as a fan and you’re praying your quarterback get injured in week 1, are you dumb ? Or just looking for attention? Most of you saying 49iers used Bucs how will you feel if a team trade with 49ers and grab the Wirfs in front of us? You’ll be blaming Wirfs and BA again right ? Even if we trade for Mahommes or Watson you’ll still be better it’s not to late to find a new team to support and stop all this negative talk, your boy is the third string quarterback in Saints. Wish him best of luck if he’ll see the field. )

  32. westernbuc Says:

    I’m not convinced the Bucs had to give up a 4th to move up one slot. And when a lot of people are projecting Wirfs to be a guard, that makes me nervous. I mean unless they plan on moving Cappa out to right tackle or something.

    Honestly I hope they restructure Gronk’s deal. We need cap room

  33. ItzOK Says:

    How can every team get an A or B on their draft grades. Lets be real the Bucs draft is a C. Itz Average they tried to fill three needs with their three premium picks. They did that. Licht fell for the Lynch’s Turbisky. I’d say nothing rally special, as I felt Wirfs can’t play tackle and is a guard , Winfield may be a steal I love his playmaking potential, hopefully the RB can contribute and is smart enough to pass protect. Nothing really special about the draft although I may give Licht a B since he didn’t draft a kicker. The 5th, 6th and 7th rounders are all just luck. Maybe one of these guys will make the team.

  34. Ocala Says:

    The Bucs have done an excellent job of handling the cap, but now is the time to convert some of the Bucs contracts with Evans, Marpet and Jansen into signing bonuses to spread their hit over several years.

    If the Bucs convert some of those salaries into signing bonuses they can then extend Godwin and David along with hopefully signing another reasonably priced veteran running back like Devante Freeman.

  35. adam from ny Says:

    i often post random sheet on random pages that don’t really address the actual post, but usually something relevant anyway…

    yesterday i posted about draft grades …i should have waited until today but i found it and am posting it below…again…

    i’m fairly pleased on paper and with filling needs, with our first 4 picks…

    after that, anything else is gravy…

    wirfs – A

    winfield – B+

    vaughn – B (fits the role needed nicely to go with brady- looks like a pats style back already)

    johnson – B+

    the 6th and 7th rounders are just gravy if they pan out, because with good scouting you can pick up a few good undrafted free agents that could have been drafted late anyway

  36. Casual Observer Says:

    They had to give up one of their 4’s to get Gronk. Does that count as part of a successful draft? I would add that to the list.

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Loved the first pick. After that was kind of wait and see.

    Winfield will have to prove himself against WRs who are a half foot taller. That’s right…half a foot!

    The rest also have a lot to prove.

    I’m happy with most of the positions, maybe not so much with some players.

    But then, a lot here hated last years draft and most of them turned out well, so I’m waiting to see.

  38. adam from ny Says:

    once again saying on the whole that it seems to be a B+ draft…

    which is good…

    we will see how it all pans out in 3 years

  39. Allbuccedup Says:

    B+ draft Vaughn was probably taken before Moss because Moss has an injury history. But then again so does Winfield.

  40. Joeypoppems Says:

    So, coming into the draft, I had a list of roles that I was hoping to see filled. They were:

    Starting RT
    Rotational DT
    3rd down RB
    Safety depth
    LB depth
    DL depth

    Almost all of those were filled.

    Tristan Wirfs – Starting RT
    Antoine Winfield Jr. – Starting Safety
    Ke’Shawn Vaughn – 3rd down RB
    Tyler Johnson – WR3
    Khalil Davis – DL depth
    Chappelle Russel -LB depth
    Raymond Calais – RB depth/Return man?

    I will give the draft a modest B+.

    Love the first 2 picks. Vaughn I didnt love at first but Im coming around on him. Tyler Johnson I believe can be the WR3 on the depth chart. The rest have a chance to stick as depth and special teamers.

  41. adam from ny Says:

    the late pics even seem good…

    except for the linebacker from temple…he’s slow…

    unless he potentially would fall into nassib’s role…

    i don’t think thats the case tho…

    the nebraska kid can hopefully replace bo allen…

    but who replaces nassib…?

    gotta still find a good end somewhere

    still i’m sitting tight at B+

  42. adam from ny Says:


    xanax and the draft = sleep on the couch…haha

    i drank some cigar city brews…

    jai alai and a good pale ale called guayabera…

    that guayabera has become a staple in my fridge…especially during the pandemic 🙂

  43. Canabuc Says:

    Nassib replacement was drafted last year. His physical near clone who hopefully now is no longer a rookie and healthy.

    Anthony Nelson

  44. Dapostman Says:

    Vaughn will be successful if the left side of the OL, Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder (Stir Crazy) start playing like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier (Defiant Ones).

    Running backs actually need guys to block.

  45. QUE589 Says:

    Grade (A). Wirfs a top OT prospect high level athlete, Winfield was best FS prospect in the draft multidimensional skill set. T. Johnson high level production. Vaughn all around solid RB & Calais elite RB speed. Five (5) prospects that’ll have immediate impact.

  46. Sumosam Says:

    I like our draft and what Jason Licht has done but the draft is over marketed. Forest Gump says its like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

  47. TOM Says:

    RD #1 A+ Rest of draft C-. Loser Licht did it again. He may be the worst GM the Bucs ever had.

  48. Al da pewter King Says:

    Maybe I’m just watching film like everyone else but vaughn looks explosive to me.

  49. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Lavonte David’s 40 at the Combine: 4.65
    Chapelle Russell’s 40 at the Combine: 4.69

    I wouldn’t say Russell is slow, but instincts are the key.

  50. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I give the Bucs a B+. Would’ve liked to keep that 4th Rounder, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

  51. 813bucboi Says:


    A- with a pass rusher….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  52. Mike Johnson Says:

    The Nun with the ruler reminds me of my ole days back at Tampa Catholic…long ago….

  53. Buczilla Says:

    Not addressing the running back position until round 3 and having to draft yet another defensive back because of previous failures are my only gripes. That said, I’ll still give us a B since Winfield has the potential to be a bad@ss and there have been plenty of running backs taken in the third round like Vaughn who go on to have good careers. As long as we sign a legit starting running back in free agency I will (most likely stupidly) forgive Licht for another year.