Grades The Rookies

February 24th, 2022


Remember, Bucs fans: Tampa Bay selected No. 32 overall, last in the NFL draft. That’s the penance the team paid for winning the Super Bowl a year ago.

More than a fair trade in Joe’s eyes. But because of this low seeding, the Bucs were at a disadvantage in the draft. So it really isn’t a shock that after one season, Nick Shook of graded the Bucs’ 2021 draft class with a “C,” worst in the NFC South.

Tryon-Shoyinka played a rotational role as an edge rusher slotted behind Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett, but flashed potential of becoming a productive full-time starter in the future. Even though he didn’t pop as much as some other first-rounders, he was Tampa’s best pick by a long shot. Everyone knew Trask’s role as soon as he was selected: a developmental pick made for long-term planning purposes who could spend time learning behind Tom Brady. With Brady now out of the picture, the window to truly assess the value of Trask’s selection is now open. Hainsey saw minimal action split between offense and special teams, but could end up proving to be more valuable depending on what happens with center Ryan Jensen, who is headed to free agency at 30 years old. Darden didn’t pay off as anticipated, serving primarily as a returner while other receivers (Cyril Grayson, Tyler Johnson, Breshad Perriman) received playing time ahead of him. Britt and Stuard spent most of their rookie campaigns on special teams, and Wilcox was released as part of final cuts before landing on the Colts’ practice squad.

The keys to this draft grade and the future potential of the draft class, Joe believes, will be Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Trask. JTS showed serious flashes but man did he vanish down the stretch. Joe has a hunch he hit a rookie wall (in part to sitting out the 2020 college season).

Trask? Nobody knows(though Joe knows there are folks out there convinced without a shadow of a doubt he will be the next Terry Bradshaw because… because… because… he beat Auburn).

Bucs retired (?) quarterback Tom Brady’s new employee, Hanoi Jane, could work a ouija board in her hammer-and-sickle-red-flag-decorated bedroom, and she would have just as good of a guess as anyone how Trask is or isn’t developing. No one not collecting a check from Team Glazer knows.

Jaelon Darden? He has a long way to go to demonstrate he belongs on an NFL team. Joe is still triggered in late February that Darden was hoisted and forced upon Bucs fans to return kicks and punts when he clearly wasn’t ready. That happened while a reliable return man like Jaydon Mickens was tossed to the curb along with the rest of the recyclable Big Storm beer cans and pizza boxes.

Right now, seventh-round pick Grant Stuard may be the best of the 2021 litter outside of JTS. He’s a man on special teams.

Let’s revisit this draft class in 2024 to have a better idea how it developed.

18 Responses to “ Grades The Rookies”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Can’t be worse than 2016……I agree that Hainsey may be the key……along with JTS.
    Haven’t given up on Darden…..we’ll see…..

    You’ve got to believe that Licht, BA, BL Christensen, Moore & likely Brady saw something in Trask enough to pull the trigger late in the 2nd round….

    How can we either praise pr criticize Trask….after all…”HE hasn’t even taken a NFL snap in a regular season game”

  2. HC Grover Says:

    IMO/ Wild Man Stuard was the best pick so far. Darden and Plan 9 are rejects. Hainsey and Trask may come on and be worthy. With loss of Brady and the QB Blues we should go all out to build a killer defense that can score points. Our offense is going to be just regular this year no matter what they do..

  3. Ben green Says:

    It must’ve been a shock to the system. The bucs are usually drafting in the top ten. It’s obviously easier to land better players, with higher draft picks. After you get past fifteen, it’s almost like rolling dice. You will see draft picks becoming more and more devalued. The best way to draft with the 32nd pick is to take chances. Plenty of front end talent has been passed over by that point, so you’re taking a chance by half anyway.

  4. Bucamania Says:

    A ‘C’ grade is generous…

    JTS – B-
    Trask – ?
    Hainsey – ?
    Darden – F-
    Wilcox – F
    Britt – B
    Stuard – B+

  5. Jeff Says:

    Here comes Teddy B for $18million per year! Bucs trade Brady to SF for a 5th round pick.

  6. Coburn Says:

    Seeing ‘thr lion mane’ flying around on special teams brings a smile every time. Dude has a damn mane

  7. SB Says:

    “Trask? Nobody knows(though Joe knows there are folks out there convinced without a shadow of a doubt he will be the next Terry Bradshaw because… because… because… he beat Auburn).”


    How about only losing to Championship Alabama by two points because his kicker missed and EP and they had to go for two in the last few minutes of the game???
    How about only losing to Bama by 7 when NO TEAM in the nation lost to bama by less than 10 that yr???? How about beating Georgia????
    You need to stick with covering the Bucs because you don’t know JACKSH!T about college players. Just stick to waiting till they get to the NFL so you can judge them by your NARROW standards.
    Your disparaging of kids that have yet to get their shot is NAUSEATING!!!
    Just SAD by you JOE!

  8. Rod Munch Says:

    Even though he didn’t pop as much as some other first-rounders, he was Tampa’s best pick by a long shot.


    Tryon wasn’t a first round pick.

    For a 2nd rounder, however, I thought he did well, and I suspect he’ll have a good 2nd season, would approach double digit sacks, likely won’t get there, but I could see 8 or 9 sacks.

  9. Marine Buc Says:

    I believe a “C” grade is fair.

    JTS was a steal at #32. 4 sacks and 10 QB hits on just 49% of the snaps… Not bad for a rookie who had not played in a long time.

    Hainsey might be our starting center this season.

    Darden struggled this season but I expected him to. Lets see if he is able to make the leap.

    Trask is a big unknown right now. I would like to see KT get a ton of snaps this preseason. We won’t know what he is until we are able to gather more intel.

    Plus – we really were not looking for starters last year. The roster was already loaded at every position. We needed a rotational pass rusher and we got one.

    We drafted Trask because his performance in the SEC was outstanding. You can’t knock what he did at Florida his SR. year…

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    Marine Buc Says:
    February 24th, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    We drafted Trask because his performance in the SEC was outstanding. You can’t knock what he did at Florida his SR. year…


    But you can knock it by watching the tape and seeing those low velocity rainbows he threw, knowing they won’t translate to the NFL. The example I use, the one where I learned this lesson, was Danny Wuerffel. That’s who Trask reminds me of, and back in the 90s, I thought Wuerffel was going to be a good NFL passer. Who cares if he can’t throw with velocity, he can throw deep, put the ball on a dime, that’s all you need…. Well, I was very wrong on that. Turns out an NFL arm isn’t only about throwing it 60-yards, it’s doing so with velocity.

    In any case Trask has a big advantage over Wuerffel, and that’s his size, and the fact he does have a stronger arm. The issue is you have to reteach him how to throw an NFL ball, and that takes time. It’s why Trask, with his production and his size, basically lasted to the 3rd round, he’s a project player who has good college stats, but his college tape isn’t good at all from an NFL standpoint. But if the Bucs can get him to throw it with power, and he can keep his accuracy, then it will, in the long run, be a good pick, but it will take time.

  11. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Rod

    Draft Analysis:

    –Poor build
    –Lacks great physical stature and strength
    –Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush
    –Lacks a really strong arm
    –Can’t drive the ball downfield
    –Does not throw a really tight spiral
    –System-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib
    –Gets knocked down easily

    Guess who?

    Kyle Trask?


    Tom Brady.

    Let’s see what the kid has during preseason. I hope he starts a few practice games because we really need more intel.

  12. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jason’s and Bruce’s ass was saved by Tom.
    He can’t field a team with mainly draft pics as he misses way to many.
    The guy will hit one here and there
    But overall….. C minus as a talent evaluator

  13. Steven007 Says:

    Munch, I don’t know why you continue to be obsessed with calling Tryon a second round draft pick. By every metric he was a first round draft pick, obviously. Granted, a low first rounder. As low as you can go but still a first rounder. Semantics aside, what’s meaningful about that is obviously his contract which offers an additional year. So yeah, a first round pick. Not essentially a second round pick. Big diff contract wise. If he blows up this difference becomes significant.

  14. adam from ny Says:

    joe sho C+

    darden F+ 🙂

    stuard B

    britt B-

    hansey – has skinny legs…squat time

    wilcox – spotted in aisle 9 at publix racking cereal

    trask – can’t tell the difference between a clipboard and a tablet

    things can only get better

  15. David Says:

    A couple studs on special teams and that’s it so far. Two years from now and we will know how this class turns out based on JTS and Hainsey and Trask. Darden is going to need 10 more pounds and a more fearless attitude and I don’t know if he can find that

  16. Wild Bill Says:

    I have been saying right along that Grant Stuard was the most effective rookie this past year. The late pick was a stud on kick coverage! But that may be his only significant role. Tryon has many attributes but may be a tweener. Fast but not physical enough. Athletic but maybe better suited as a tight end? He has size and speed. Don’t know if he has the hands to be a pass catcher, but the potential would be worth exploring. More of a dancer than a power rusher on defense. He obviously has talent, just not sure he can be the next JPP.

  17. 40Forever Says:

    And let’s not forget Grant was Mr. irrelevant. I’d give that pic and A.

  18. firethecannons Says:

    Darden did not work out–need to get a new return man–anything in FA? Joe?