Draft Grades!

April 30th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles and general manager Jason Licht review plans in the Bucs’ war room Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)

This would drive a certain former NFL suit out of his mind, if he were to read the following.

Joe won’t out the guy, but there is a retired dude on Twitter who had a highly responsible gig in the NFL. About 70 percent of his Twitter posts are nothing more than b!tching about fans, whining about “media” and throwing rocks at his arch enemy, Mike Florio.

He’s the ultimate, angry NFL get-off-my-lawn graybeard.

Chill out, dude! If not for the fans, you would have worked in some factory in Gary, Ind. for a living. Fans make the NFL. Without fans, it’s the professional lacrosse league or whatever the eff.

Joe knows that by sometime tomorrow this guy will rail on fans like Grandpa Simpson about how irresponsible it is to grade drafts until at least three years after players were selected.

He’s not totally wrong, but that’s like wanting society to go back to the 19th century when there was no radio, little electricity and folks got around in horses. Give it up!

This world demands things now! We live in a fast-food, drive-through, 24/7 dog doctor, microwave, Chat GPT society. Screw waiting three years, a pandemic can come and go in that time.

So Joe is here to help. Below are grades NFL analysts have slapped on the Bucs’ 2023 draft.

Nate Davis, USA Today
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (C-)

Given QB Tom Brady’s retirement, the defensive lean was surprising … unless HC Todd Bowles was making the picks. Pairing first-round DT Calijah Kancey with Vita Vea inside should create a fun combo to watch. But nice as second-round OL Cody Mauch should be, might have been nice to give QBs Baker Mayfield and/or Kyle Trask a bit more help.

Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post
Grade: B-
Stop anyone who compares Kancey to fellow undersized Pittsburgh-groomed defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Still, he could be a sleeper Rookie of the Year choice. The gap-toothed Mauch looks like he should play for the Lightning, but offers tackle/guard flexibility. Diaby is an upside pick.

Nick Simon, DraftKings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+
… Kancey was a shrewd defensive tackle selection at No. 19 who has drawn some have drawn comparisons to his Pitt predecessor in Aaron Donald. Putting him next to Vita Vea on the interior defensive line is going to create problems for offensive linemen should he pan out. They then went with Mauch in the second round and while he’ll most likely start on the interior, there’s a chance that he could eventually be starting opposite Tristan Wirfs at tackle. Overall, a solid meat and potatoes draft for the Bucs as they begin the post-Tom Brady era.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Grade: B-

The Buccaneers filled plenty of needs on both sides of the ball, but outside of the great start with Kancey and Mauch to fill voids on their offensive and defensive line, they underwhelmed with GM Jason Licht’s first post-Tom Brady draft. Two glaring omissions from the class is a QB (given just about everyone else took one) and another running back.

So how would Joe grade this draft? Wait three years. LOL ,…Seriously, it seems like a sneaky good draft. Lots of athletes here.

While not a sexy draft, it seems this is sort of a foundational draft putting the Bucs in position to grab more skill position players on offense next season, likely with quarterback being atop the list.

65 Responses to “Draft Grades!”

  1. Go Bucs Says:

    I agree 100% Joe. Not the funnest draft but needed. This draft will let us have fun drafts in a couple years

  2. Stanglassman Says:

    National draft grade right after the draft is kinda silly. I hope nobody takes them too seriously.

    If they really want to grade teams drafts they should do 2020 draft grades now. Grade this one the last Sunday of April ‘26.

  3. Greg Says:

    Sexy was not in the cards. What we needed was meat and potatoes-which we got. Somebody pass the salt.

  4. sasquatch Says:

    Don’t care what the instant reviews are.

  5. Austin Says:

    Stellar Draft

  6. Rand Says:

    I think a B is fair. There wasn’t a lot of talk about these guys leading up to the draft but sometimes that doesn’t matter. Licht has a certain niche at finding gems in later rounds.

  7. Buc king Says:

    Next year Brady and I bet Shaq Barrett money will be freed up..
    If neither qb wins the job expect us to grab a top tier free agent qb or trade for a disgruntled one.
    No qb wanted to try to fill Brady shoes it’s like following Metallica or rolling stones you will get boo off stage.
    With that said..
    I expect a tackle lb cb rb all to me addressed next year.
    I personally hope we keep filling the trenches..
    We have 3 great receivers top 3 receiver group..
    Te we’re ok not a world beater there..
    Rb got a decent room I think we free agent a beast next year I imagine Barkley as option.
    Lt is still a need.. rg is still a question ?
    Qb yet to be determined..baker is a flash in the pan type player and Trask is unproven.

    Def the dline trying to come together let’s hope the coach in that room can get them.all in shape and on page. History has shown the contrary.

    Linebacker.. white is disgruntled but who care-play football
    David is long in the tooth prob play 3 more years atleast 2 high caliber years.
    Davis n dean are the 1 n2.. pretty steep drop after them no idea who will be the slot cb..
    Winfield and new guy from Seahawks look to be formidable..
    New guys on a prove it contract so will see…
    I think Linebacker will garnish the most attention in the next draft.

  8. Goatfarmer Says:

    What did Mark Dumpsternik give the draft? The good news, I don’t think the Bucs took one of his suggestions seriously, even by accident.

    What a buffoonasaurus.

  9. lambchop Says:

    We need a poll on whether Cody Mauch will use some NFL money to get dental implants.

  10. Trask To The Future Says:

    No surprise that Goatkisser is back with… wait for it… more negative posts.

    Don’t worry goatie, Trask will make you even more miserable when he ends up as the starter.

  11. Rand Says:

    List of UDFA’s we signed,

    — Sean Tucker, Running Back College: Syracuse Measurables: 5-foot-10, 210-pounds
    — Ronnie Brown, Running Back College: Shepherd Measurables: 6-foot, 190-pounds
    — Rakim Jarrett, Wide Receiver College: Maryland Measurables: 6-foot, 190-pounds
    — Ryan Miller, Wide Receiver College: Furman Measurables: 6-foot-2, 209-pounds
    — Taye Barber, Wide Receiver College: TCU Measurables: 5-foot-10, 190-pounds
    _ Kade Warner, Wide Receiver College: Kansas State Measurables: 6-foot-1, 204-pounds
    — Tanner Taula, Tight End College: Illinois State Measurables: 6-foot-6, 255-pounds
    — Chris Murray, Center College: Oklahoma Measurables: 6-foot-2, 308-pounds
    — Silas Dzansi, Offensive Lineman College: Virginia Tech Measurables: 6-foot-5, 335-pounds
    — Luke Haggard, Offensive Tackle College: Indiana Measurables: 6-foot-6, 302-pounds
    — Nelson Mbanasor, EDGE College: Texas State Measurables: 6-foot-3, 270-pounds
    — Jeremy Banks, Linebacker College: Tennessee Measurables: 6-foot-1, 224-pounds
    — Brandon Bouyer-Randle, Linebacker College: UConn Measurables: 6-foot-2, 240-pounds
    — Keenan Isaac, Cornerback College: Alabama State Measurables: 6-foot-3, 190-pounds
    — Derrek Pitts, Cornerback College: North Carolina State Measurables: 6-foot, 177-pounds
    — Christian Izien, Safety College: Rutgers Measurables: 5-foot-10, 200-pounds
    — Kaevon Merriweather, Safety College: Iowa Measurables: 6-foot, 205-pounds
    — Jake Bates, Kicker College: Arkansas Measurables: 5-foot-10, 202-pounds
    — Evan Deckers, Long Snapper College: Duke Measurables: 6-foot-4, 244-pounds

  12. Bucsfanman Says:

    Rand- Thanks for the info. I always love to see the UDFA list. You never know, you could get a starter from that group eventually.

  13. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    😚 Love all of the comments so far.

  14. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    This old f@rt is borderline HDD. This means I’ve always thought and reacted at my own particular rate of speed or rhythm. Like most fans I think I am as smart as anyone else. I rate the Bucs’ draft based on perceived needs vs best available according to tier, but not based on my “superior” knowledge about each specific athlete. In other words I rate Licht & company’s picks according to my generalized criteria.

    My first-reaction rating is A-.

  15. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    I thought we had a solid draft….

  16. Roc Says:

    Yes this draft with Bowles steering the ship will lead us to a wonderful pick next year #1

  17. DungyDance Says:

    Here’s a challenge for someone (Defense Rules?)…It would be fun to see the grades from these same people for our picks from 3 years ago. Then we an compare against what we know today. Would give perspective for whether we should take seriously the grades we see now.

  18. Bbro Says:

    It looks as if the picks were good to help out on both sides of the ball n hopefully protect our quarterback. As far as rating the picks it’s like a NHRA race, you won’t know till the green light comes on n it’s wide open, spin the tires or blow up.

  19. SteveK Says:

    This draft was super sexy. When you can win up front, dominate the trenches, you win ball games.

    We complimented Vita with a human cannonball. We now have the Kraken and a cannonball to go with it.

    The Mauch pick feels like marpet all over again. Different players, but hopefully just as much of a stud.

    We needed to win up front.

    How can any draft guru say over drafting a QB is “sexy”, but fortifying the trenches is boring.

    I can’t wait to see our defensive line. Coach Bowles has some new toys.

    Mauch is going to be a stud. If Wirfs moved to the left, put Mauch at LG and let those two work.

    Jensen and Mauch is going to be glorious. Throw in Kieft at full back and we will ginger snap our opponents.

  20. Dooley Says:

    Looks like a good haul, we went in with 9 picks and walked out with 8 players. Familiar with some of the UDFA picks, mostly due to the overlap of watching one player and remembering his teammates/opponents. Next step rookie camp, we’ll see what we’ve got with these kids and start thinning the herd.

    Really like the emphasis Licht and his team put on speed/athleticism at certain positions. Lichts admission of edge rushers needing “power” along with speed, spoke to how he feels about the position relative to what we’ve got and why we went for the players we did. Spytek and his scouting team should also get some kudos, because that’s a tough job that has those folks working around the clock and calendar. Big part of the team building capability of this franchise that hardly ever gets acknowledged.

  21. Duane Says:

    Dooley – great comment.

    It’s clear that the Bucs leadership is putting a big emphasis on athleticism and speed at all positions. That’s been the case the last several drafts beginning at least with Wirfs. I remember the usual crowd of bitc*ers were complaining about Licht trading up to get Wirfs instead of one of the other top four tackles they had fallen in man-love with. I remember Wirfs publishing his video of athletic stunts that people laughed at. Of course now the league recognizes that Wirfs was the stud pick at tackle from that draft, outperforming the other higher rated and higher drafted tackles.

    It turns out that the best athletes can indeed be the best players at their position – even with the Big Uglies on the O line. That’s not always the case – see Tom Brady, oka the GOAT.

    We’ll soon see!

  22. Old School Nole Says:

    Day after draft grades are worth as much as mock drafts, but I will still read everyone of them.

  23. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Cody Mauch was drafted to be the eventual replacement for Ryan Jensen

    As for Mauch’s development timeline, it’s difficult to predict how long it will take for Cody to become a full-time starter, given that it took Jensen five years to achieve his goal.

    Who knows, with the right training and opportunities, Mauch could prove to be a valuable asset for the future. Only time will tell.

  24. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    My bad 3 seasons

  25. Joe Swanson Says:

    No quarterback picked up I guess Ryan Griffin is coming back.

  26. George R Says:

    My only question, is how many starters did we get out of this draft? Zero?

  27. George R Says:

    My only question, is how many starters did we get out of this draft? Zero? It is possible not one of our picks start this year.

  28. Mike Says:

    The goal of every draft is to get at least 4 starters, at least that’s what the Packers former GM Ron Wolf used to say, and I think that is a great goal. It doesn’t mean they have to be starters in their first year, just eventual starters. I could see Kancey, Mauch, and Dennis will future starter roles, and maybe even Diaby. The others we will have to wait and see I think how they do.

  29. Brandon Says:

    Huge story should be written on our group of UDFAs. Several of them had highly draftable grades.

    RB Sean Tucker was given a 3/4th round grade by many until a heart issue was detected at The Combine. His tape and measurables are outstanding. He should not only make the team but push for RB2 reps early.

    Chris Izien logged 41 college starts and then measured and tested like Bob Sanders. He and Karvon Merriwether had draft grades as high as 4th/5th round.

    WR Rakim Jarrett was probably the top UDFA WR. He can fly and has decent size. WR Kade Warner can’t run nor did he produce but he’s Kirt Warner’s son.

    LB Jeremy Banks made a mistake or two in 2019 but was productive and can fly. I’m as excited about him as I am Sir Davis of Pitt.

    The two tackles, Haggard and Dzanis, are very impressive athletes for a team needing tackles.

    I fully expect 4-5 guys make the team from our UDFA list this season. There’s some high quality signings this year.

  30. Kalind Says:

    I would have preferred more mid round trade ups (and less slop at the back end) but the first 3 picks were really good. I agree w the strategy of looking to next year after we bottom out in a developmental year

  31. FrontFour Says:

    I like our draft and the UDFA’s so far (thanks Rand). One player Sean Tucker RB Syracuse is solid. Was very productive. And Luke Haggard LT Indiana. He’ll need a couple years to build strength but good technique guy.

  32. Durango95 Says:

    I see Mauch as the only guy from this class that could start opening day probably at RG. Possible projecting as a Center, down the road.

    No upgrade at the Tackle spot. Looks like they’re going to roll w/ Goedeke RT.

    Will Kancey be able to hold up as a full starter? If not, how could that be considered a good first rd. pick?

    I will say this Licht is taking a gamble by not finding a Tackle and hoping Goedeke is the answer. We shall see.

  33. Chuck Says:

    I like the signing of Chris Murray from Oklahoma. Hope he proves good enough to make the team. It would be nice to have a natural center as a backup to Jensen, and let Hainsey focus on just being a guard.

  34. rrsrq Says:

    I see all the UDFA, but who is throwing the ball in rookie mini camp, the OC?

  35. Pewter Power Says:

    I’ If your division has quarterbacks but you don’t yea you better go trenches. I like the strategy. The offense has plenty of talent as long as the o line holds up their end of the bargain should be a fun season

  36. Buc4evr Says:

    Think overall the draft was good. The Bucs addressed needs on the O line, Dline and LB. The UDFAs look good also. Overall a solid B.
    Not a draft issue but looking forward my biggest concern now is QB and kicker. Still think Jason should be trying to get a more proven veteran QB and anytime the Bucs get a new kicker it bites them in the a**.

  37. All_da_way Says:

    Solid B+ from my view.

    The trench focus was fantastic. Just not enough picks to address OT.

  38. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Thanks for the UDFA post, Rand. The RB from Syracuse might give Sneak a roster spot battle.

  39. Havingfitz Says:

    I liked our draft. Saw grades from A to C but who cares about grades. Appreciate the UDFA info in this thread.

    Did any UDFAs make our team last year?

  40. gotbbucs Says:

    Would’ve liked to see a higher resource used in the secondary, but I also understand their thought process of adding pressure up front to help improve the secondary. Really wanted either Roschon Johnson or Chase Brown, but Sean “Muscle Hamster 2.0” Tucker is a solid UDFA pickup.

    Kancey will start day 1, Mauch will start day 1 at LG, Diaby will be rotational, Hayes will see snaps at nickel, Dennis is insurance for White/David, Durham will play alot, Palmer will get every chance to see the field, Ramirez is developmental.

  41. Scott Says:

    Go Sean tucker,Chris Simms compares him to Doug Martin, went undrafted probably due to heart condition,he looks like nfl starter but teams worried after damar Hamlin- understandable

  42. Shooter Says:

    Sean Tucker is a gift he might be are starting RB.

  43. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    I don’t see how this is much different from drafting Logan Hall and Luke Goedeke.

  44. Cobraboy Says:

    Top heavy on BU’s. Not sexy, not splashy, but BU’s are the core of football.

    Let’s see how it pans out.

    Next year the team will be in a vastly better cap position to make some moves. This draft, IMO, was thin after the first 15-17 picks, and the subsequent years’ draft is supposedly deeper.

    Between the Brady hit (which no one disagreed with) and possibly Barrett gone, along with a cap increase, I won’t be surprised if this team has $80-90 mil to play with.

    I like this cap and personnel management team, although no fan of Bowles.

    I’m no fan of draft “scores,” but considering needs and cap space, I think Licht & Co. have performed admirably this off-season.

  45. Infomeplease Says:

    I hope several of these excell at this competition level. The Bucs sure need it. Go Bucs!!

  46. Buddha Says:

    Kancey will start day one. Will be in the running for defensive rookie of the year.

  47. Brandon Says:

    Which draftees start…

    Kancey and Mauch have an excellent shot. Kancey should at least get starter reps.

    Don’t be surprised to see Sean Tucker get starter reps as well. The dude broke the all-time Syracuse single season rushing record. Not bad for a school that had Joe Morris, Ernie Davis, Jim Brown. Plus, he’s a legit track sprint champion. He has video of him running an electronic 4.33 at a personal workout and looks every bit that fast on tape. At 5’9 207 with 4.33 40 and 41.5″ VJ and massive college production. This dude was the steal of the draft. He is good at everything except pass protection. I’m disappointed that Joe and other Buc media outlets haven’t jumped on it… because, “they don’t care about UDFAs.” This dude will get plenty of first team reps on 1st and 2nd down and will start if he learns to block. He’s a less powerful Saquan Barkley or a faster Doug Martin… bigger Joe Morris. He’s legit.

  48. Brandon Says:

    Who is the Bucs QB for rookie minicamp… former FIU backup and Southeastern (FL) QB Kaylan Wiggins. He was first team all conference in NAIA. He’s getting a tryout. He looked capable at his Pro Day.

  49. Rayjay1122 Says:

    I am happy with the draft all in all. We needed to get better in the trenches and I may be old school a bit but I still believe games are won and lost in the trenches. If Kyle or Baker fail, then we concentrate more on QB and offense skill positions next off season.

  50. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Exactly what this draft was about. Meat n potatoes. Nothing sexy but foundational pieces. Let these guys develop while trying to still compete in a sorry division. Can’t believe we have a sorry div. Remember when our div. Had everyone panthers, saints n falcons all going to the Super Bowl in like a 5 or 7 year span. If n it’s a big if these guys do pan out with hall n JTS I know he’s most likely a bust but if they all do pan out we seriously will have a legit defense for years to come. Need to grab some LBs, safety’s n CBs for depth n LVD needs a replacement hate to say that n of course diva DW45 replacement

  51. Joe Blow Says:

    Nate Davis has zero clue about this team. What an idiot.

  52. Brandon Jeff Says:

    This is the perfect year for a foundational draft as we weren’t going anywhere anyway. In the years ahead, I believe this draft will be viewed as the one that set us up for future success following the Brady era.
    A developmental year will set us up for perhaps better draft position next year. Then we can go after a QB if needed or other high profile, skill players. Please don’t ever forget the trenches. They should be an every year part of our drafts.

  53. ScottyMack Says:

    rrsrq said “I see all the UDFA, but who is throwing the ball in rookie mini camp, the OC?”

    According to another website, there are three additional Mini Camp invites that are not on Rand’s list, one of which is Southeastern QB Kaylan Wiggins. The other two are South Carolina C Eric Douglas and Utah State S Hunter Reynolds.

  54. Dusthy Rhothdes Says:

    Its a C draft from a C GM; lichts record as GM is below 500 & will stay that way with his oddball drafts

  55. MadMax Says:

    Im so hungover…uggg…im still trying to figure out what we did yesterday and deal with the stupid in my life…..

    The first 3 picks…man, im loving it! Aaron Donald clone in Taz Kancey, a toothless O line ginger in Mauch who will play anywhere on the line….a JPP clone in Yaya…loving it so far!!!!

  56. MadMax Says:

    Is Mauch a TE in waiting? asking for a friend thats feeling that vibe…

  57. Larrd Says:

    If Goedeke can play right tackle I give them an A. I think he can!

  58. CrackerBall Says:

    To Dusthy Rhothdes: I C what you did there – funny

  59. TF Says:

    This was a super solid draft considering we are thin almost everywhere on this roster. I 100% with the fact it takes at least 2-3 years to reap the benefits of a solid draft. It takes that long for 3rd, 4th and 5th rounders to develop. Those rounds usually go a long way in determining if it was a stellar draft or not. So a good draft really is just not screwing the pooch on 1st or 2nd round picks and then finding a diamond in 3-7. Time will tell.

  60. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    I’m pretty darn happy about the scouting reports on these guys. Good draft.

  61. CrazyLocha Says:

    With all the Trade-ups, what would it have cost the Bucs to get the 3rd or 4th pick Flashiness? And who? If it cost 4 picks this year and 2 next year? Or 3/3? Again, who would have been worth it, and all the holes still needing to be filled. Maybe a more normal draft a trade up would have been doable. I can see outsiders grading this as a B- with chance to move towards a solid B if lower rounds get playing time and improve towards end of season with impactful player development. TE’s/DL and LB’s rotation depth becoming year 2/3 starters is the NFL way, next man up.
    This is a B+ Jason Licht draft. Well researched, positive attitude players with the skills and talents to be here, and a chance to succeed. No over reaching, no big Divas. Meat and potatoes was appropriate. What the Bucs needed
    Todd Bowles and the coaching staff are the B-/C part of the draft grade equation. Can they coach these picks and team into the B-/B range? NFC South got a whole lot more interesting. Let’s see what the schedule gives us and what the coaches can do.
    Licht delivered on his end B

  62. matt Says:

    Joe gets an “F” in the draft. If Kyle Trask were half as bad as Joe has made him out to be, there is no way the Bucs pass on both Will Levis and Hendon Hooker in the first round, then pass on Hendon Hooker in the second round, and then fail to draft any quarterback in any round in the entire draft!

  63. Dom N. Nick Says:

    Solid draft and UDFA signings. I think the Bucs get 8-10 new players for team and development squad so that’s a successful draft in my book. Spytek and team, excellent job of making the most of what you had to work with this year!

  64. bob leonard Says:

    It looked at first the Bucs not only did not draft a QB; it seemed none were coming in to throw to the undrafted players. We might sign a veteran, but that may undermine the QB competition. We have to have a QB on the practice squad. Almost unnoticed I see that the Bucs signed small college First Team QB Lindsey Scott (Incarnate Word) [ 4,657 yards, 60 TDs 70.9%.} He is small (5-11, 215). Originally choose Missouri over Auburn and Mississippi but got hurt. Went to a JC. His last game was in the semi-finals against North Dakota State and lost 35-32. Not a big arm, but very mobile and quick release. Interesting…. rated as 5th to 7th rounder.

  65. 941Boltsfan Says:

    Trenches is what we needed