The biggest event of the NFL off-season is over. The Buccaneers have made their picks and there is mixed reaction to those picks. It’s important to note that these guys have yet to see the field. Just because you don’t know his name, it doesn’t mean he isn’t good at what he does. That being said, let’s get into the picks.
Round 1.(5): Devin White, LB, LSU
We all knew it was coming. With the commitment to speed on the defense the Bucs made the obvious pick. Devin White does many things well. He had an incredible combine and won the Butkus award in 2018 for the best linebacker in the country. Along with that, White brings tremendous leadership and maturity. Devin White will be a good player, but I remain confused on the value of an inside linebacker at the fifth overall spot.
Round 2.(7): Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan
While a bit of a head scratching pick at first, a little bit more research tells you the kid can play. The 6’1 cornerback finished his career with nine interceptions and four forced fumbles. For physical testing, Bunting posted the 5th fastest 40 time for corners at 4.42. The draft network had him ranked as the 5th cornerback on the board. One thing is clear, the Buccaneers staff wanted to add speed to the secondary.
Jonah Tuls of the Cowboys Wire was excited about the pick.
Sean Bunting! I love it. The 32nd overall player on my board. Great pick, Buccaneers.
— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) April 26, 2019
3.(30): Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn
The Bucs go cornerback again with the next pick. Dean finished his career at Auburn with only two interceptions. The concern with Dean is his injury history. With three injuries to his knees, Dean has had trouble staying on the field. At the combine, Dean ran the fastest 40 time of all cornerbacks posting a 4.30 time. An interesting pick after going cornerback a few picks before. The staff continuing to add speed to the secondary.
Round 3.(35): Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky
With Chauncey Gardner Johnson still on the board, the Buccaneers elected to go with another safety from Kentucky, Mike Edwards. Edwards ran an unofficial 4.5 40 yard dash at his pro day. Lance Zierlien used another Buccaneer as his NFL comparison, M.J Stewart. It will be interesting to see where he falls on the depth chart, the defensive back room is suddenly jam packed.
Round 4.(5): Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa
The Buccaneers stay on defense and take a defensive end. The Iowa defensive end has some things to tighten up on, but should be good as a rotational end right away. The comparison on NFL.com? Another familiar name in Carl Nassib. The Bucs finally address the trenches in the 4th round
Round 5.(7): Matt Gay, K, Utah
The Buccaneers draft a kicker from Utah. Not much to share in the stats department, but for what it’s worth, according to PFF, Gay was perfect on extra points, 37/38 from 39 yards in and 11/16 from 40/49. After signing Bradley Pinion earlier this year, it looks like the specialists may be new in 2019. Using a pick, even if it was a fifth rounder, on a kicker though?
Round 6.(36): Scott Miller, WR, Bowling Green
The 5’11 wide receiver from bowling green posted an impressive 215 reception in four years at bowling green. He finished his college career with 23 touchdowns and a 13.3 yard receiving average. In his pro day, Miller posted a hand timed 4.32 40 yard dash time. Once again, the Bucs new coaches emphasize speed and grab a receiver who can compete for the slot position to replace Adam Humphries. Seems like head coach Bruce Arians found his John Brown.
Round 7.(1): Terry Beckner Jr, DT, Missouri
Another defensive lineman for the Bucs. Beckner didn’t post incredible combine numbers, but according to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, he has flashes of great play. For Beckner, it’s consistency and injuries that are the concern. If he can stay healthy, he can be a rotational defensive tackle.
More Defensive Backs?
The draft is done and although its clear speed was the goal, some of the picks are still puzzling. Listen, the Buccaneers have been terrible in terms of pass defense for several years now. Last year, they were dead last allowing 260 yards per game in the air. I understand the desire to fix that, but last year, the Buccaneers used two high round selections on cornerbacks. Carlton Davis and M.J Stewart both had tough years their rookie year, but its a big jump to the next level, especially as a cornerback. This year, the Bucs take three defensive backs with premier picks. What’s the plan with the two rookies from last year and Vernon Hargreaves returning from injury? That’s five defensive backs just with those names. Ryan Smith also played well when he got time, where does that leave him?
In the 4th round they finally address the trenches by going with Nelson, but then immediately follow that up with a kicker? Why even spend a pick on a kicker? If the Buccaneers wanted a kicker, why not wait until after the draft and sign an undrafted free agent. Scott Miller looks like exactly what Bruce Arians wants, a John Brown clone, but the right guard spot was still not addressed. Caleb Benenoch graded out with a 43.6 rating from Pro Football Focus which puts him in the “below average” category. This draft class was questionable in many ways. Whatever happens, Bruce Arians can’t say he didn’t get “his guys”. Time will tell how they play out on the field, but overall, the draft was confusing to most fans and media alike.