Buccaneers NFL Draft Grades: Tampa Bay Hits a Home Run


The 2020 NFL Draft came and went, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome a new crop of rookies. Their draft wasn’t perfect, but it did leave the team with at least four starters in all three phases of the game. Let’s take a look at how the Buccaneers favored, round by round.

Round 1: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Tristan Wirfs immediately fills the Buccaneers biggest hole going into the offseason, right tackle. Wirfs is a freak athlete who mauls opposing defenders in the run game. He needs some work fine tuning his vertical passing sets, but with the right coaching, Wirfs can be a pro-bowl offensive lineman in no time. Look for him to make an impact day one.

Grade: A

Round 2: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota

What a home run selection in round two. Draft analysts around the league had Antoine Winfield Jr. going on day one, so the fact that he fell to 45 was a dream scenario for the Buccaneers. Winfield Jr. is a tough safety who has incredible instincts and ball hawking skills. With seven interception in 2019, Winfield Jr. will make an immediate impact on this defense.

Grade: A

Round 3: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt

I will admit, I was not a fan of this selection at first. With solid defensive lineman on the board, I was hoping the Buccaneers would solidify depth behind Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh. But when you go back and look at the tape, Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a solid back with a clear role in this offense. Think of James White in New England. Vaughn has great hands, route running ability, and solid one-cut skills. Vaughn tore up LSU for 130 yards back in September, so it’s not like he has played easy opponents. Sure there was better value on the board, but without a fourth round pick, the Buccaneers were wise to pull the trigger.

Grade: C+

Round 5: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota

Antoine Winfield’s teammate Tyler Johnson joins the team in round five, and oh boy what a steal it was. Many had Johnson going on day two, so the fact that the Buccaneers were able to land him in the fifth round is a pipe dream. Johnson is a crisp route runner who excels at high pointing the football. He has a highlight real of spectacular catches, but has his fair share of concentration drops. Johnson will immediately slide in as the third wide receiver on the depth chart to provide Tom Brady with yet another weapon.

Grade: A

Round 6: Khalil Davis, DT, Nebraska

Jason Licht gets another Nebraska defender! Khalil Davis is a solid interior pass rusher who should provide depth along the line. He sometimes struggles to shed blocks in the run game, but I’m not going to critique a sixth round selection to much. Day three players are designed to fill out your roster on special teams and provide depth. I like Khalil Davis as a prospect, but he is simply a developmental backup at this point.

Grade: B-

Round 7: Chapelle Russell, LB, Temple

Another solid depth piece and special teams player. Chapelle Russell projects more as first and second down linebacker. He doesn’t have the speed or agility to drop into coverage, capping his upside. He can provide a solid rotation on specific game situations, but he’s certainly not a lock to make the final roster.

Grade: C-

Round 7: Raymond Calais, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

I love this selection at the end of round seven for one reason, special teams. Raymond Calais had 99 kick returns in his collegiate career for over 2,000 yards. The Buccaneers have been abysmal in this department since Michael Spurlock. If he can revitalize the third phase of the game, I’m all for it.

Grade: B

Final Grade

The Buccaneers left the draft with a starting right tackle, safety, wide receiver three, and kick returner. Ke’Shawn Vaughn is also a solid selection as a receiving back on third downs, even if there were better players on the board. In any draft, you want to leave with at least three solid starters and depth on the back end. The Buccaneers were successful, and the road to the Superbowl starts now!

Final Grade: A-