Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 Draft Grade
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers easily had one of the best drafts this year given the picks that they had. Although it is unclear who their QB will be next season or even who it will be years down the line, it was important for them to hit on these picks. By heavily addressing the defensive side of the ball, they are providing support to their offense because they will be able to keep points off the board.
Round 1: No.19 – Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt Panthers
Kancey was one of my favorite first-round prospects. He is an incredible athlete who knows how to use his smaller frame to his strength. Out of a 3-point stance, he is very explosive and can be the first to engage in contact. This allows him to gain leverage on the blocker and force them off-balance. Then, he uses his variety of pass-rush moves to disengage and make a play on the ball carrier. Additionally, I have not seen many prospects who play with as high of a motor. I am excited to see what he can do as a 3-tech next to Vita Vea.
Round 2: No. 48 (via GB) – Cody Mauch, OT, North Dakota State Bison
Again, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted one of my favorite prospects in the draft. Mauch is an incredible athlete who plays with a lot of aggressiveness. In both pass and run blocking schemes, he makes it a priority to finish his block. Unfortunately for the defender, that often means they are going to be laying on the turf when the whistle is blown.
At the Senior Bowl, Mauch played every position on the offensive line. Not only that, but he held his own in every position. After speaking to NDSU’s Director of Player Personnel Ean Deno, I also found out that Mauch is a great person off the field and prioritizes getting to know his teammates. Overall, the Buccaneers have had a perfect draft so far in my opinion.
Round 3: No. 82 – YaYa Diaby, DE, Louisville Cardinals
I am sensing a theme with the players the Bucs are picking in this draft. With every pick so far, they added a player with a high motor who can make game-changing plays. Although Diaby isn’t a polished DE, he has the skillset needed to develop in the NFL. He is explosive off the snap and can quickly move laterally around blockers. This makes him very effective on stunts and twists. Diaby also has violent hands which allow him to disengage and get past blockers. Although he still has room to grow, this is a very good pick.
Round 5: No. 153 – SirVocea Dennis, LB, Pitt Panthers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking another Pitt Panther in the 2023 Draft. Honestly, I cannot blame them because both players are special. Dennis has incredible vision which allows him to see the entire field and make plays. This directly led to his elite production at Pitt and will likely translate into the NFL. He does a good job of working in open spaces and bringing down the ball carrier. In a few years, I see Dennis being a quality starter for the Bucs.
Round 5: No. 171 (via LA) – Payne Durham, TE, Purdue Boilermakers
This was one position I was expecting the Bucs to address earlier in the draft. However, I would not complain about this pick. Durham has a big catch radius that allows him to make plays outside of his frame. He also has very strong hands and can hold onto the ball through contact in the middle of the field. This will make him a very dangerous red zone threat immediately.
Round 6: No. 181 (via IND) – Josh Hayes, DB, Kansas State Wildcats
To be honest, I was unaware of Hayes’ ability when Tampa Bay made this pick. After reviewing his film, I was shocked I didn’t notice him earlier. He is a versatile DB who will likely line up in the slot in the NFL. However, he has the skillset needed to play in deep zone coverage. His versatile skillset comes from his amazing athleticism. This will allow him to step in on day one and have an instant impact on special teams.
Round 6: No. 191 (via PHI) – Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska Cornhuskers
This is the 3rd pick where the Bucs drafted one of my favorite players in the draft. Although Palmer fell to the 6th round, I guarantee he will be a solid slot in the NFL. He is a very quick route runner who is good at getting open in the middle of the field. When the ball is thrown his way, he displays incredible concentration to hold onto the ball through contact. Finally, although he primarily runs routes up the middle for short gains, he has the vision needed to track the ball down the field. Without being too biased, I think the Bucs got a gem with this pick
Round 6: No. 196 – Jose Ramirez, EDGE, Eastern Michigan Eagles
Ramirez may be a smaller EDGE rusher in comparison to the other prospects in the draft, he can compete with most of them. He is a very aggressive player who can get past blockers by beating them on the outside. After his first step, he delivers a powerful punch that can knock blockers back. Then he uses his foot speed to get around them and make a play on the QB. To give you a better idea, he recorded 18.5 sacks over his last 2 seasons at Eastern Michigan.
Final Thoughts on Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft
Although it is a little too early to say that the Bucs hit on all of these picks, but they definitely had one of the better drafts this season. They added several explosive players on the defensive side of the ball who have very high potential. On the offensive side, they added some of my favorite players at said positions. Overall, Bucs fans should be very excited about the future of the organization.
Overall Draft Grade: A
Buccaneers 2023 Draft Grade Analyst – Matthew Lewis