The Buccaneers had plenty of needs going into the 2019 draft and you could make a case that almost every position on the team could use an upgrade except for wide receiver and quarterback where Jameis Winston is firmly entrenched as the starter.
The needs were much more greater on the defensive side of the ball as the Bucs gave up 29 points per game and had real issues in the secondary.
The Bucs picking number five snagged the best linebacker in the draft in Devin White of LSU. White was taken as much for his play on the football field as his leadership ability. For more on the White selection check out my article
Round 1 Pick 5
Devin White Linebacker LSU
Round 2 Pick 39
Sean Bunting Cornerback Central Michigan
In the second round the Bucs continued to go defense as they selected cornerback Sean Bunting from Central Michigan.This was a bit of a reach as Bunting was projected as a fourth or fifth round pick.
Bunting was a first team All MAC selection who had 39 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one blocked kick. Bunting has a nose for the football as he was known in his three seasons at Central Michigan for creating turnovers and forcing fumbles. Is a very physical corner and has decent speed which is something that Bowles and Arians are looking to upgrade.
Round 3 Pick 94
Jamel Dean Cornerback Auburn
The Bucs continued their defensive focus with Jamel Dean a cornerback from Auburn in the third round. Dean played with Carlton Davis when both were at Auburn.
Has the body of a safety more than a corner at 6-1 208. Dean is more of a project right now as he has had three knee injuries in his Auburn career. Has good speed which is something that Bowles covets. Has a tendency to face guard instead of playing the ball. A depth pick. Dean is more of a project right now than somebody who will step in and beat out Hargreaves or Davis for a starting spot.
Round 3 Pick 99
Mike Edwards Safety Kentucky
In another third round selection, the Bucs went with safety Mike Edwards from Kentucky. Edwards was a four year starter at Kentucky and has the versatility that Bowles likes in his defensive backs.
Edwards had great numbers in his four years at Kentucky. 300 tackles, 20 plus for loss, 23 passes defended with ten interceptions. While Edwards is short for a safety at 5-11, he makes up for that with his physical play and strength. Good run defender and shows good quickness in pass coverage.
Outside of Justin Evans, there is no incumbent at the other safety position so it would not be a surprise if Edwards could step in and start right away.
Round 4 Pick 107
Anthony Nelson Defensive End Iowa
The Bucs went for some defensive line help in the fourth round as they took Anthony Nelson the edge rusher from Iowa. Nelson had 9.5 sacks last season which was good for 17th in the country and 13.5 tackles for loss.
Nelson has good size at 6-7 275 and has good arm length which he will need to use to his advantage.
Nelson will probably not start this year, but could be a key part of the defensive line rotation.
Round 5 Pick 145
Matt Gay Kicker Utah
Everything was going along nicely until the fifth round, and then the Bucs did it again. They drafted another kicker. Matt Gay of Utah. Where have we seen this before? I don’t care how many awards Gay won. I don’t care if he made 100% of his field goal attempts over 50 yards, he is not worth a fifth round pick when you have so many other pressing needs.
Now I’m really confused. Why spend the money on signing Cairo Santos if you knew you were going to take a kicker in the draft?
Justin Tucker, Robbie Gould, Wil Lutz and Matt Bryant, and Adam Vinatieri were not drafted. they were signed as free agents. You can find a good kicker through other avenues without drafting one.
With needs on the offensive line and at running back, it was very disappointing to see the Bucs take another kicker.
Round 6 Pick 208
Scott Miller Wide Receiver Bowling Green
With wide receiver the most solid position on the team, the Bucs decided to take receiver Scott Miller from Bowling Green.
Miller had 71 catches for 1178 yards and nine touchdowns. A former track star with 4.39 speed, Miller was drafted to take the spot vacated by Adam Humphries as he signed with Tennessee.
With Evans, Godwin,and Perriman the top three receivers right now it may be hard to get Miller some touches especially when you factor in tha Bucs have two of the best catching tight ends in the league in OJ Howard and Cameron Brate.
Look for Miller to get a long look at returning kicks and punts.
Round 7 Pick 215
Terry Beckner Jr. Defensive Tackle Missouri
In the seventh round the Bucs picked up a defensive tackle Terry Beckner from Missouri. Beckner 6-4, 287 had 34 tackles, 11 for a loss and 3 1/2 sacks with a force fumble last season.
Beckner has a great work ethic and Jason Licht is confident that he can make this team and be part of the Bucs defensive line rotation.
Six of the eight picks were focused on defense. It was disappointing to see the Bucs not address the offensive line needs especially on the right side or add a running back.
Arians and Licht have both said that Alex Cappa and Caleb Benenoch have shown good improvement and they think that improvement will continue throughout OTA’s and training camp.
With Greedy Williams on the board at number 39, the Bucs elected to pass on Williams and take a chance on an unknown Sean Bunting of Central Michigan. Let’s hope the Bucs don’t regret that decision.
Overall draft grade C
-On a side note, Vincent Testaverde the son of Buccaneer quarterback Vinny Testaverde has been invited to rookie camp next month. Testaverde was part of the group of local players that tried out earlier this month and is the only player to get an invite to rookie camp.