With Tom Brady and his former New England tight end Rob Gronkowski officially reunited in Tampa Bay, head coach Bruce Arians and his staff took to the draft to continue building a playoff contender. And build they did.
Arians and company came away with seven selections that can have an immediate impact on the Bucs short-term future, according to https://buczone.com. For Arians, his staff, players, and fans; that future includes a trip to the postseason.
Tampa Bay traded picks Nos. 14 and 117 to San Francisco for picks Nos. 13 and 245 in order to select Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. The former Hawkeye is an absolute freak checking in a 6-feet-5-inches and 320 pounds with a 40 time of 4.85 and a vertical leap of 36.5-inches at the NFL Combine.
With a 43-year-old Brady, who completed just 32 percent of his passes when pressured last year, at quarterback, Wirfs should step in and become a Day 1 starter. He will improve a Tampa Bay offensive line that surrendered 47 sacks last season.
Antoine Winfield Jr.’s father played 14 years in the NFL. The younger Winfield could do the same. He’s a ball-hawking safety with a strong skill set. He ran 4.45 in the 40 at the combine and he recorded a school-record seven interceptions at Minnesota last season.
The Bucs doubled up on running backs even though they are pleased with Ronald Jones. Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn is an every down back with strong pass catching skills. He caught 67 passes during his four-year college career. Vaughn is also a shade under 5-10 and 215 and was just one of two SEC backs to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons. D’Andre Swift, the 35th overall pick in the draft, was the other.
In the seventh round, Tampa Bay went for the speedy Raymond Calais out of Louisiana. He’s a former LA all-state sprinter who was the state’s 2016 Track & Field Athlete of the Year. He has run 4.33 in the 40 and will be a do-it-all runner-receiver-kick returner for Arians and the Bucs.
How Minnesota WR Tyler Davis was still on the board in Round 5 is beyond imagination. He might not be the speediest (4.5), but Johnson is a beast. He caught 86 passes for 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
With Mike Evans and Chris Godwgin – two 1,000-yard-plus receivers – it almost doesn’t seem fair that the Bucs can add Johnson to the mix.
The Bucs added depth at defensive tackle with former Nebraska DT Khalil Davis and some linebacker and special teams help with former Temple LB Chapelle Russell (6-2, 236). Overall, the Bucs draft was outstanding acquiring immediate help and addressing the team’s needs.