Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft Recapby James Dudko May 3, 2021 1 comment
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht didn’t have many needs entering the 2021 NFL Draft. Returning all 22 starters from last season’s Super Bowl win gave Arians and Licht some flexibility.
They used it to find some interesting depth pieces with their seven picks. The most intriguing involved taking Tom Brady‘s potential successor in the second round.
Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.
Best Pick: Joe Tryon (Round 1, Pick 32)
It turns out the rich do keep getting richer. That’s the best way to explain the Bucs ending the first round by taking Tryon off the board. He adds yet another versatile and physically imposing edge-rusher to Todd Bowles’ defense. Tryon’s got the size needed to win off the edge in the pros at 6’5″ and 262 lbs. He’s not going to start ahead of Shaquil Barrett or Jason Pierre-Paul, but Tryon will be useful as a situational rusher. Bowles is fiendish when it comes to designing six and seven-man pressures, so he’ll put all three edge guys in packages that unnerve quarterbacks.
For more on Tryon, check out our scouting report on him here.
Worst Pick: Jaelon Darden (Round 4, Pick 129)
On an optics level, Darden looks like a sensible pick. At 5’8″ and 174 lbs, he’s the stock pint-sized burner from the slot Brady loves to target. Even so, using a fourth-round pick to take Darden off the board was a little frivolous, given the Bucs already boast an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver.
Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown are still the headline acts, while Scott Miller and Tyler Johnson proved themselves in last season’s playoffs. It’s true none of those guys work the inside regularly, but going over the middle was a weakness of Darden’s at North Texas. This looked like a pick by a team with the luxury of being able to risk a few fliers.
For more on Darden, check out our scouting report on him here.
Sleeper Pick: Kyle Trask (Round 2, Pick 64)
Some may feel Trask and Darden should be flipped in these categories. Maybe that’s how it will play out once they try and show Arians they belong. For now, though, Trask is the most interesting pick from the Bucs’ class. The question is, how long will Trask have to wait for his chance?
Brady continues to defy time, but that won’t last much longer. It’s strange to say it when he’s just coming off winning a seventh Super Bowl, but there have been signs in recent seasons the 43-year-old’s arm strength is fading. A decline is inevitable, so the Bucs were wise to go successor hunting now, especially when Ryan Griffin was the designated backup.
What they got was a prospect who fits what Arians wants at the position. Trask is a classic pocket passer who has what used to be considered prototype size at 6’5″, 236 lbs. As much as the modern NFL may try to frame it differently, those types of quarterbacks never go out of style. Trask is also an exceptional deep passer, perfect for the vertical concepts Arians loves.
Bucs select Tom Brady’s backup Kyle Trask
Only QB with 10+ TDs and 0 INTs on deep throws last season pic.twitter.com/PTinwXmLSC
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) May 1, 2021
It’s going to be fascinating to see how Arians will engineer situations to get a proper glimpse of Trask’s potential to take the reins once Brady finally calls it a career.
For more on Trask, check out our scouting report on him here.
The Buccaneers can feel good about having put some young playmakers behind senior stars at key positions. It’s a good way to motivate further a veteran group looking to repeat as Super Bowl champs. The picks made in this draft also proved that Arians and Licht are mindful that the need to refresh an aging roster is fast approaching.
Overall Grade: B