2011 NFL Draft Grades | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made major strides in 2010, behind Josh Freeman’s improved play, the emergence of running back LeGarrette Blount, and a defense seemingly on the rise. All of those factors led to a solid 10-6 finish and hope for 2011.
The Buccaneers’ brass went back to work over the course of the 2011 NFL Draft, with their eyes set on improving their defense and finding players that can help them get over the hump. Read on for Tampa Bay’s draft grades and overall team draft grade to see how they did:
Round 1 (Pick 20) - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Clayborn is a versatile beast that is going to be perfect up front for Tampa Bay. He has the talent to have been a top-10 pick, so the Buccaneers get a bit of a steal here as they address a major need.
Round 2 (Pick 51) - Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Bowers fells for a reason. He’s a major injury risk. However, he’s also a top-five talent in this class, so there’s no way a pass-rushing needy team like the Buccaneers could pass him in the second round and feel good about it. As long as he’s healthy, this is a match made in heaven.
Round 3 (Pick 84) - Mason Foster, LB, Washington
Foster is a very solid linebacker and is picked about where he should be. However, he’s a bit raw and could be a project, so it will be interesting to see how much the Buccaneers get back immediately for a third round investment.
Round 4 (Pick 104) - Luke Stocker- Tennessee
Kellen Winslow is among the league’s best tight ends, but he has a sketchy injury history. Adding another fluid receiver at tight end gives Tampa Bay an insurance policy, as well as another big, reliable target to work across the field.
Round 5 (Pick 151) - Ahmad Black, SS, Florida
I absolutely love this pick. The Buccaneers still are looking for answers at safety, while Black is a round two prospect that slide all the way to the fifth round. Tremendous value here for a guy that can make an immediate impact and has great upside.
Round 6 (Pick 187) – Allen Bradford, RB, USC
Bradford is a tough, physical runner, but I don’t see anything that guarantees him making the final cuts. He can be productive, but he doesn’t have any skill that pops out at you. Not a bad depth pick here in the sixth, but also not the best pick possible, either.
Round 7 (Pick 222) - Anthony Gaitor, CB, FIU
The Aquib Talib situation continues to be fluid, so adding a corner in the final round is a good move. Gaitor is actually a pretty solid prospect, and shouldn’t have much trouble getting some work in nickel packages right away.
Round 7 (Pick 238) – Daniel Hardy, TE, Idaho
Another tight end where the team could have gone for some help on the offensive line. Hardy doesn’t blow me away in any respect, and I would have liked to see a shot in the dark at an offensive line project. Disappointing final pick.
It would have been nice to see Tampa Bay beef up their offensive line a bit or get an impact linebacker (although some would argue they did in Foster), but overall this was a solid draft. The Buccaneers completely revamped their defensive line early, and got some solid value while adding depth to their secondary.
Overall Grade: B