Buccaneers 2014 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web
Let the premature postdraft evaluations begin!
Grading a draft class days after the draft requires significant foresight. Or guessing. No evaluator will honestly or reliably be able to predict the likely success of any NFL rookie in the days after that rookie has joined the league.
That won't stop them from trying, though. While the projections of career success may be a bit hasty, every NFL team is subject to evaluation of how well their draft took advantage of the perceived value of their respective picks.
Despite entering the draft with serious need on the offensive line, Smith and Licht waited until Day 3 of the draft to bolster their ranks at guard and tackle. This could be a gamble the Bucs come to regret during the season.
No single grade of the Bucs' draft provides a comprehensive or authoritative judgement of how good the players they picked will be. By examining and comparing them, a more complete picture emerges from the postdraft cacophony.
Take a look at how a few NFL pundits graded the Bucs' 2014 draft. Judge for yourself if their evaluations are fair or accurate.
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco gave the Buccaneers a B+ for their work to bolster their offensive arsenal. Prisco liked the Seferian-Jenkins pick as the Bucs "needed a true tight end in their offense." He also said Wyoming WR Robert Herron is a solid complement to Evans and Seferian-Jenkins.
It's hard to argue with Prisco's assessment. The Bucs have not had a top-end, well-rounded tight end since Jimmy Giles.
Seferian-Jenkins has every measurable a coach could want in a starting tight end. He just needs to show it on the field this fall.
SB Nation's Leo Howell
Rather than break down the Bucs draft by player, Bucsnation.com's Leo Howell gave the Bucs a "B+" based on talent, filling needs and fitting schemes.
Howell liked the talent of the Bucs' selections and graded them at an A. He also highlighted the Bucs' first two picks while praising the athleticism of Kadeem Edwards, offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile and wide receiver Robert Herron.
For "filling needs," Howell marked the Bucs with a "B" grade. Adding more receiving weapons through the drat was a clear priority for the Bucs, but Howell was disappointed with the Bucs' decision to not take a quarterback and more offensive linemen.
Howell believes the Bucs' draft fits the scheme offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford is installing. Tampa Bay added big targets for quarterback Josh McCown while providing "speed in space" with Herron and running back prospect Charles Sims.
The boys over at Walterfootball.com were less impressed with the Bucs' draft, marking them down for a C grade.
Their assessment appears to be unweighted by round as the Bucs received high marks for the Evans and Austin-Seferian selections, but presumably they got very low grades for Charles Sims and Kevin Pamphile.
The Charles Sims pick was questionable. The Bucs appeared to have a lot of options at running back with Doug Martin, Mike James and Jeff Demps—all of whom return from injury to join Bobby Rainey.
Taking Sims was likely an example of a team sticking to its board on draft day. Though running back was not an immediate need, the Bucs clearly valued Sims' pass-catching ability highly enough to possibly reach for him in the third round.
The Kevin Pamphile grade is bit harsh. Yes, the Bucs traded up for the Purdue tackle, but Pamphile certainly demonstrated raw athletic ability at the combine with his sub-5.0 40 time and 25 reps in the bench press. He absolutely fits the mold of the offensive line that Smith and Licht are trying to build.
The biggest issue is that the Bucs had to give the Buffalo Bills the extra fifth-round pick they acquired from trading Jeremy Zuttah as well as their seventh-round pick for Pamphile. The price is rather steep for a player who is anything but a guarantee.
Fansided's Patrick Schmidt
Patrick Schmidt of Fansided gave mostly positive feedback for the Bucs' draft and gave the Bucs a "B".
Like everyone else, Schmidt was a fan of the Evans pick. However, he was not a fan of the Bucs taking Tennessee St. guard Kadeem Edwards, calling the pick "a reach."
There's no question that Edwards is raw. His technique is inconsistent and often times sloppy. He is, however, big and powerful.
No one would confuse Edwards with Carl Nicks, but Nicks was also a fifth-round pick. Not every elite player gets drafted where he should have been taken.
Bleacher Report's Alessandro Miglio
Bleacher Report's Alessandro Miglio graded the Bucs' front office team of Lovie Smith and Jason Licht with a "B+". Miglio praised the duo for a strong free agency that reduced the Bucs' needs heading into the draft.
Smith and Licht's work in free agency can't be understated. They added 16 players to the roster, over a quarter of the team.
The Bucs lacked the picks to make a huge statement in the draft, but they did enough in free agency to enter the draft with a strong, focused plan.
Miglio also echoed the applause of the Evans pick as well as the concern over Charles Sims in the third round. He points out that Bucs RBs Mike James and Bobby Rainey are now "on notice" and could be cut before the 2014 season.