Buccaneers draft for the now

With the clock ticking on new quarterback Tom Brady’s career, Tampa Bay looked for impact players in the 2020 NFL draft.

Jack Kirk, Sports Editor

After acquiring six-time super bowl champion Tom Brady during the offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the job to draft pieces that would be ready to play as soon as possible. With their seven picks, it would be hard to draft better than they did in the 2020 NFL draft.
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With their first pick in the draft, which was number 13, Tampa Bay took offensive tackle Tristans Wirfs out of Iowa after trading their number 14 pick with the San Francisco 49ers. With Tampa’s quarterback turning 43 years old before the season starts, protection should have been the team’s top priority with their first pick. This is exactly what the Buccaneers got with the 2019 Big Ten offensive lineman of the year. With former Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston being sacked 47 times last years, the Buccaneers had to sure up the line or else it would be hard to believe Brady would survive the entire season.

In the second round, the Buccaneers looked to improve the team on the other side of the ball with safety Antoine Winfield Jr. The safety out of LSU is the son of former NFL All-Pro cornerback Antoine Winfield Sr., and will look to have similar success as his father. Winfield Jr. was a first team All-Big Ten player as well as first a first team Associated Press All-American in the 2019 season for Minnesota. Tampa Bay was ranked 30th in passing yards allowed in the 2019 season, so finding a good safety or defensive back was a goal for this draft, which is why Winfield Jr. will be wearing the red and pewter next season.

The Buccaneers picked up Vanderbilt running back Ke’shawn Vaughn with their third pick, which I think will end up being a big pick up for the round that he was drafted. In New England Brady almost always had a pass-catching back for plays that the receivers could not get separation. Vaughn will be a good fit for this role, as he is an elusive back with decent speed who caught a fair amount of passes in his time with Vanderbilt. While I do not expect him to be in the conversation for offensive rookie of the year or anything, I think Vaughn will play many meaningful snaps in his first year with the team.

In the later rounds Tampa Bay got some depth for some of their positions. With their fourth pick they got Minnesota receiver Tyler Johnson to back up Pro Bowl receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Their next pick saw them pick up Nebraska defensive tackle Khalil Davis, who will be behind Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh. Their first of two seventh-round picks saw them increase their inside linebacker depth behind Lavonte David and Kendell Beckwith with the the pick up of Temple’s Chapelle Russell. The last pick for Tampa was used on another running back, Raymond Calais from Louisiana-Lafayette.

With these draft picks, I think most will make an immediate impact and help the Brady-led Buccaneers try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.