For The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, It’s New Draft, Same Scenario

Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are once again in a fabulous situation ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.

It’s crazy how a quick announcement to un-retire changes things and yet brings them back to homeostasis. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got great news that Tom Brady would return for yet another season, changing his mind after a couple months in retirement.

Brady’s return triggered a number of events in free agency for the Bucs. Ryan Jensen returned to anchor the offensive line and to continue to be the tone-setter up front. Carlton Davis also decided to return to Tampa to help out a secondary that was gashed by injuries in 2021.

If that wasn’t enough, Brady recruited former Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage to come to play on a 3-year, $30 million deal. Not to mention, Shaq Mason is coming to fill one of the open guard spots, and it only took a fifth round pick to get him from New England.

They don’t have everyone back, as Alex Cappa left for Cincinnati, Ali Marpet retired, and Ndamukong Suh isn’t likely to return, but there’s plenty left to be considered an NFC favorite, which leaves them in a great situation for the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can yet again be in BPA-mode in the draft.

The 27th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft is not a bad one to have. The conclusion to the hypothesis of where the draft value lies in this class is in the day two range, and day two grades will have begun to come off the board by the time the Buccaneers pick in the first round. Still, they can go a lot of different directions.

Joe-Tryon Shoyinka wasn’t a true need pick in 2021, but adding more pass rushers to the cupboard is always a good idea. Jason Pierre-Paul is likely nearing the end of his career, so if a top edge rusher falls, like Purdue’s George Karlaftis, or they feel fine going with a redshirt guy like David Ojabo, they have that option.

Defensive tackle is probably the biggest “need” for the Buccaneers. It’s not impossible for one of the Georgia defenders to be available (probably Devonte Wyatt), but assuming both are off the board, they could opt for another defensive tackle at this pick.

The idea of getting a one-gap penetration type next to Vita Vea is reportedly the leading thought in the Bucs room, and Perrion Winfrey fits the bill. He’s a quick player off the ball who plays with good agility, power, and pass rushing chops. His pad level needs work, but he’d be well worth it to develop.

The Buccaneers do have versatile offensive lineman Robert Hainsey in house, but if one of the top guards (Zion Johnson or Kenyon Green) fall to 27, they could be the selection as a plug-and-play starter.

Corner could potentially be the move as well, with both Sean Bunting and Jamel Dean set to be free agents in 2023. It’s hard to get a good grasp on where corners will go outside of Gardner and Stingley, but someone like Kaiir Elam, Andrew Booth, or even Trent McDuffie are options for sure.

Then, there’s the idea of going scorched earth and selecting someone like Treylon Burks to make the wide receiver room as loaded as it was when Antonio Brown was added to the roster. Burks would give Brady another deep threat with the size and speed to beat press, along with great skills at the catch point and after the catch.

No matter what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do, they’ll end up with a good player at 27. They can let the draft come to them and pounce on a good player falling to their spot. It’s a great problem to have, and it’s happening for a second year in a row.