The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books and the Bucs did some undeniably good things across the three days. General Manager Jason Licht was able to turn two picks in the Top 100 into a total of five players drafted, all while nabbing Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea with their first pick at No. 12.
Widely considered the best defensive tackle in the draft, the Bucs further fortified their new-look defensive line with their first-round pick and seemed to address all glaring needs in the later rounds, as well.
See below for what people are saying abou the Bucs' 2018 Draft class.
Chad Reuter: A-
Reuter: "Vea could be a difference-maker against the run and as a penetrator in the interior. There was better value at a position of need in Florida State safety Derwin James. They could have picked a nose tackle later in the draft. But they did pick up two second-round picks by trading back only five spots in the first round. That haul resulted in a starting running back in Jones, who can do a bit of everything and was a worthy selection. Pairing Stewart with outside corner Carlton Davis gives the Bucs depth. Cappa is a starting guard for the Buccaneers sooner than later. He'll get after it in a big way. Whitehead (fourth round) could turn out to be a starter at free safety if he can be physical with bigger receivers and overcome off-field concerns. Watson earned fans during the post-season process and has the chance to be a fit as a fourth receiver. Cichy missed his final season at Wisconsin due to injury, but could rebound in 2018 to be a solid contributor in the middle."
Pete Prisco: A
Prisco: "They needed players on defense and they landed a bunch of talented guys who can help, thanks in part to a trade down in the first round. Defensive tackle Vita Vea gives them much needed bulk up front and they took some secondary players who will help. I really like the pick of corner Carlton Davis in the third. Second-round pick Ronald Jones will be a star. Watch out for this team next year."
Mel Kiper Jr.: B
Kiper: "I was a little surprised the Bucs didn't go with safety Derwin James because he was still on the board, but I like Vea, even if tackle wasn't a huge need. He should eat up blockers next to Gerald McCoy. GM Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter clearly identified the weakest spot on the team and fortified it this offseason.
The Bucs added two second-round picks from the Bills in that trade -- those are two really important and premium selections -- and ended up picking four times on Day 2. Running pack Ronald Jones II (pick 38) could be an immediate starter. He has breakaway speed but wasn't used much in the passing game in college. Then Licht went with back-to-back cornerbacks in M.J. Stewart (53) and Carlton Davis (63), trying to address that need in the secondary. Former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III has been a disappointment, so expect Stewart and Davis to compete right away. Alex Cappa (94) is a developmental prospect who was named Northwest Athletic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year each of the past four seasons. He'll need time to adjust to the NFL. I had safety Jordan Whitehead (117) farther down on my board -- he's not very big. If Jack Cichy (202) stays healthy, he could be a good player."
View pictures of the Buccaneers' second-round pick, USC RB Ronald Jones II. Photos by AP Images.
Nate Davis: B+
Davis: "GM Jason Licht was aggressive, winding up with three second rounders, while wisely procuring toughness. First-round DT Vita Vea, second-round CBs M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis and third-round G Alex Cappa addressed needs while bringing attitude. Round 2 RB Ronald Jones is a home run waiting to happen as Doug Martin's replacement."
Ian Wharton: B+
Wharton: "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did well to move back and collect two second-round picks in the 2018 NFL draft. They had the chance to add safety Derwin James to their secondary but instead went with mammoth defensive tackle Vita Vea in the first round. Vea is not yet a complete three-down player but is a terrific athlete for his size and is the latest investment this offseason as the team tries to shore up a woeful run defense."
Jeanna Thomas: B
Thomas: "Vita Vea was the best defensive tackle option in this draft. But the Bucs had bigger needs in the secondary, and they passed up Derwin James to grab Vea."
Pewter Report – Individual grades
Scott Reynolds on Vita Vea: A-
Reynolds: "Bucs fans seem divided over the Vea selection, but Gerald McCoy won't play forever and Tampa Bay is getting a massive 6-foot-4, 347-pound defensive tackle that can play the nose or the three-technique spot. The drafting of Vea is as much for down the road as it is for this year.