After 16 weeks of rounding up mock drafts from analysts around the country – the real thing finally happened and the Bucs ended up with a stellar 2020 draft class.
Don't take my word for it. Take the word of those same analysts (and then some), who have the Bucs' class graded very highly. If you need a refresher on who Tampa Bay selected, here you go:
Round 1 – T Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Round 2 – S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota
Round 3 – RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
Round 5 – WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
Round 6 – DT Khalil Davis, Nebraska
Round 7 – LB Chapelle Russell, Temple
Round 7 – RB Raymond Calais, Louisiana
Now, without further ado, see what draftniks have to say about this crop of young men and how they'll fit in with the Buccaneers.
Analysis: "The Buccaneers didn't fool around in trying to get Tom Brady the best right tackle they could, trading up one spot in the first round to secure Wirfs. Winfield should become a playmaker in the secondary while Vaughn should develop into a solid running back -- even if he was maybe picked one round too early. Despite possessing just average athleticism, Johnson was a big-time producer for Golden Gophers, even earning MVP honors in the Outback Bowl. Davis is an active and athletic backup for 2018 first-rounder Vita Vea. Don't blink when Calais gets the ball, as he has the speed to run by guys (4.42 40) and isn't afraid to initiate contact. GM Jason Licht will scour his list of top undrafted free agents for young pass rusher depth."
Analysis: "If you look at the Bucs' depth chart, it's remarkably similar to the 2019 team. They have had very little turnover ... except for two massive additions at quarterback and tight end. So for a 7-9 team that thinks it is now a Super Bowl contender, the draft was extremely important. General manager Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians needed to find instant-impact players with their first two picks. The result? Two prospects I really like, one who will help protect Tom Brady (and allow Rob Gronkowski to run a few more routes) and another who could be a Swiss Army knife in the secondary.
Tampa traded up one spot to make sure it got offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (13) -- it had to throw in a fourth-rounder to move -- and I love the fit. Wirfs played both left and right tackle at Iowa, and I expect him to have a long career. This was the biggest hole on the roster, and don't forget that Brady, who turns 43 in August, really struggled under pressure last season, completing just 32% of his passes under duress, which ranked 30th in the NFL. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (45) is only 5-foot-9, but he just makes plays. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can use him as a deep safety, as a slot corner or even down closer to the line of scrimmage.
I had running back as a need for the Bucs, and they picked up Ke'Shawn Vaughn (76), but I liked Zack Moss more. Tyler Johnson (161) is an inconsistent wide receiver, and I don't see how he helps them anytime soon.
The Bucs have missed the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, the second-longest active drought in the NFL. They didn't have much depth here, but they got two good players at the top."
Analysis: Day 1: "Tampa Bay traded picks Nos. 14 and 117 to the 49ers in exchange for picks Nos. 13 and 245 to make sure former Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs will be blocking for Tom Brady in 2020. He's coming off a career year with the Hawkeyes, having earned a 91.8 overall grade that ranked fourth among qualifying tackles. His technique will need to improve at the next level, but his freakish athleticism and power combine for a high, high ceiling in the NFL — a slam dunk pick for the Buccaneers.
Day 2:Antoine Winfield Jr., a former Minnesota safety with NFL bloodlines, is a strong selection for Tampa Bay at No. 45. He is an uber-instinctive player who also checked some boxes at the Combine with his 4.45-second 40-yard dash.
"I think he can do a lot of things that you want from a versatile, modern safety… You can tell when a safety just sees things at a different level, and it shows up again and again on Winfield's tape this past season. The injury history is a concern. But I'm more than willing to take a shot on him here." — PFF's Mike Renner
Vaughn is a solid zone runner with plus speed and burst. He'll get what's blocked and then a little extra. He ranked seventh among running backs and 146th on PFF's final big board.
Day 3:The rich get richer. Getting Tyler Johnson — the 48th-ranked player on the PFF Big Board — at pick 161 to play on an offense that already features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard is borderline unfair. Johnson generates separation at one of the highest rates in the class, but even when he doesn't, he owns one of the highest contested-catch rates in the class as well. That's how you earn back-to-back receiving grades over 90.0."
Analysis: "Before the draft even arrived, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had made some major moves to retool their offense. Not only did they sign free-agent quarterback Tom Brady, but they also added tight end Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to reunite with Brady in Tampa Bay.
With top wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin already in the fold, the Bucs' offense was shaping up to be one of the better units in the NFL. They just needed to add to their offensive line to help bolster it and protect Brady.
That's why it was a great move for Tampa Bay to trade up one spot to the No. 13 pick in order to secure Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs, one of the top offensive linemen in the class. It was a bit surprising that Wirfs fell out of the top 10 and was still on the board when the Bucs drafted him.
Tampa Bay also brought in a top prospect for the defensive side of the ball, as it drafted Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. in the second round. Winfield, whose dad played against Brady for years, has the potential to make a big impact out of the secondary.
In all, the draft was another positive step for the Buccaneers as they aim to set themselves up to have success in 2020."
And for a whole bunch more grades, check out this compilation in which the Bucs do pretty, pretty good (I finally started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm).