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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Juice Edge Rush with Second-Round Pick Chris Braswell

Tampa Bay's second-round pick in the 2024 draft is Alabama's Chris Braswell, an ultra-competitive edge rusher who never backs away from a challenge


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers solidified their offensive front on Thursday night with the first-round selection of center Graham Barton, and on Friday they added juice to the other side of the trenches. The Buccaneers' second-round pick, number 57 overall, went to Alabama edge rusher Chris Braswell.

Adding to the team's edge rush rotation, particularly after the salary-cap release of Shaquil Barrett, was a priority for the Buccaneers in the second night of the 2024 NFL draft.

"There's a premium on these guys in the league," said Buccaneers Assistant General Manager John Spytek. "You've got to be able to affect the quarterback and we think we found the one who can do that. Pass rush is always at a premium. You have to be able to affect the best quarterbacks in this league. We've got to be able to affect the Brock Purdys, the Jalen Hurtses, the Dak Prescotts in this league – we play them this year – otherwise you don't have a chance. Pass rush is at a premium for us, always will be, and I know we found another guy that's going to empty for us."

Braswell had a breakout campaign at Alabama in 2023 after playing behind first-round NFL picks Will Anderson and Dallas Turner during his first couple seasons. He racked up 8.0 sacks and led the team with three forced fumbles while showing off his first-step quickness and bull-rush abilities. The Buccaneers' scouting staff appreciated that he stuck it out at Alabama instead of transferring given the talent ahead of him on the depth chart.

"He goes to Alabama," said Spytek. "Some of these kids now, they don't play as freshman or sophomores, they're gone. He stuck behind Will Anderson and Dallas Turner, two really, really good players. All he said when he came out was about the work – 'I picked Alabama for the school and it was important for me to stick it out.' We appreciated the loyalty there and we appreciate the fact he wasn't going to run from competition or from a challenge."

View pictures of University of Alabama OLB Chris Braswell, who Tampa Bay selected in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Buccaneers had a need in their edge-rush rotation after releasing Barrett, even after the recent addition of Randy Gregory. Spytek understandably was reticent to compare Braswell to Barrett, given that the latter set a team record and led the NFL in 2019 with 19.5 sacks, but there are some similarities in their games, and reason to believe that Braswell could build off his college career.

"If you watched Shaq, Shaq was not very big but Shaq could rock tackles back with power, and then he worked everything off of that," said Spytek. "We kind of believe that's the right way to do it. The more you do this, you more you realize the kids that will play with power, that are physical…you start there and then you can teach them moves off that and they become productive.

"Chris is a direct rusher. He's got juice off the edge. He's going to come right at you. He's going to start with speed-to-power, which we always think here is really the best way to start. We want the tackles to feel you, feel your physical presence, not that you're just going to be a guy trying to run around the edge."

Braswell also fits the Bucs' mold for draft picks in his love for the game and his relentless approach to his craft.

"I think one of the things you appreciate about Chris is, you're going to get his best on every play," said Spytek. "He's going to make you block him on every play, as a rusher and as defending the run. We're big on setting the edge. We're big on keeping the run inside and you need a physical presence that's going to beat up tight ends and tackles. You've got to be able to stand up against dominant tight ends and you've got to hold your ground against the Tristan Wirfs of the world. You've got to cut the ball off from getting outside and you've got to send it back to everybody else, and he does all those things really, really well."

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