In one of the most exciting NFL free agency periods in recent memory, Tom Brady retiring and then “un-retiring” is just one of the many headlines.
For the Buccaneers, it’s been a complete change of scenery, going from potentially Blaine Gabbert or Kyle Trask as the starting quarterback, to Brady returning. Now, all of a sudden, Tampa Bay is right back in the discussion of the top teams in the NFL.
Given the state of the NFC South, the Bucs should easily handle this division and be one of the top NFC teams in 2022.
Buccaneers NFL Draft Picks 2022
- Round 2, Pick 1 (33rd Overall): Logan Hall, DE, Houston
- Round 2, Pick 25 (57th Overall): Luke Goedeke, G, Central Michigan
- Round 3, Pick 27 (91st Overall): Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
- Round 4, Pick 1 (106th Overall): Cade Otton, TE, Washington
- Round 4, Pick 28 (133rd Overall): Jake Camarda, P, Georgia
- Round 5, Pick 14 (157th Overall): Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
- Round 6, Pick 40 (218th Overall): Ko Kieft, TE, Minnesota
- Round 7, Pick 27 (248th Overall): Andre Anthony, LB, LSU
The Buccaneers have a few positions that needed to be addressed in the NFL Draft after Tom Brady announced he would be back for at least one more season. The shocking surprise retirement from Ali Marpet left a big hole on this solid offensive line. Losing Alex Cappa to the Bengals hurt, but they were able to retain center Ryan Jensen.
The defensive line also needs some help as Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh are both expected to be done in Tampa. On top of that, Rob Gronkowski still hasn’t re-signed, but I imagine that he will at some point.
After trading back out of the first round, the Buccaneers selected a stud pass-rusher in Logan Hall out of Houston. With their own second-round pick, they took a small-school guard in Central Michigan’s Luke Goedeke. Marpet was also a small-school offensive lineman, so we’ll see if Tampa Bay can hit on another one.
One pick I liked a lot was grabbing Rachaad White, the running back out of Arizona State, in Round 3. With Ronald Jones now with the Chiefs, the Buccaneers need someone to compliment Leonard Fournette. White profiles very well as a pass-catcher, which they’ve been desperately needed at the running back spot in recent years.
Tampa Bay also took two tight ends, Cade Otton in the fourth round and Ko Kieft in seventh. This makes sense as Gronkowski remains un-signed and O.J. Howard signed with the Buffalo Bills.
All in all, this was a very solid draft. The Buccaneers did a great job of trading back to acquire more picks while finding value at the same time with players like Hall and White.
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Note: The Buccaneers NFL Draft predictions below were published before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pre-Draft Buccaneers NFL Mock Draft Predictions 2022
- Round 1, Pick 27 (27th Overall): Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
- Round 2, Pick 28 (60th Overall): Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State
- Round 3, Pick 27 (91st Overall): Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
- Round 4, Pick 28 (133rd Overall): Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
More Possible Buccaneers Draft Targets: Zion Johnson, Guard, Boston College
Zion Johnson is one of the best guards in this class. On the off-chance that he falls to 27, which he has in some recent mock drafts, I think he’d be an absolute steal for the Buccaneers.
Pre-Draft Buccaneers Team Needs 2022
Losing your two starting offensive guards is a massive blow to any team. Shaq Mason will handle the right guard duties, but the Bucs still need a left guard and obviously, protecting Brady should be their top priority.
2. EDGE Rusher
Next up for the Buccaneers is their defensive line. Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh are both free agents. Pierre-Paul is 33 with a significant injury history. Suh is 35 and could retire at any point in time and no one would think twice about it.
William Gholston is also a free agent and he’ll turn 31 later this year. Locking up Vita Vea with a long-term deal was huge for the Bucs’ defensive line, which has been one of, if not the best against the run over the past couple years. Filling in the pieces around him and getting younger is a priority.
3. Running Back
Leonard Fournette is back after signing a three-year deal. This is a bit expected after Brady announced he was returning, despite talks of Fournette potentially asking for too much money.
Fournette is older for an RB and it’s hard to imagine him walking away from a chance at another Super Bowl run behind Brady, so he’s back in Tampa, alongside Ke’Shawn Vaughn, as the two running backs on the roster.
In the wake of Fournette’s deal, I’m expecting both Ronald Jones and Giovani Bernard to sign elsewhere. Jones recently visited the Chiefs.
At 27, Fournette can be a solid piece for a few more years, but they still need some depth and youth at the position. I expect Tampa Bay to grab a running back in the later rounds of this draft.
Buccaneers May Also Consider Drafting: CB, WR, TE