Draft Grades – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 26 Tampa Bay Bucs Grade: D
The Bucs’ draft may be defined by the Revis trade, but, as I pointed out in the comments to the Jets section, it’s possible Revis will have negative roster value even before factoring in the 1st round pick. Revis is entering his age 28 season, is returning from serious injury, and wasn’t dominant for large stretches of 2010. He would have a ton of value on a Super Bowl caliber team, but the way the NFL salary cap works those are precisely the types of teams that can’t afford him. (His completion percentage and passer rating allowed were spectacular in 2011, although only marginally better than the numbers Richard Sherman put up last year.)
Revis will get the attention, but the overall success of the Bucs’ revamped pass defense may depend on second round pick Johnathan Banks. The Mississippi State star won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back but was passed by teammate Darius Slay in the pre-draft phase. Banks lacks the athleticism of most NFL corners and may end up transitioning to safety.
Of course, the biggest issue in Tampa isn’t pass defense but pass offense. The Bucs have rightly identified Josh Freeman’s scattershot accuracy as a limiting factor in their offensive development. Freeman is younger than you think, showed excellent development in his final year in college, and could be on the verge of a breakout. But failing to truly build on his 2010 pro campaign is a big red flag. Tampa smartly wanted to hedge their bets. It was therefore shocking to see them use a third round pick on a quarterback with the exact same limitation.
Mike Glennon is a much longer shot than Freeman. He profiled out at an almost undraftable level in our final pre-draft QB rankings. While many have been inaccurately comparing E.J. Manuel to Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker, the NC State signal-caller actually does possess a profile that is eerily reminiscent. If there’s a good sign for Glennon, it’s that his numbers in difficult situations weren’t as worrisome as his overall numbers and weren’t that much worse than the ones Russell Wilson put up there two years ago.
The Bucs want a big-armed quarterback who can attack vertically, but sometimes trying to force such a fit leads to very poor deployment of resources. I addressed exactly this issue with another vertical passing team – the Arizona Cardinals – and explained how Glennon doesn’t project as an upgrade on John Skelton and Ryan Lindley. For Tampa Bay fans, that’s a frightening prospect.