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2016 Bucs Draft Grades

Ah, the NFL Draft. A time where fans for all teams get excited to see the most dynamic players in college football join their squads with the promise of improving. Now that the draft is a fresh memory, let’s take a look at how the Bucs did.

Round 1 Pick 11: Vernon Haragraves III – CB – Florida

The Bucs traded down two spots with the Bears, got a 4th round pick for it, and still got the guy they were eyeing with the 11th pick. Starting off the draft with a W is always a good thing. Although Haragraves is only 5’10”, he took top numbers at his position in the vertical and broad jumps at the combine. Being deceivingly small could be a weapon in his arsenal. Haragraves is a pure cover corner who will slide in right away to help improve a secondary that ranked 16th last year against the pass.  The grade gets a lift because of the extra draft pick they received.     Grade: A-

Round 2 Pick 39: Noah Spence – DE – Eastern Kentucky

Spence has one of the highest ceilings of any defensive line prospect in the draft. This was a great pick in the second round drafting first round talent. His talent and high end motor are unquestioned. Character concerns for Spence kept him out of the first round, but the reward far outweighs the risk in the second round. Spence has been working hard in the weight room, practice field, and off the field as well to prove to teams that he is worthy of their services. The Bucs taking notice will work out well for them. Not so much for opposing quarterbacks.     Grade: A

Round 2 Pick 59: Roberto Aguayo – K – Florida State

This was probably the most controversial move of the draft. The Bucs gave away their 3rd round pick and the 4th round pick they got from Chicago to move back into the second round and take Florida State standout kicker Roberto Aguayo. People hate the move, people love the move. Regardless of where you stand, Aguayo is the most accurate kicker in college football, within 40 yards he was money. Outside 40 he hit 71.88% of his kicks while the average in the NFL is 71.86%. Don’t hate on the player, hate on where he was taken. He has the potential to develop into the kicker of the future for the Bucs, but in the second round, he was a reach.     Grade: C-

Round 4 Pick 108: Ryan Smith – CB – North Carolina Central

The need for cornerback help has been completely addressed. Every good plan always needs a plan B. Smith could wind up being yet another pleasant surprise in the 4th round for the Bucs. Considered by many as a sleeper prospect, Smith is a hard worker who reads opposing quarterbacks well in zone coverage. His closing speed and tackling has come into question, but there is no doubt he will make the team, work on his game, and in time even have a chance at a starting gig. He seems well suited to become a slot corner. Miles Killebrew was available at this slot. Drafting him would have addressed the need at safety and would have bumped this grade to an A, but still a solid pick.   Grade: B

Round 5 Pick 148: Caleb Benenoch – OT – UCLA

Although addressed late, there was a need for depth on the offensive line. This was a great pick considering he can play both the guard and tackle position. He will provide immediate depth to the line to slide in where needed. He was recruited by UCLA as a freshman, winning their rookie of the year award, and started for them through his junior year as both a tackle and a guard. It may take time and grooming, but this was a great pick at this position for someone who could eventually find his way into the starting five.     Grade: B

Round 6 Pick 183: Devante Bond – OLB – Oklahoma

This pick was a bit of a head scratcher. On one hand, Bond has good reaction times, sheds blocks, and is decent in pass coverage. The problem is Bond is fairly new to the game. He didn’t start playing until he was a senior in high school. He also only played two years of college ball. He will need to prove his worth on special teams to earn a position on the roster. had him predicted to go undrafted so maybe Jason Licht and company see something they don’t; only time will tell.     Grade: C-

Round 6 Pick 197: Dan Vitale – FB – Northwestern

Vitale is a gifted athlete who played both fullback and halfback in his time at Northwestern. He is intelligent, very physical, and has great hands out of the backfield. A hard worker with leadership skills, this is a great late pickup. He could easily impress at camp and earn a roster spot, if not become a starter right way. Best upside for a player at this point in the draft.     Grade: A

Overall Grade: B

Between the off-season acquisitions and the talent acquired via the draft, the excitement should begin to build as the Bucs look to improve from last season.





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