At this point, even those analysts who fill out post-draft report cards are quick to acknowledge that a draft class can’t really be accurately judged for several years. Still, reading those report cards are a fun part of the whole draft-coverage process for fans, so here’s a look at what various media outlets are saying about the Bucs’ 2013 efforts:
Jason Cole of Yahoo.com’s sports section hands out the highest grade we found to the Buccaneers, an A-. In his estimation, the grade hinges on one’s opinion of the Darrelle Revis trade, and he clearly is high on that move for Tampa Bay.
“My opinion is pretty obvious, and I give Tampa Bay a bit more credit for taking [Johnthan] Banks to add even more to a secondary that has to deal with some talented offenses in the NFC South,” writes Cole. “While Glennon is a questionable pick in the third round, Spence and Gholston have an immediate chance to play right away because of the free-agent departures of Roy Miller and Michael Bennett.”
Cole was pretty high on most of the draft work turned in by the NFC South, also giving the Falcons an A- and the Saints a B+, though he came down hard on the Panthers with a C+.
On ESPN, Mel Kiper’s grades are behind a subscription wall, but here’s the link of you have access to that Insider section. Kiper gives the Bucs a solid B, averaging out a B+ for “Needs” and a C+ for “Value.” Overall, his grades were pretty tame – 23 of the 32 teams got a B- or better. Kiper does have the Bucs as the highest NFC South club on his list (the teams are arranged by grade in descending order), followed by Atlanta (B), New Orleans (B) and Carolina (C+). He also thinks much of the eventual grade on this class will hinge on Revis’s success. “If Revis is Revis, we’re all happy,” writes Kiper. “After that, I thought they just did OK.”
On NFL.com, you can choose any team to read a bit of analysis on almost every player. These pages also let you see what the fans as a whole think of their team’s drafts. For the Buccaneers, the Fan Grade has come in at a B. There is no expert grade offered, but you can find bits of commentary on some of the Bucs’ picks by draft guru Mike Mayock, including this thought on second-round CB Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State:
“He fits. He fits exactly what they do, and the fact he ran 4.55 doesn’t really bother me. He’s a press corner. I don’t know if he’s got vertical skills, but he’s so long and disruptive. He fits what today’s NFL’s turning into on the edge.”
SI.com’s Chris Burke, who also analyzed each pick as the draft was going on, weighed in with his team-by-team grades when the selections were over. He gives the Bucs just a “C,” calling the Revis trade an “A” but saying the rest of the weekend was just “so-so.” This despite the fact that Burke seemed to agree with the Bucs’ first and third picks of the draft (he was less enamored of the Mike Glennon selection). “CB Johnthan Banks further upgraded a terrible pass-defense unit; DT Akeem Spence will add some punch inside,” writes Burke, who was not particularly high on the NFC South as a whole. Atlanta got a B but the Panthers and Saints also got Cs.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com knows exactly how this works, and realizes that fans want these immediate grades as much as they don’t believe them. Writes Prisco:
“Is there anything that infuriates people more than draft-day grades? Get prepared to get angry again. I truly don’t think you can grade drafts for three years, but we all do it right away, which does two things. It angers the fans. And it angers the teams. So what? You might not like these grades, but I’ll give them anyway. I love doing them, and then wait three years to see how wrong we all were — teams included.
Right on, Pete! Anyway, Buc fans won’t really mind because he gives the team a B+, also factoring in the Revis deal. Prisco is also high on the team’s fourth-round pick, Illinois DT Akeem Spence, writing:
“Best pick: Fourth-round defensive tackle Akeem Spence can step in and start next to Gerald McCoy. They stole him in the fourth round.”
If you like consuming your draft grades in photo essay format, head over to FOXSports.com. (Here’s the Bucs’ specific page.) The photo captions include grades from three different analysts, and they’re all good for Tampa Bay. Jen Floyd Engel and Peter Schrager both give the Bucs an A while Alex Marvez chimes in with a B. Schrager was the most optimistic, liking the Revis trade and very much approving of the Banks selection.
Oh, and if you want your grades with a little local flavor, here’s what The Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman had to say on TBO.com. Kaufman obviously doesn’t believe in grade inflation, because he handed out nothing better than a B- to all the teams in the NFC South. That top grade went to the Bucs, with the Saints getting a C+ and the Falcons and Panthers each drawing a C. Again, Kaufman utilized the full A-to-F range a lot more than Kiper, for example, giving out just two solid As, and just as many Fs.