NFC South Offseason Grades: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We continue our three-part series grading out each NFC South team's offseason, including the 2021 NFL Draft, free agency, and hires/fires. Next up, the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't been relevant for a while, but since adding former New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady, it has been a complete culture change. The Bucs added other stars such as Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, LeSean McCoy among many others last offseason. Those moves ultimately helped lead them to a Super Bowl victory.
This offseason’s roster doesn't look much different from last season’s, with Tampa keeping all 22 of their starters. They are the first Super Bowl-winning team to ever bring back all of the starters, after players such as Chris Godwin, Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, and Antonio Brown were all re-signed this offseason.
Bringing back their own was the most important step for the Buccaneers, starting with franchise-tagging wide receiver Chris Godwin. Godwin has grown into one of the top slot receivers in the entire NFL. Extending LaVonte David was also a priority because of cap space and, of course, long-term security. Extending David (and Tom Brady) added cap space to help keep other fellow Buccaneers such as star pass rusher Shaq Barrett.
Tampa certainly didn't need any more help, but if they did it was at the receiving back position. The team went on to sign veteran dual-threat running back Giovani Bernard, adding him to the backfield with Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn among others.
April’s draft for the Bucs consisted of seven picks. With not many obvious needs, they went into the draft with the ability to add depth to their roster. With their top-round selection, they added depth with high potential in Joe Tryon, OLB, from Washington, 32nd overall. Their next selection was not a surprise to many, selecting Heisman hopeful QB Kyle Trask from Florida. The rest of the draft went like so...
Round 3, No. 95 overall: Robert Hainsey, OT, Notre Dame.
Round 4, No. 129 overall: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas.
Round 5, No. 176 overall: K.J. Britt, ILB, Auburn.
Round 7, No. 251 overall: Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU.
Round 7, No. 259 overall: Grant Stuard, LB, Houston.
For Tampa Bay coming off a Super Bowl win, they had a very successful offseason while keeping all their stars and adding more depth to their roster. No team has ever brought back all 22 starters after winning the Super Bowl, but of course, the Bucs did.
Draft Grade: A-
Free Agency: A+
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