National media outlets varied in their opinions of the Bucs’ draft class, grading it everywhere from an A-minus to a C-plus. Or, in one case, “above average.” So, some really liked it. Others, not quite as much. But none really seemed to hate it.
Here is what they had to say:
Andy Benoit gives the Bucs an A-minus:
“This draft underscores that the Bucs do not have many needs on offense, and why the brass in Tampa Bay felt that a coaching change—Dirk Koetter out, Bruce Arians in—was the best way to improve on that side of the ball. When was the last time an offensive-minded head coach saw his new team draft defense and special teams with its first six picks?"
Chad Reuter gives the Bucs a C-plus:
"White is a star inside linebacker who will lead the Bucs’ defense for years to come. Thankfully, his talent was not overlooked due to the diminished value that’s often placed on his position. If Josh Allen becomes a star pass rusher, though, Tampa Bay fans will wonder “what if?”
“Bunting could be a good player for Tampa Bay, but there were other corners of higher value available in the early second round. Dean’s film was quite inconsistent, but the team thought his potential on the outside was worthy of a third-round choice. The secondary got more help with Edwards, a starter-quality safety who will compete for playing time sooner than later. However, the Bucs ignored needs at running back, wideout, and offensive line to pick those defensive backs.”
Doug Farrar gives the Bucs a C grade:
"More than half the mock drafts I saw this year had the Bucs taking LSU linebacker Devin White with the fifth overall pick, and that’s just what they did. White is the prototype modern linebacker, able to cover, fill run fits and blitz with authority. He’ll be a tone-setter in a defense desperately in need of one. The same could be said of Central Michigan cornerback Sean Bunting, a big press cornerback who will suffocate outside receivers when he gets the kinks in his technique worked out. After that, though … "
WalterFootball.com gives the Bucs an A-minus:
"It was not a surprise in the slightest that the Buccaneers used their first five picks on defense. They began by obtaining the new centerpiece of their stop unit, linebacker Devin White. The next three selections all addressed the anemic secondary, with Jamel Dean being the best of the bunch. Of those three choices, none individually scored worse than a "B" grade. Tampa’s fifth and final initial defensive choice also was graded highly, as the Anthony Nelson pick deserved an "A" because of its tremendous value."
Pro Football Focus
PFF grades the Bucs’ class above average:
"PFF’s No. 12 overall player in the class, new Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White is an extremely athletic off-ball linebacker with hands down the best coverage ability at the position in this year’s class. His ceiling at the next level is insane. He earned a 90.0 overall grade and an FBS-high 91.6 coverage grade at linebacker in 2018.
“He made probably the three best plays I’ve seen a linebacker — any linebacker in this draft — make all last season because he’s just that different athletically.”
Mark Maske gives the Bucs a B:
“The Buccaneers needed to bolster their defense, and they did just that, devoting each of their first five selections to that unit. Taking LB Devin White fifth was justified, particularly after losing Kwon Alexander in free agency.”
Nicklaus Gray gives the Bucs a B-plus:
“Tampa needed secondary help and got it with an array of defenders. I love Devin White, and if Dean and Edwards have success, this could be the draft that allows the Tampa defense to return to prominence.”
Mel Kiper gives the Bucs a C-plus:
"Here were the better corners available when Tampa Bay reached for Bunting, who is No. 87 overall on my board: Greedy Williams, Justin Layne, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Julian Love, Joejuan Williams, David Long, Trayvon Mullen and Amani Oruwariye.
“Yes, I had eight corners with higher grades than Bunting who were still on the board. Tampa Bay absolutely needed a man-cover corner, but I would have gone with Greedy Williams.”
Jenna Laine breaks down the Bucs’ draft pick by pick:
“The Bucs passed up the draft’s best edge rusher in Josh Allen and one of the best replacements for Gerald McCoy at three-technique in Ed Oliver, and many would argue that both of those positions have the potential for more impact. But the Bucs found one of the best all-around inside linebackers the NFL draft has seen in some time, drawing strong comparisons to Patrick Willis.”