First round (No. 32 overall pick)
Who: Joe Tryon
Position: Edge rusher
How he fits: Bucs general manager Jason Licht said the Bucs have the luxury of bringing Tryon along slowly with Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul returning at outside linebacker. The team was impressed by Tryon’s athleticism. He ran a 4.68 40-yard dash and had a 35-inch vertical jump while bench pressing 225 pounds 22 times. Tryon says his game compares favorably to Cardinals Pro Bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones. Coach Bruce Arians said Tryon will play special teams while learning the nuances of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme from Barrett and Pierre-Paul. In addition to Tryon’s length (6-foot-5) and full-throttle approach, Arians said he was taken with his sheer power, improved drops in pass coverage and closing speed.
Second round (64th overall pick)
Who: Kyle Trask
How he fits: The Bucs have the oldest quarterback room in the NFL, and the most expensive. Tom Brady earns about $25 million per year while Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin, who are both 31, earn about $1.1 million Trask will give them a younger, less expensive option. When offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen attended Trask’s pro day, it was to check out his arm strength in person. In their evaluation, there wasn’t much difference between Trask and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who went 15th overall to the Patriots. The offense fits Trask as well. The Bucs try to take pressure off the quarterback by running the ball. The Bucs need a young quarterback to win one of the three jobs and develop into a possible starter without the urgency to play. They couldn’t have found a better fit.
Third round (95th overall pick)
Who: Robert Hainsey
School: Notre Dame
Position: Offensive lineman
How he fits: “He’s a captain, he’s a tough guy, he’s very smart,” Licht said of Hainsey, a tackle in college who projects as a guard or center in the NFL. “He’s got all the traits that our current group have. I think he’s going to fit in great. He’s going to be a guy that hopefully we can plug in at several positions and be a four-spot guy possibly at some point.” Said Arians, “Some guys will balk at going to different positions. (Hainsey) was more than willing (to try) left guard, right guard, center. And he showed position flexibility against some of the best guys in the draft. I think for him, it’s just coming in and finding what’s the best niche for him, and for us to find that niche.”
Fourth round (129th overall pick)
Who: Jaelon Darden
School: North Texas
Position: Wide receiver
How he fits: Jaelon Darden is only 5-feet-8, but the Bucs believe he can make a big impact for them as a receiver and kick returner. Of course, the Bucs appear already loaded at the receiver position with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson returning. But they wanted to add speed, and Darden runs the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds. He was also extremely productive in college, catching 74 passes for 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns in just nine games in 2020. That vaulted him atop North Texas’ career list for receptions (230), receiving yards (2,782) and receiving touchdowns (38).
Fifth round (176th overall pick)
Who: K.J. Britt
How he fits: Britt is a fierce interior run defender — “I wrote down, ‘violent,’ about five times on my scouting report on him,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay — but doesn’t project as an every-down linebacker, at least not immediately. He must first make the transition to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme and almost certainly will be employed as a special-teams enforcer in the immediate future.
Seventh round (251st overall pick)
Who: Chris Wilcox
How he fits: The Bucs like big cornerbacks, and they found one in the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Wilcox. He’s also fast, wowing scouts at the BYU pro day by running the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds. “We liked him as a corner because of his length,” Licht said. “And his speed. He fits the profile of the guys we have here. Our guys have long arms and can run. He’s going to fit right in with them and learn from them and hopefully develop into a good player.”
Seventh round (259th overall pick)
Who: Grant Stuard
How he fits: “We love him as a person and obviously as a player,” Licht said. “I think he’s got a lot of emotion on the field. He’s had a little bit of a tough life. He’s been taking care of his (four) siblings ... but he’s a very mature person and a very accountable person and a very accountable football player.” Said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, ““He was a tackling machine on special teams early on (at Houston). He will be that special teams dynamo, going down and making that huge and impactful hit.”
• • •
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.