2024 NFL Draft grades: Bucs receive high praise on post-draft report card

2024 NFL Draft grades: Bucs receive high praise on post-draft report card

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t stray away from using young players in their key positions, and after the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bucs are confident they addressed their needs for the upcoming year.

The three-time defending NFC South champions added young Bucs’ running back Rachaad White and tight end Cade Otton two years ago, which proved to be successes in Tampa.

A look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2024 NFL Draft picks

General manager, and the mastermind behind the Bucs draft, selected three more starters in 2023 –– defensive lineman Calijah Kancey, right guard Cody Mauch and linebacker Yaya Diaby.

Now, the Buccaneers are confident they’ve landed another strong group of prospects –– headed by their first-round draft pick, center Graham Barton – that are capable of making the roster stronger.

With the conclusion of the three-day spectacle, the Buccaneers passed this year’s draft exam with flying colors from sports analysts, receiving a B+ as the consensus. Despite the seven rookies not stepping foot on the gridiron, the analysts’ grades are subjective.

Here’s how analysts graded the Bucs’ 2024 draft picks:

Chad Reuter of B+

NFL’s Chad Reuter gave the Bucs’ first-round pick Graham Barton an A before handing out grades for each day of the draft.

Day 1 grade: A

Day 2 grade: B

Day 3 grade: C+

“Barton’s versatility, intelligence and toughness will make him one of the top linemen in this draft despite falling into the back part of the first round. Braswell met the team’s need for an edge rusher but will need to prove he was worth his draft standing. Smith should contribute immediately, and McMillan could be a playmaker as his game matures,” he wrote.

Bleacher Report’s Scouting Department: A-

Bleacher Reports Scouting Department concluded that the Bucs did the “sensible thing at No. 26” by selecting an interior lineman in Graham Barton, adding that the team likely found their long-term replacement for Ryan Jensen.

The staff writers also noted the selection of Alabama edge-rusher Chris Braswell and praised Tykee Smith’s ability to play safety or in the slot and Jaden McMillan’s “savvy rout-running.”

“Tampa was a playoff team in 2023, albeit a flawed one. General manager Jason Licht did a lot of work to keep their roster together and did an even better job strengthening it through the draft.”

Pete Prisco of CBS: B+

CBS’ Pete Prisco started off his report card praising the Buccaneers for selecting wide receiver Jalen McMillan in the third round, calling the former Washington Husky “a major steal.”

“They did a nice job landing good players and also filling needs. It started with first-round guard-center Graham Barton, who will likely be the starting center. Braswell was picked for need and will be a rotation player early. I do like McMillan and fifth-round running back Bucky Irving,” Prisco wrote.

Mel Kiper of ESPN: B

Kiper stated that he believes Barton will boost the Buccaneers’ run game and also agreed that snagging Jalen McMillan in the third round was a steal.

“The Bucs had a balanced first two days of the draft. Graham Barton (26) is my top-ranked center, and he’ll immediately help a run game that ranked 32nd in yards per attempt (3.4) last season. While he played left tackle at Duke, he has All-Pro upside at the pivot. Chris Braswell (57) has been underrated for the past few months. The edge rusher isn’t the flashiest player, but he is an all-around defender with an interesting skill set as a pass-rusher. Tampa Bay has to get better on the edge in 2024,” Kiper said.

FOX Sports NFL Staff: B+

FOX Sports’ Greg Auman dished that despite the Bucs making no trades, the Tampa Bay team was still able to pull in a “strong class that hit on key needs.”

“The Bucs made no trades but still pulled in a strong class that hit on key needs. Center Graham Barton leads the way, with edge Chris Braswell, nickel Tykee Smith and receiver Jalen McMillan all in the top 100 picks. There were no trades, no small-school gems to be found, but they brought in potential impact players all over the field. Tampa Bay had the same record as New Orleans, but picked 12 spots later in each round as a result of being division champ,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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