Will Buccaneers Offensive Draft Lead To Smooth Sailing In 2014?
By Christopher Scali
After some careful thought, I finally arrived at the conclusion that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a very strong showing in the 2014 NFL Draft. On the eve of the draft, Tampa Bay fans were looking for an offensive transformation and rebirth. While several fans were excited to see Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel still available when their turn to choose came, the Buccaneers decided to go in a different direction - and I must say, I am pleased with the results. I believe that this will go down as one of Tampa Bay's best draft classes in a long time and I'm excited to see how these youngsters transition to professional football come September.
For their solid draft, I awarded the Buccaneers a B+ and here is why:
With the seventh overall pick, Bucs selected Texas A&M WR Mike Evans. In all honesty, I was expecting the team to take Manziel after all of the rumors that were circulating down in Tampa. I was very pleased with this pick because I wanted a strong wide receiver that can be paired up with veteran Vincent Jackson and hold his own. The Buccaneers have suffered in the receiver department lately, especially after Tiquan Underwood was traded to the Carolina Panthers. Evans was a great addition to the Buccaneers offense, and I want to see him cause plenty of headaches for opposing defensive coordinators. Evans has the talent to help guide the Buccaneers to the playoffs.
The next draft choice that I am absolutely thrilled about is TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins from the University of Washington. As I have mentioned in previous articles, I am a huge fan of the Pac-12. Players from this conference have a strong style of play and often enjoy success in the NFL. Tight ends can be such huge playmakers in today's game - just look at Denver's Julius Thomas and New Orleans' Jimmy Graham. I want Seferian-Jenkins to be a similar weapon for Tampa Bay. In 2011, Seferian-Jenkins hauled in 41 passes for 538 yards and six touchdowns - pretty solid. Well, he outdid himself in 2012, recording 69 catches for 852 yards and seven TDs. Seferian-Jenkins will be an all-around stud for the Buccaneers this season. He can block, protect against the pass rush, score gobs of TDs - probably even walk your dog if need be. Seferian-Jenkins is poised for a big rookie campaign.
Finally, to touch base on one last player, the Buccaneers took RB Charles Sims in the third round. I am high on this selection because of all the turmoil the Bucs have suffered at the position over the past year. Sims began his collegiate career with the University of Houston in 2009 and while there, ran for 2,370 yards and 29 scores. Sims then wrapped up his college days at West Virginia, scampering for 1,095 yards and 11 more TDs. Sims has the ability to find running lanes and record catches out of the backfield. Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey and Sims could become a dangerous stable of runners to contend with.
I have only touched on a few of the offensive additions that can help the Buccaneers return to the playoffs, but the sky is the limit and the 2014 draft class will be at the forefront of this team's future success.