The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a run of epic proportions. After winning Super Bowl LV, they were able to jump into free agency and retain every single starter from that championship squad, along with a number of other key contributors to that title run. Then, they looked to carry that momentum into the 2021 NFL Draft. There, Tampa Bay was hoping to build off a stellar 2020 draft of a year ago where it was able to pick up a number of playmakers that helped the Bucs to their latest Lombardi Trophy, including tackle Tristan Wirfs and safety Antoine Winfield Jr.. With this latest draft now in the books, we're going to take a look at what the Bucs were able to accomplish over that three-day period and what was one thing that they may have been unable to pull off.
What the Buccaneers got right
Because the Buccaneers were able to bring the band back for the 2021 season, that opened the organization up to addressing secondary needs at the draft that mainly stretch over the long term. They followed that approach by taking outside linebacker Joe Tryon with the No. 32 pick in the first round. While the Washington pass-rusher should be able to contribute out of the gate over his rookie season, this can also be looked at as a proactive move for the Buccaneers, who now have a clear-cut replacement for veteran Jason Pierre-Paul as he enters the final year of his contract.
This theme of adding talent for the future continued into the second round where they added Florida quarterback Kyle Trask. Now, the Buccaneers have a young quarterback they can begin grooming behind Tom Brady, as he plays out the final few years of his career. In a perfect world, Tampa Bay is able to develop Trask -- who has a very similar style to Brady -- in Bruce Arians' offense and he can carry the torch whenever the seven-time Super Bowl champion hangs up his helmet. Under normal circumstances, using a second-round pick on a quarterback wouldn't be the wisest move for a team in the Buccaneers' situation, but because the team did such a solid job at keeping its core intact, it was freed up to have a bigger vision at the draft than just the 2021 season and its title defense.
What the Buccaneers didn't do
As we say that the Buccaneers had a forward-thinking view of this draft, one area where they didn't solidify a long-term option was in the backfield at running back. Currently, Tampa Bay is pretty loaded with backs after re-signing Leonard Fournette and adding Giovani Bernard to a unit that also consists of Ronald Jones, C.J. Prosise, and Ke'Shawn Vaughn. Of those five backs, however, Vaughn -- a 2020 third-round pick out of Vanderbilt -- is the only player under contract beyond 2021.
Is this a massive miscue by the organization? No. In truth, we're splitting hairs on what they "didn't do" because they've filled essentially every major hole elsewhere on the depth chart that you'd want them to either in free agency or in the draft. If a running back is their biggest problem heading into next offseason, they're more likely than not sitting pretty once again. With that said, it is noteworthy that there is a long-term depth issue at this spot.