Officially time for Buccaneers 2021 draft class to step up

Kyle Trask, Robert Hainsey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Trask, Robert Hainsey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

With the offseason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already begun to face, it’s now the Buccaneers 2021 draft class’s time to shine in newfound roles.

This offseason has certainly been something. Going in, we knew that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have a plethora of players set to hit free agency, and it would be an uphill battle when it comes to the Buccaneers attempting to retain as many players as possible. If that wasn’t stressful enough, a little ballplayer by the name of Tom Brady finally decided to retire, leaving the Bucs’ future at quarterback in question.

Speaking of retirements, guard Ali Marpet also shockingly announced his retirement from football at the age of 28 following his first, and apparently only, Pro Bowl season. In a nutshell, Jason Licht and company have their work cut out for them.

Fortunately, the Buccaneers have players in-house that may be able to contribute.

Going into the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers were fresh off becoming the only team in Super Bowl history to bring back all 22 starters (and some change) in an attempt to repeat. With that being the case, the general notion was that the Bucs would be simply drafting for depth and taking the highest players on their board available. ONE year later, and here we are.

The 2021 Draft class has a chance to make a real impact in Tampa Bay and could make life easier for everyone involved if they are able to run with this opportunity.

First-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has already shown flashes of brilliance as a pass rusher, but with an aging defense with many veteran starters set to hit free agency, he’ll have to play with more consistency in what will surely be an increased snap count, if not a starting role with Jason Pierre-Paul’s future in doubt.

Then there’s second-round pick Kyle Trask.

While what we have seen of Trask thus far, albeit in preseason action, has been a bit of a mixed bag, the team clearly thinks highly of the former Florida Gator, otherwise, they would not have taken him in the second round. He’s had a year to learn behind Brady Gabbert, and if Trask were to take over the starting role, it’s likely that a veteran “bridge” quarterback, whether it’s re-signing Gabbert or otherwise, will start until Trask is ready to ease him into it. Will Trask be the future of the franchise? It’s impossible to say, but he has a golden opportunity right in front of him.

Elsewhere, the versatile Robert Hainsey who the Bucs selected in the third round is more likely than not penciled in to replace Marpet, or perhaps even Alex Cappa, at guard. Hainsey flexed his versatility muscles at all three interior line positions during the Senior Bowl that sent his stock soaring, which explains why the Buccaneers took him when they did. If Hainsey proves to be a diamond in the rough then the minds of fans can be eased as the offensive line won’t take too much of a hit.

Other players selected like wide receiver Jaelon Darden, and linebackers K.J. Britt and Grant Stuard will need to keep showing their worth on special teams, and what few opportunities they’ve had playing snaps. With reserve linebacker Kevin Minter being likely to leave Tampa Bay, one of these two linebackers can step up in that role. Darden meanwhile will have to keep developing as a return man and receiver to help out a crowded, yet potentially uninspiring, wide receiver room with the future of Chris Godwin in doubt.

At the end of the day, the possible “new-look” Buccaneers are going to need everyone to step up if they want to stay at the top of a significantly weakened NFC South. However, the 2021 draft class has a chance to go down in history as the class that kept the ship sailing, so long as they are able to take advantage of this opportunity.

Next. Three Bucs who may leave the team but not the state. dark