While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put together an impressive NFL Draft class, the front office revealed the one area the team missed on.
It was an overall fantastic draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which seems to be indicative of the offseason as a whole.
Entering the new league year, the Bucs had a $55 million salary cap knot to untangle and $35 million in dead cap space after the retirement of Tom Brady. Outside of the financials, the loss of Brady cast a shadow over free agency and fans were prepared for the worst.
Despite all of this, Jason Licht and the front office re-signed Jamel Dean and Lavonte David while adding Baker Mayfield and a handful of other role players. It was the complete opposite of what fans were expecting, but was a reminder of how gifted the team’s front office is.
It was success that carried over into the NFL Draft.
Tampa Bay added eight new rookies over the weekend, landing a top target in Calijah Kancey and a new fan-favorite in guard Cody Mauch. Although the team walked away with a great class, it didn’t get everything it wanted.
Buccaneers front office reveals one big NFL Draft miss this year
After the NFL Draft, Bucs vice president of player personnel John Spytek spoke to the media and revealed one area the team targeted but missed out on based on how the board fell.
That position, unsurprisingly, was offensive tackle.
“I felt like we wanted a tackle, but you just can’t get everything you want in the draft,” Spytek said. “Unless you want to lose a bunch of games every year and then you can pick in the Top 5 then you can pick whoever you want. We tried to. We have a great process. We take everything into account – the character of the kid, the film, the position of value. It’s less about position of need than it is the position of value, and we try to rank it that way and we try stick to it.“
In most mock drafts leading into the weekend the Bucs seemed to be locked in as drafting Darnell Wright from Tennessee. Broderick Jones from Georgia and Anton Harrison out of Oklahoma were also closely connected to the Bucs but none of them ended up in Tampa Bay.
Wright was the second tackle taken and kicked off a run that involved the Steelers trading up for land Jones. Harrison was on the board for the Bucs but they passed to draft Kancey and watched the Jaguars take Harrison a handful of picks later.
To be fair, the Bucs did add an offensive lineman, but the regret about not being able to draft a tackle seems to confirm that Mauch will play at guard. The reshuffling of the line was something the team was setting up before the draft arrived, shifting Tristan Wirfs to left tackle to replace Donovan Smith with Luke Goedeke projected to get the first crack at winning the right tackle job.
With Cody Mauch at guard and Ryan Jensen holding court at center, that leaves just one spot on the line as a question mark.
Given what the team went through last year upfront, and the general uncertainty surrounding the unit this offseason, it seems like the Bucs are in a good spot despite missing out on a tackle.