Ranking every Tampa Bay Buccaneers first round draft pick since 2014

A power ranking of every first-round draft pick made during the Jason Licht era.
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5. Calijah Kancey, EDGE/Pittsburgh - 2023 NFL Draft - Round 1, Pick 19

Calijah Kancey was the Buccaneers' first-round draft choice in the 2023 NFL Draft. Despite only one season with the team, Kancey is poised to cement himself as one of Licht's best draft picks, and with time he can move further up this list.

The Buccaneers have a history of great defensive tackles. Warren Sapp, Gerald McCoy, and Vita Vea are examples of premier defensive tackles who were drafted and developed into stars in Tampa Bay. Kancey is destined to continue the tradition as his career progresses.

Despite missing four games due to injury, Kancey was able to earn four sacks in his rookie campaign. In comparison, Sapp, McCoy, and Vita all notched three sacks each in their respective rookie campaigns. The four players landed in the same ballpark for tackles made in their rookie season.

The favorable comparison between Kancey and these players is very encouraging. Sapp would go on to become a Hall of Famer and one of the best defensive tackles ever. McCoy was a three-time All-Pro and a perennial Pro Bowler, and Vea is consistently one of the league's best at the position, especially as a run-stuffer.

The organization has very high expectations for Kancey, as they expect him to continue the franchise's tradition of developing dominant defensive tackles that wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Plus, Kancey enjoys the luxury of playing next to and learning from Vita Vea, who makes life easier for everyone on the defensive line by absorbing double teams and opening up pass-rush opportunities for his teammates.

Expect Kancey to take another step forward in his development in 2024 and take on an even bigger role for the Bucs' defense.