Buccaneers draft Chris Braswell and land a top pass rusher in Round 2

Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

There were a few different directions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have gone with the No. 26 pick on Thursday night, but the same held true about their first pick on Friday.

Tampa Bay came into the draft needing to address the interior offensive line, edge rusher, and cornerback and was armed with fourt Top 100 picks to do it. Graham Barton was the team's first round pick, a move that helped the Bucs plug a major hole in the center of the line -- no pun intended.

Offensive line was the most glaring and obvious need, but it wasn't the only one that needed to be addressed nor had a deep pool of incoming talent. Cornerbacks fell like rocks on Day 1, with Kool-Aid McKinstry and Cooper DeJean not getting picked until the second round. Edge rushers were picked over a little more on Thursday but that pool was deep which boded well for what the Bucs could do on Friday night.

Not for nothing, but a handful of top guards were available too, so the possibilities were endless.

The need to add some pass rush help was too great to overlook, as the Bucs drafted Alabama's Chris Braswell with the No. 57 pick.

NFL Draft Grades: Buccaneers pick Chris Braswell with No. 57 pick

Grade: B+

With three picks on Day 2, it seemed like a no-brainer for the Bucs to go with a pass rusher at the top of their night. There was a chance that someone like Jared Verse or even Dallas Turner fell to Tampa Bay late last night, but the rush on edge defenders was too strong.

It also seems like the Bucs were locked in on Graham Barton, so now they get the best of both worlds.

Speaking of Turner, Tampa Bay landed his teammate at No. 57 and ended up with one of the best players at the position in the entire draft.

Braswell was tied for fifth in sacks in the SEC last year for Alabama, and filled in nicely for Will Anderson after he was drafted No. 3 overall last year. He also forced three fumbles off the edge, which was tied for the most in the entire conference and there was some late Mock Draft speculation that he could go toward the end of the first or beginning of the second round.

Instead, the Bucs landed another premier player without needing to trade up. That's massive, as it means the team still has two more Top 100 picks to either use in addressing cornerback but also have a path to move up if they really like a guy they might not have otherwise had a shot at.

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