After last season's virtual draft, Cleveland is played host to festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.
Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Tampa Bay has selected will fit.
Round 1, No. 32 overall: Joe Tryon, OLB, Washington
My take: By returning every starter on offense and defense from their Super Bowl LV win, plus key contributor Antonio Brown this week, the Bucs positioned themselves to take the best player available in Tryon, who can bolster their rotation with Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, who has one year left on his contract. Tryon can also contribute on special teams right away.
“It’s nice to stockpile on edge rushers. We have two pretty good ones at outside linebacker,” general manager Jason Licht said. “We like Anthony [Nelson], Cam Gill shows a lot of promise -- but can’t have too many of those guys.”
How much will a year off impact him? Tryon opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 but he spent a lot of time training out in California, including some time spent with Cliff Avril working on his pass rush arsenal, which will need further development, along with having a better rush plan and being a better run-stopper.
“I wasn’t just working out, lifting weights -- I was definitely doing football-related activities,” Tryon said of his year away. “Just developing my whole pass-rush repertoire has been [the] plan.” He said his focus has been working the stab-club and anything with a stab move to utilize his length.
The low-down: At 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds, Tryon ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at his Washington pro day. He has great length with 34-inch arms. He changes directions well, as seen by his 7.18 three-cone drill, and he has an explosive first step. But he only had one full season as a starter in college. Still, in 13 games at Washington, Tryon recorded 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and a pass breakup with multi-sack games coming against Utah, Oregon State and Washington State. His 15 incompletions forced by pressures ranked third in the Pac-12, according to ESPN Statistics & Information.
“He’s big, athletic, plays very hard,” Licht said. “The fact that he didn’t play this year -- he opted out, tried to get back in, but it was too late -- but we felt like he’s a player that had he played this year and had similar production or better, that his value really would have gone up next year. We feel like we got great value there.”
Round 2, No. 64 overall: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
My take: With no pressing needs, the Bucs were able to snatch up a developmental quarterback in Trask, who can spend the next two years learning from Tom Brady, with zero expectations of starting. At 6-foot-5 and 234 pounds, Trask has the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback. But his arm strength and athleticism (he's not very mobile) have been called into question, as has his footwork. Does he have the arm strength to execute Bruce Arians' offense that frequently pushes the ball downfield? Despite some of these concerns, Trask still managed to be extremely productive his senior year, throwing for 4,283 yards in 2020 and 69 career touchdowns despite not making his first collegiate start until 2019.
“If you watch that Georgia game and that comeback, throwing those balls -- he throws dimes down the sideline. I have no question [about his arm strength]," Arians said. "He can make every throw that we want. [QB coach] Clyde [Christensen] and [offensive coordinator] Byron [Leftwich] were at his workout and were extremely pleased with everything they saw. He can make every throw in our offense and we’re really excited about having him.”
Round 3, No. 95 overall: Robert Hainsey, OT, Notre Dame
My take: Hainsey is a versatile player. He lined up as a tackle at Notre Dame but kicked inside to play guard and center at the Senior Bowl, which really caught the Bucs' attention -- along with his ability to get to the second level and his instincts.
"Some guys will balk at going to different positions. He was more than willing to go left guard, right guard, center," coach Bruce Arians said. "And he showed position flexibility against some of the best guys in the draft. I think for him -- it's just coming in and finding what's the best niche for him and for us to find that niche. But we feel like he could play outside or inside."
With Joe Haeg's departure, Hainsey can provide depth at multiple positions, and he could serve as a possible jumbo tackle. He can also get some valuable reps in camp with Alex Cappa coming off a fractured ankle. Among Hainsey's most impressive feats? His discipline. He played 863 total snaps this season and committed zero penalties.
Round 4, No. 129 overall: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
My take: The Bucs traded the 137th overall pick in Round 4 and their compensatory sixth-round pick (No. 217) to select Darden. At 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, Darden lacks the size to win physical matchups. But he did run a decent 4.46 at his pro day, he's explosive with the ball and he eludes defenders. He was a very productive player at North Texas, becoming their all-time leader in career receptions (230), receiving yards (2,782) and receiving TDs (38) and he had 1,190 yards last year with 19 touchdowns.
Darden was used a ton in screen passes and on crossing routes -- a skillset that complements their current group of wideouts. He should compete for punt and kick return duties, filling a need Bruce Arians expressed for improved special teams play.
Round 5, No. 176 overall: K.J. Britt, ILB, Auburn
My take: The Tigers' starting middle linebacker and team captain, Britt bolsters depth behind Devin White, Lavonte David and Kevin Minter, and he can help out right away on special teams. He was Auburn's top tackler before thumb surgery ended his senior season, but he returned to play in the Senior Bowl, turning heads with five tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass breakup and was voted "Best Linebacker" by his Senior Bowl teammates.
Britt's a sure tackler and run stuffer, but he may encounter some challenges in coverage at the next level, although he batted away some short passes in Senior Bowl practices, which is where his long arms (he's 6-foot 1/8 with 30 3/4-inch arms) will come in handy. He may also encounter some issues playing in space, and he clocked an unofficial 4.75 40 time at his pro day. He'll also have to transition from a 4-3 defense in college to Todd Bowles' hybrid 3-4 scheme. His downhill playing style should translate well onto special teams though, which is where the Bucs are seeking the most help on Day 3.
Round 7, No. 251 overall: Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU
My take:At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Wilcox ran a 4.31 40 at his pro day and posted a 37.5-inch vertical, so he is long and fast. He likes to play press-man coverage and he likes to compete -- just as the Bucs prefer with their cornerbacks. He still has to work on ball production and is still a bit raw in his technique as a corner, but they're really eyeing him as a special teams gunner, as they lost Ryan Smith in free agency. Wilcox has a track background and played safety, which should bode well for that.
Off the field, Wilcox is a music producer, with dreams of being an audio engineer when football ends. “I feel like some guys play video games and I make music on the side. ... I can mix vocals, all that stuff.”
Round 7, No. 259 overall: Grant Stuard, LB, Houston
My take: Once again, the Bucs went with a player they feel can bolster their special teams, with general manager Jason Licht comparing Stuard to Larry Izzo when he was with the Dolphins, whom he called an "undersized linebacker with a huge heart."
On tape, Stuard looks like he could be a special teams ace -- he plays with a ton of energy, is fast, physical and tough. But on defense, he does struggle at times in coverage and changing directions.
Off the field, Stuard may have one of the most compelling stories of any draft prospect, overcoming his father's imprisonment and his mother's drug addiction -- both of which he has spoken openly about -- to be selected with the final pick of the 2021 NFL draft.
"My biggest goal in this football thing is really to give glory and honor to the Father, but also to provide a positive example and role model for my siblings," Stuard said. "And now they see that no matter what adversity, you can still reach your goals."