After trading their first-round pick for Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay was left with just six draft picks in 2013. Still not satisfied with their secondary even after acquiring Revis, the Bucs used their second-round pick on a cornerback before hedging their bets on Josh Freeman by taking a quarterback in round three. Chris Tripodi breaks down how the Bucs fared in April’s draft.
Johnthan Banks/CB/Mississippi State (Round 2/Pick #43): With the league’s worst secondary and three Pro Bowl quarterbacks in the division, upgrading their defensive backfield was the Bucs’ top priority this offseason. An aggressive cornerback who defends the run as well as the pass, Banks will likely slot in as Tampa’s nickel cornerback to start the 2013 season. With Eric Wright’s contract expiring after this season, it’s likely he will step into the starting role opposite Revis in 2014. Banks is a consistent worker with good instincts and while his lack of speed (4.59) makes him vulnerable to the deep ball, he will reap the rewards of playing with Revis and having safety help over the top to mask his deficiencies.
Mike Glennon/QB/N.C. State (Round 3/Round #73): After taking over for Russell Wilson two years ago, Glennon spent his junior and senior years wowing scouts with his arm strength yet frustrating them with his accuracy issues and questionable decision making. His completion percentage dropped as a senior and he threw more interceptions as well, showing the inconsistencies that make him an unfinished product. With Josh Freeman entering the final year of his contract and Tampa Bay not talking extension, Glennon could find himself with a starting role next season if Freeman doesn’t take the next step as a passer. If he works hard on his footwork and grows with NFL coaching, Glennon has as much upside as any quarterback in this year’s class and will benefit from a year on the bench.
Akeem Spence/DT/Illinois (Round 4/Pick #100): Despite having the NFL’s top rush defense in 2013, Tampa Bay has struggled to find a good complement to Gerald McCoy on their interior line since he was drafted in 2010. Spence struggled some in 2012 but the Bucs are hoping that suppressed his value enough to make him good value early in the fourth round after trading up 12 spots at the expense of a sixth-round pick. At his best, Spence is disruptive and explosive up the field and in pursuit. He’s not much of a pass rusher but has the potential to start at some point this season if he can improve his playing strength.
William Gholston/DE/Michigan State (Round 4/Pick #126): The last name Gholston is synonymous with draft bust after William’s cousin Vernon flamed out shortly after being drafted in the first round by the Jets in 2008. Unfortunately for William, he shows many similarities to his cousin which likely led to teams shying away from him as a top-125 pick. Fast, powerful and athletic at 6-6, Gholston has first-round talent but has a tendency to disappear and take plays off. Maybe the lack of first-round money will lead to him being more motivated than his cousin but if not, he will find it difficult to shed the underachiever label currently attached to him.
Steven Means/LB/Buffalo (Round 5/Pick #147): Ranked as a free agent on our draft board, Means is used to flying under the radar after playing on the same defense as All-American Kahlil Mack with the Bulls. A defensive end in college despite weighing just 251 pounds, Means will probably be little more than a situational pass rusher with the Bucs but has the athleticism and ability to be solid in that role as well as on special teams. He will need to improve his consistency and stay low rushing off the edge to avoid getting blocked out of the play by NFL tackles who have at least 50 pounds on him.
Mike James/RB/Miami (Round 6/Pick #189): After trading backup running back LeGarrette Blount for Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick, Tampa Bay packaged that seventh-round pick with the 196th overall pick to draft Blount’s replacement. A powerful runner at 5-10, 223 pounds, James is a similar runner to Blount without the character issues. James will see limited action behind last year’s standout rookie back Doug Martin and while he lacks speed and agility, James will fight for every yard he can get and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. He should prove to be a nice complement to Martin in limited action.
Grade: C+. This grade is strictly for the picks that Tampa Bay made in 2013 and not the ones they traded, otherwise this grade would be in the B-range. Trading the 13th overall pick for Revis was great value if he comes back at 100 percent and should help the Bucs cover the likes of Julio Jones, Roddy White, Marques Colston and Steve Smith. Johnthan Banks will be a good complement to Revis but Tampa’s next three picks involve a good deal of risk. Mike Glennon is a project, Akeem Spence’s production left something to be desired and William Gholston defines “boom or bust.” They filled out their draft with decent role players but it’s possible that this draft will be remembered for nothing more than the pick they traded for Revis in a few seasons.