The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got themselves some potential starters in Day 2 of the NFL Draft. Day 3 presented an opportunity for them to fill in their depth and by all accounts they may have succeeded.
Here are their selections with analysis from NFL.com followed by some thoughts.
Fourth Round – Kwon Alexander, OLB, LSU
Athletic with foot quickness for quick, lateral movement from gap to gap. Shows suddenness to slip blocks and get into gaps. Can change direction immediately and has twitch to accelerate from standstill. Rangy with good play speed in open field. Determined chaser on perimeter with speed to close and finish. Competes hard. Willing to explode into second-level lineman with as much force as he can muster. Has adequate hands to stack and shed and swats away cut-block attempts. Will pop tight ends and running backs getting into their routes. Can blitz, but also flashed legitimate pass-rushing skills with intriguing dip and bend move around the edge. Immediate special-teams contributor.
Plays upright and needs to improve his play strength in general. Field awareness is severely lacking on tape. Struggles to work outside framework of his initial play responsibility, losing sight of the ball. Allowed big plays against Auburn and Wisconsin because of these issues. Takes false steps and plays with too much wasted motion, pumping arms and chopping feet as he moves forward. Gets caught overrunning his run fit and gets washed down too easily. Needs to improve breaking down and getting feet set before attempting to strike and tackle.
Fifth Round – Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska
Can get on top of cornerbacks quickly and can ramp up acceleration to create enough air space for quarterbacks to target him up top. Has made big catches at big times for Nebraska. Displays concentration and boundary awareness up the field. Has big-play ability that was untapped at times at Nebraska. Shredded with little body fat. Smart player and very well-coached in college. Plus competitiveness when going up to snag a pass against defenders. Ball winner.
Has some stiffness to his routes. Doesn’t get into and out of breaks as cleanly as scouts would like to see. Likely limited to a roll as an outside threat. Thin frame and has struggled at staying on his route when muscled by big corners. Needs to diversify his approach to getting off the line of scrimmage on the next level.
Sixth Round – Kaelin Clay, WR, Utah
Very good straight-line speed. Decorated sprinter in high school. Stepped up and showed improvement in his lone season at Utah after teammate Dres Anderson’s season-ending knee injury. Able to make first defender miss in space. When given a shot to play vertically, took advantage by winning over the top twice against Oregon. One of the more dangerous return men in college football as both punt returner and kickoff returner. Posted three punt-return touchdowns and a 100-yard kickoff return in 2014. Has great feel for keeping kick returns on their designed track and slashing at the right time. Had disastrous “fumble” against Oregon when he released ball before crossing into the end zone — Oregon picked it up and went other way for a touchdown. Bounced back from that and showed mental toughness.
Smaller receiver with very limited catch radius. Had four drops in 2014, including focus drops when trying to make catch near the sideline. Hips don’t open much, causing short, tight strides and flatness with some of his routes. Lacks sudden feet to gain expected separation on outs. Game film filled with hitches, bubble screens and short outs. Lacking in route sophistication. Upright into his breaks and out of them.
Seventh Round – Joey Iosefa, FB, Hawaii
No-nonsense runner who prefers to rush between the tackles. Will coil his hips and deliver a blow into second-level linebackers attempting to tackle him and pass rushers in pass protection. Often leans shoulder into contact, absorbing blow while resetting feet to continue his run. Functional ability to cut and take it downhill. Can catch the ball out of the backfield and is adequate in pass protection.
Bulky, but unathletic build. Shows below-average foot quickness, which limits ability to run to perimeter and to make defenders miss in space. Has marginal burst through line of scrimmage, forcing him to deal with consistent traffic around him. Doesn’t possess ground-floor acceleration or wiggle to make consistent yardage in screen game.
Thoughts On Selections
Alexander seems to be a prototypical linebacker for head coach Lovie Smith. At 6-1 227 pounds, Alexander has the ideal size for the Tampa-2 defense. He carries some speed as well which will allow him to have some success going sideline to sideline.
Receivers Bell and Clay will most likely compete for roster spots with opportunities in special teams. Both have return capabilities, something the Bucs were searching for all last season. But with Bell’s Twitter handle being “Afro Thunder”, how does he not deserve a roster spot already?
Iosefa, according to general manager Jason Licht, will be given a shot at starting t fullback. That won’t make veteran Jorvorskie Lane happy and according to his Twitter account that may hold true. But the team raves about Iosefa’s hands out of the backfield and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter used fullback Patrick DiMarco on several occasions in that same capacity while in Atlanta. So this pick, albeit cautiously, could be the real winner of Day 3.