The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl for many reasons — Tom Brady’s calm pocket presence and surgical accuracy, brilliant play-calling from coordinators Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles, a Kevlar offensive line, relentless play from their defensive line, and a young, opportunistic secondary.
There were schematic concepts the Buccaneers incorporated during the season, in the playoffs, and the Super Bowl to help them win. Here’s a look at 2021 draft prospects who could perform similar tasks. It’s a list other teams should be taking a look at to copy the Bucs through the draft.
Strong, athletic specimen at offensive tackle
For Buccaneers: Tristan Wirfs2021 prospects to fit this role: Oregon’s Penei Sewell, Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins
Wirfs was a grand slam home run of a draft pick for the Buccaneers in Round 1 after a stellar Iowa career at right tackle and an epic combine performance at legitimate NFL size. Who could’ve guessed?
Sewell is the obvious Wirfs 2021 contemporary given that, like Wirfs, he demonstrated ridiculous strength and athleticism at a very young age at the collegiate level. His film, too, is a joy to watch.
Darrisaw is not as widely known — yet. While not anointed early in his collegiate career like Wirfs and especially Sewell, he gradually improved during his time at Virginia Tech and was dominant in every phase of playing the position in 2020. Darrisaw is large, effortlessly powerful, and well-balanced.
Jenkins isn’t in the same category athletically as Wirfs, Sewell, or Darrisaw. He’s immensely powerful and as technically sound as any blocker in this class. He looks prepared for every variation of edge rusher, on any play, in any situation. Pass-rush moves don’t faze him.
Smaller safety as a multi-faceted defensive weapon
For Buccaneers: Antoine Winfield Jr. 2020 prospects to fit this role: Oregon’s Jevon Holland, TCU’s Ar’Darius Washington, UCF’s Richie Grant
If Wirfs was a grand slam of a draft pick in Round 1, then the Bucs’ Round 2 pick of Winfield Jr. was the frozen-rope double to the wall. From reliable play from the deep middle, to continually authoritative run stops along with impactful play over the middle, Winfield Jr. wore so many hats exquisitely for Tamp Bay as a rookie.
Holland did nothing but make splash plays during his two years at Oregon — nine interceptions and 10 pass breakups in 27 games. In 2018, he was mostly a deep middle safety. In 2019, he moved positions often and thrived. Washington is a twitched-up attacker like Winfield Jr. and plays much bigger than his smaller frame.
Grant is lightning quick and enjoyed a productive career at UCF while playing a multitude of roles. He had 10 picks and 16 pass breakups in his final three years with the Knights. He’s extremely active in run support too.
Speed-to-power edge rusher who can get after the QB in a hurry
For Buccaneers: Shaq Barrett2020 prospects to fit this role: Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, Pittsburgh’s Patrick Jones, Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins
Barrett had 10 pressures in the Super Bowl, a ridiculous number, even given his advantageous matchup against two backup tackles. Since joining the Buccaneers, he has 179 quarterback pressures on 1,234 pass-rushing snaps (including the playoffs), which equates to a hefty 14.5% pressure-creation rate. For context, T.J. Watt’s pressure-creation rate in 2020 alone was 14.7%. And Barrett wins with burst, speed, bend, and a pedal-to-the-floor pace to his play through the whistle.
Ojulari has similar flexibility and get-up-and-go to that of Barrett, though he’s not as powerful through blockers. Jones has a threatening outside speed rush and plenty of pop in his hands to beat blockers in multiple ways. Perkins is slightly on the smaller side. Speed-to-power is his trademark around the corner thanks to a stocky frame and magnificent burst.
Towering but twitchy outside cornerbacks
For Buccaneers: Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean2020 prospects to fit this role: Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, Syracuse’s Ifeatu Melifonwu, Washington’s Keith Taylor
Davis and Dean have been almost unfathomably productive in their first few seasons in the NFL. Both above the 6-foot threshold some teams have for outside cornerbacks in the draft, the two have combined for 65 pass breakups across 68 regular season contests to go along with eight interceptions. Davis and Dean win not strictly because of their size. They’re long, yes, but play with amazing fluidity relative to their height and are ultra aggressive.
Farley opted-out before the season and was a star at Virginia Tech, routinely winning with a blend of size, length, and rare athletic gifts. In 2019, he had 12 pass breakups and four picks. Like Davis and Dean, he has veteran-like route-recognition skills and can get to the football in a hurry once he realizes what’s coming.
Melifonwu is more raw but fits the size-speed-athleticism mold here. There’s no noticeable stiffness to his game on the outside. The same is true for Taylor, who’ll likely be available later in the draft. He didn’t have a noticeably productive career at Washington and isn’t quite as long as the rest of this group. The fluidity at over 6-2 is what makes him an intriguing prospect.
Well-rounded receiver who can win in a variety of ways
For Buccaneers: Chris Godwin2020 prospects to fit this role: LSU’s JaMarr Chase, Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, Clemson’s Cornell Powell
Godwin went in the third round in 2017 draft, and he’s far outplayed his draft position ever since. Truly one of the league’s most well-rounded wideouts, Godwin is a monster in rebounding situations, flexible so he generates enough separation to get open with good regularity and has surprising YAC capabilities at 6-1 and around 210 with 4.42 speed.
Chase is likely to be the first receiver off the board, so a Godwin-like value selection he won’t be. Their games are too comparable to omit the LSU superstar from this article. Bateman does everything well too, and will likely be available in the middle-to-late part of Round 1. High-point grabs, deceptive speed and YAC — there’s a lot of Godwin to his game.
As for the later-round option — Powell quietly hovered below the radar for his entire collegiate career at Clemson largely due to the big-time wideouts around him then averaged close to 17 yards per reception with seven touchdowns in 2020 and showcased an NFL-caliber combination of vertical route tree prowess and twitch to get open.
Published: 2021-02-09 19:43:56
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