Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Grading Each Pick Of The 2015 NFL Draft
1 (1): Jameis Winston - QB, Florida State
Jameis Winston was the obvious pick here, with everyone knowing that the Buccaneers would select him first overall. How well he will do in the NFL though, is where people are split. Two things are for certain: (1) he has extensive experience in a pro style system, causing many to believe that his game should translate to the next level, and (2) he has had issues off the field, causing many to believe that he will not be able to be a professional. With his experience in a pro style system, his game is simply easier to read, it is easier to see where he comes up big and where he falls up short. Winston displays knack for making anticipatory throws, but he also forces many passes. The big thing about his on-the-field play is that he was always able to overcome his earlier mistakes to get the win in the end, with one exception. As for his off-the-field issues, he is a young man, and plenty of young men make those types of mistakes, the spotlight was just centered on him. While he should have stayed out of trouble before, he is now well aware that the focus is on him and that is time to grow up and be a professional. If he can distance himself from his past, he can be a quality starting quarterback.
2 (2): Donovan Smith - OT, Penn State
Donovan Smith was a surprise selection, as many expected them to pick a more pure left tackle. He was seen as one of the prospects that could make a switch to guard at the next level due to his lacking athleticism, but with Logan Mankins and fellow rookie Ali Marpet expected to start at guard, Evan Smith likely to keep his job at center, and Demar Dotson better fit for the right side, it is almost certain that Smith is expected to be their left tackle come week one. He is a strong guy that should be able to overpower rushers, but that is if he does not get beat by their speed. With all that being said, his technique should allow him to be capable of holding his own as a tackle. He has enough potential to be a middle-of-the-road starter, but he is one of the bigger bust candidates.
2 (29): Ali Marpet - C, Hobart & William Smith
With Patrick Omameh struggling last year, this pick makes a lot of sense. Ali Marpet played left tackle in college, but his best fits in the NFL project to be guard and center. A Division III standout that impressed at the combine, He possesses all the physical traits teams want in their high-round picks as well as solid technique. If he is able to handle the transition to the NFL, and it looks like he is capable of doing so, he can be a quality starter inside.
4 (25): Kwon Alexander - OLB, LSU
The Buccaneers have three starting linebackers in Lavonte David, Danny Lansanah, and Bruce Carter, but David and Lansanah are on contract years and Carter had no set position in Dallas. Kwon Alexander's best fit is weakside, possessing similar size and athletic traits to David. However, David has been one of the league's elite players, so a fourth-round pick is unlikely to keep them from re-signing him. This means Alexander will have to bulk up to replace the 30-year-old Lansanah. He will be a good special teamer early on, but Alexander is a while away from starting due to his lower level of intangibles, especially if he will have to try and work as Lansanah's replacement. I like Alexander as a player, but I do not agree with replacing David with him nor moving to a position he is not fit for.
5 (26): Kenny Bell - WR, Nebraska
Vincent Jackson is getting up there in age, and while Kenny Bell is not the same type of player, he works as a perfect replacement because his style of play better complements Mike Evans. Bell is unlikely to see three-receiver sets in his first year with his struggles in routes, but he should be able to see the field as a starter the second or third year. Bell saw his stock rise towards the end of the draft process, with many projecting him to go as high as the third round, but the Buccaneers were able to get him in the fifth round. He has great speed, good size, and solid hands, so he should be able to make it as a quality perimeter receiver.
6 (8): Kaelin Clay - WR, Utah
Kaelin Clay may be best known for dropping the ball on the one-yard line against Oregon, but he possesses deep speed, making him a threat on vertical and crossing routes. However, Clay is a shorter guy, at 5-foot-10, and lacks the quickness or consistent hands to be much of a threat on the perimeter. If he can become a more reliable target and get more technical with his routes, he should be able to contribute as the team's fourth receiver.
7 (14): Joey Iosefa - FB, Hawaii
Joey Iosefa is a powerful runner, but he lacks the athleticism to be much of a threat as a running back. He will likely be a fullback in the NFL with his strength, but he will need some time to grasp the nuances of the position. Iosefa is a versatile player who may be able to overtake Jorvorski Lane, who is on a contract year.