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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Calijah Kancey (8) reacts after recording a sack against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Tennessee won 34-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books. After a flurry of selections from Thursday to Saturday, 259 players were selected to join the NFL.

With that, we give you our full recap of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft, with analysis on every selection the team made during the weekend and an in-depth look at their top pick.

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2023 NFL Draft Picks

R1 (19): DI Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
R2 (48): OT Cody Mauch, North Dakota State
R3 (82): EDGE YaYa Diaby, Louisville
R5 (153): LB SirVocea Dennis, Pittsburgh
R6 (181): CB Josh Hayes, Kansas State
R5 (171): TE Payne Durham, Purdue
R6 (191): WR Trey Palmer, Nebraska
R6 (196): EDGE Jose Ramirez, Eastern Michigan
R7 (232): CB Carrington Valentine, Kentucky

Day 1: He might be undersized, but Kancey is a phenomenal pass-rusher on the interior of the defensive line. His first step is elite, and he’s coming off a season where he led all players at the position with a 92.4 PFF pass-rushing grade and should make an immediate impact as a pass-rusher.

Day 2: The Buccaneers trade up with the Packers for Mauch after trading 2022 starting right guard Shaq Mason to the Houston Texans this offseason. Mauch played tackle in college and offers inside/outside versatility at 6-foot-5 and was dominant at North Dakota State in a gap rushing scheme with a 91.1 grade. He’ll need to improve as a pass protector, especially if he does stay at tackle, which may not be likely at the outset.

The Buccaneers continue to add to the trenches. Like their first-round pick, Calijah Kancey, Diaby is a tremendous athlete (97th percentile 40-yard dash), but he also adds more size to the edge at 263 pounds. Diaby graded out well against the run at Louisville, finishing in the 75th percentile among qualifying edge defenders since 2020.

Day 3: Dennis is on the small end for the position but has the explosiveness to make up for it with a 42-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-5 broad jump that both ranked in at least the 90th percentile at linebacker. Dennis was elite against the run for Pittsburgh in his final seasons, earning a 92.1 run-defense grade and missing fewer than 5% of his tackling opportunities.

Hayes' coverage grades aren't stellar, though he does make plays on the ball when he's in position. His testing was underwhelming, and h was outmatched in the Bowl Game against Alabama. He will need to be coached up at the next level after transferring from North Dakota State to Virginia and finally to Kansas State.

Durham showcased a safe pair of hands at Purdue, dropping just 3.4% of his targets, and showed some wiggle, forcing 10 missed tackles from 56 receptions. He will likely need to develop as a blocker in the NFL, though, after posting a 56.7 PFF run-blocking grade in 2022.

Hayes' coverage grades aren't stellar, though he does make plays on the ball when he's in position. His testing was underwhelming, and h was outmatched in the Bowl Game against Alabama. He will need to be coached up at the next level after transferring from North Dakota State to Virginia and finally to Kansas State.

Palmer had a breakout 2022 season for Nebraska after transferring from LSU, racking up over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in his final season. He might be a one-trick prospect but when that “trick” is 4.33 speed, it'll play.

Ramirez is a smaller edge who was extremely productive against lesser competition at Eastern Michigan. He picked up 90.0-plus PFF pass-rush grades in each of the last two seasons to go along with a pass-rush win rate of 23.2%.

Valentine is a younger cornerback prospect with above-average size and 4.44 speed who has full seasons of experience both in the slot (2021) and outside (2022). That profile is what Green Bay is betting on at this stage of the draft, even if Valentine hasn’t had the strongest production profile. His 66.0 PFF grade last season was a career high.


Prospect Spotlight: DI Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

Kancey may be undersized, but he knows how to get to opposing quarterbacks. The 6-foot, 280-pound defensive tackle led all interior defenders with a 92.4 pass-rushing grade this past fall. He has the first-step quicks to still make an impact in the NFL.

Strengths, weaknesses and NFL role

Where he wins: Twitch

Kancey is a wound-up defensive tackle who does everything with urgency. His hands are just as quick as his feet, and he knows how to use both.

What's his role? Penetrating three-technique defensive tackle

If you're asking him to play inside, you better allow Kancey the freedom to get upfield. He simply can't be a hold-the-point DT. His skill set is also intriguing for some rotational reps on the edge.

What he can improve: Playing under control

The size shortcomings aren't going anywhere, but Kancey is much better at working around them when his hands aren't in such a hurry.

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