Photo courtesy of Iowa athletics
Four Big Ten West players are no longer foes as they are headed to Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers used four of their seven picks in the 2020 NFL Draft on players from one FBS division. This sure sounds like a pipeline.
The first player taken from a Big Ten West team by the Buccaneers was Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Weighing in a whopping 320 pounds, the Buccaneers traded up to select Wirfs. Here’s how the No. 13 overall pick was described by Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.:
“He shows good lateral mobility and range pass-blocker. He rarely loses in pass protection and has potential to develop into an elite pass-blocker.”
The second player taken by the Buccaneers was Minnesota safety Antonine Winfield Jr. He is much needed as the Buccaneers ranked 29th in scoring defense and 30th in passing defense last year. Winfield went to the Buccaneers in the second round with the 45th overall pick.
Winfield’s Minnesota teammate Tyler Johnson, a wide receiver, became his Tampa Bay teammate. Johnson was selected in the fifth round. Muench described him as “a wide receiver who knows how to separate and one of the most productive wide receivers in the past two seasons.”
The fourth and final Big Ten West player taken was Nebraska defensive tackle Khalil Davis. Weighing in at 308 pounds, Davis ran a 4.75 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
“There is a lot to like about his upside and motor,” Muench said in his analysis of the Buccaneers’ sixth-round pick. “He takes too long to get off blocks and gives ground in the run game.”
Davis will be helped a lot by former Nebraska great Ndamukong Suh. Suh signed a 1-year deal to remain with the Buccaneers this offseason.
With the addition of quarterback Tom Brady in free agency, the Buccaneers needed to add protection up front. They got that in Wirfs. They also needed to help Brady, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin by adding a No. 3 wide receiver. Johnson may be that guy.
The defensive side got some great talent with great potential to help improve from a dismal showing last season. Winfield Jr. is certainly good enough to be an immediate starter. Davis will likely provide depth early, but could be a key piece for Tampa Bay in the years to come.