Re-Grading the 2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Class

Jason Schandl
Re-grading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2015 NFL Draft class, including Jameis Winston and Donovan Smith.
Re-grading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2015 NFL Draft class, including Jameis Winston and Donovan Smith. / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will head into the 2020 NFL season with a new starting quarterback for the first time since they made Jameis Winston the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Now that Winston's time in Tampa is up, we can start to really get a feel for the quality of that draft class.

Initial reactions were all over the place. Bleacher Report gave them just a D+, gave them a B, and Walter Football gave them a B+.With the benefit of five years of hindsight, let's look back and re-grade the draft.

Jameis Winston, QB, No. 1 Overall
Obviously the high-profile pick of the class, Jameis Winston is still going to earn some mixed reactions, but it's hard to call him any sort of a success. You can't put all the credit for wins and losses on a QB, but the Bucs only had one winning season in five years with Winston at the helm, never making the playoffs. He wasn't an outright bust, but when you pull the trigger on a quarterback at No. 1, you're looking for a face of the franchise. Four losing seasons and hitting free agency is a swing and a miss.

Donovan Smith, OT, No. 34 Overall
Picking again at the top of the second round, the Bucs looked to pair their QB-of-the-future with some protection, and Donovan Smith has been a long-term fixture on the offensive line. He's started 79 games for Tampa in the last five seasons, and he's set to anchor the line in front of Brady in 2020 as well.

Ali Marpet, OG, No. 61 Overall
Another hit, Ali Marpet has started 72 games for the Bucs, blossoming into a rock-solid presence on the interior of the offensive line, playing right guard, left guard and center during his five seasons in Tampa. Just like Smith, he's outlasted Winston in Tampa.

Kwon Alexander, LB, No. 124 Overall
Kwon Alexander never quite lived up to the potential he flashed in his sophomore NFL season back in 2016, when he led the NFL with 108 solo tackles, but it's hard to be disappointed about what he gave Tampa as a fourth-round pick. He was a four-year starter at linebacker, albeit as a mainstay on a defense that consistently struggled over the years.

Kenny Bell, WR, No. 162 Overall | Kaelin Clay, WR, No. 184 Overall | Joey Iosefa, FB, No. 231 Overall
None of the Bucs' final three picks in the draft ever played a single regular-season snap in Tampa. The hit rate is always going to be low in the sixth and seventh rounds, so you can't knock the Bucs too much for these picks, but they're certainly not plusses.

Overall Grade: C+

Would you like to see more success and a second contract for your first-overall QB selection? Absolutely. Combining that with the lack of much late-round success means this class was a disappointment overall, but Marpet and Smith save this from being a disaster. The duo continues to start as mainstays on the Buccaneers' offensive line, and that continuity and chemistry could prove very valuable as the team looks to become a Super Bowl contender in 2020.

Get $5 FREE when you sign up for FanDuel Racing, plus we’ll match your first deposit in site credit up to $50!

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.