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Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Draft Grades 2023: Calijah Kancey Pick Was Major Reach

Calijah Kancey Buccaneers DT

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected nine players in the 2023 NFL Draft, led by first-round defensive lineman Calijah Kancey. Our scouts explain why their draft will likely be remembered for their decision to select Kancey at No. 19 overall, a major reach.

The 33rd Team Scouting Dept. graded every pick in this year’s draft, here’s how the Buccaneers fared:

Buccaneers 2023 Draft Grades

19. Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Calijah Kancey (scouting report) is a disruptive player, but where does he fit in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ scheme? This pick just doesn’t make sense. Maybe they think Vita Vea can protect him. There is no doubt they needed to bolster their pass rush, but this was not the way. There was hype around Kancey, and he is a fun player to watch, but he is not Aaron Donald

Grade: D

48. Cody Mauch, OT, North Dakota State

Cody Mauch (scouting report) is capable of playing tackle or guard in the NFL. Mauch needs to improve his strength, and he should do so in an NFL facility. He is a good bender, has solid movement skills and can get up to the second level to sustain linebackers.

Grade: B

82. Yaya Diaby, Edge, Louisville

Yaya Diaby (scouting report) is a straight-line upright rusher who relies on strength and athleticism to win. He tested well at his pro day, and it remains to be seen if it will translate on the field for the Buccaneers.

Grade: C

153. SirVocea Dennis, LB, Pittsburgh

What SirVocea Dennis (scouting report) does best is use his speed and quickness in coverage. He can run with backs and tight ends down the field and has good instincts and clean eyes. He does lack some size and will struggle a bit in the run game.

Grade: B

171.  Payne Durham, TE, Purdue

Payne Durham (scouting report) is a bigger-bodied receiving tight end with reliable hands. He is a linear athlete who lacks speed and quickness but does a good job using his size to box out defenders. He presents as an average wall and shield type of blocker in the run game. Tampa adds much needed TE depth behind Cade Otton.

Grade: C+

181. Josh Hayes, CB, Kansas State

A two-time transfer who played at North Dakota St. and Virginia, Josh Hayes (scouting report) gave up five touchdowns last season and has only two career interceptions in five seasons. He was a non-combine player who had underwhelming testing at his pro day other than his 4.47 40.

Grade: C-

191. Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska

Trey Palmer (scouting report) has good height but is a slenderly-built receiver who aligns in the slot and outside. He has good speed making him a threat down the field. He needs to improve his hands and get stronger.

Grade: C+

196. Jose Ramirez, Edge, Eastern Michigan

Tampa is taking some shots to improve their pass rush. Jose Ramirez (scouting report) is a hard-working, undersized edge player who may feast on free-agent-type tackles in camp and preseason, but he lacks the high-end traits to win against quality NFL offensive linemen consistently.

Grade: C+