Tampa Bay Buccaneers highlights featuring Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski invaded the New England Patriots NFL Draft pick segment right before taking Mac Jones.
ESPN/ABC Sports ran the highlights for the context of the Patriots situation with Brady leaving in 2020 and Gronkowski coming out of retirement and joining him. The Patriots, which had a losing season in 2020 for the first time since Brady’s rookie year, took a major step toward reloading by selecting Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th pick, and another Bucs star offered high praises on that pick
“Mac Jones going (to) to be the best QB out (of) this draft,” Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett wrote on Twitter.
Barrett made the statement shortly after the pick. Jones drew comparisons to Brady coming into the draft. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailova, who played with Jones at Alabama, said Jones is ” a more mobile Tom Brady” during an interview with Yahoo! Sports in February. Jones threw for 6,126 yards, 56 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in his college career.
This fall, Barrett and company may get to line up against Jones if starting for the Patriots when the Bucs travel to New England. It will be the first time back to the northeast for Brady and Gronkowski.
Bucs players will find out when they face the Patriots on May 12 when the NFL releases its 2021 schedule.
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Barrett Back Big With Bucs
Barrett re-signed with Tampa in the offseason after spending a year on the franchise tag.
He said he wanted to “break the bank” this year in free agency, and the Bucs re-signed him with a four-year deal that could pay him up to $72 million. Barrett compiled 57 tackles and eight sacks in 2020 after a monster season of 19.5 sacks, 58 tackles, and an interception in 2019.
Tampa pulled off the signing amid more than 24 free agents to re-sign. The Bucs also secured all 22 starters from their Super Bowl team along the way. No team has done that since the 1977 Oakland Raiders.
Fresh Faces Facing Bucs
Tampa players could see a few potential new opponents in the NFC South on Thursday with the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers picking early in the draft.
Bucs defensive backs will likely contend with tight end Kyle Pitts, taken by the Falcons from Florida with the fourth selection in the draft. He became the highest-drafted tight end ever per ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein. At 6-6, 246-pounds, Pitt will give the Falcons a big and versatile pass catcher. Pitts caught 100 passes for 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns in three seasons with the Gators.
Tampa receivers will likely face the Panthers’ new pick, cornerback Jaycee Horn from South Carolina. CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani described Horn, the first defensive player taken in the draft, as a strong man coverage corner. Horn tallied 101 tackles, 34 interceptions, and three sacks in three college seasons.
Similar to Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr., Horn has a father who played in the NFL. Joe Horn lined up against the Bucs many times from 2000 through 2006 as a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans took defense end Payton Turner from Houston at pick 28. The Bucs offensive line likely will need to keep Turner away from Tom Brady this fall.
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