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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Mel Kiper Gives The Bucs A B+ For Their Draft

The Tampa Bay Bucs had a clear focus heading into the 2011 NFL Draft. They wanted to address their defensive end position, where they were one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2010. We expected them to address that need in the first round of the Draft, but I'm not sure that anyone expected them to double up on defensive ends in the first two rounds. They also got an impact linebacker in Mason Foster in the third, and those picks have earned them a B+ from ESPN's Mel Kiper, a notoriously tough grader.

Last year, the Bucs made it clear that the defensive line was a key, drafting defensive tackles with their first two picks. Problem was, they didn't get any production from the defensive end position in 2010. Well, Clayborn will help in 2011, and Bowers could be an all-timer as a steal if he's healthy. That's the skill-set of a top-5 pick all the way down at No. 51. Foster offers help at linebacker, and suddenly the Bucs have to feel really good about the front seven.

The Bucs might have some other needs that they needed to address in this draft, but if Bowers can stay healthy, they will have suddenly turned an area of concern into a position of strength. Foster should be a rotation player right out of the box as well. And that's all you can ask for when you're drafting.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.