2013 NFL Draft Team Needs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell short of the playoffs under first-year Head Coach Greg Schiano in 2012. There certainly was some progress and reason for promise looking ahead, though, after Bucs fans panicked from a 10-game losing streak to end the 2011 season two years ago.
Rookie studs RB Doug Martin and LB Lavonte David were bright spots for the young Bucs in addition to impressive play from 2013 Pro Bowlers Gerald McCoy and Vincent Jackson. Despite these bright spots and a few eye-opening winning streaks, the Buccaneers still have plenty of needs going into the offseason. The Bucs have a great deal of salary cap room to splurge again in free agency and Bucs GM Mark Dominik has already publicly stated they will be big players in free agency again. But the Bucs have also been growing as a team through strong draft classes in the last few years. The Bucs will need another strong draft class in 2013 to fill the following needs:
Offensive Needs: OT, TE
Offensive Tackle – OT Donald Penn and OGs Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks are all Pro Bowl caliber players. The Bucs have struggled to round out their offensive line though with Demar Dotson and Jeremy Trueblood as the fill-ins at the right tackle spot. If the Bucs can snag a right tackle, they will finally have a well-balanced line, something missing for years now in Tampa, for RB Doug Martin to run behind
Tight End – Second year tight end Luke Stocker has not panned out and has been hampered with injuries. Veteran Dallas Clark filled in well in 2012, but the Bucs need a long-term solution to pair down the middle of the field with Josh Freeman. Freeman’s best year in 2010 was when Kellen Winslow, Jr. had his best year in Tampa as well.
Defensive Needs: CB, S, LB
Safety – Ronde Barber was moved to Safety in 2012 as a quick fix to pair alongside rookie Mark Barron who had an up-and-down season. Barber still has not decided whether or not he will return in 2013, but regardless, the Bucs need to strengthen their secondary anywhere they can. Barron will develop into a solid player, so it would be constructive for the Bucs to pair him with another young talent.
Cornerbacks - Before 2012, the Bucs looked like they were all set at cornerback with Aqib Talib and Eric Wright. After BOTH were suspended for Adderall usage, the need for a cornerback became glaringly clear. Talib was traded to the Patriots and Wright is likely to be released due to his generous contract and the Bucs’ option to let him go with no major penalties because of the suspension. Youngsters Myron Lewis, Anthony Gaitor, EJ Biggers, and Leonard Johnson don’t seem to be immediate fixes at the cornerback position either, so this unit needs to be addressed first and foremost. If Dee Milliner falls to #13, the Bucs would be glad to have him, but keep an eye on Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State at this spot. In a division with Cam Newton, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan, you must address your cornerbacks substantially, especially seeing that the Bucs have had historically poor performances from this unit recently.
Linebacker – OLB Quincy Black may not be fully ready for the 2013 season due to injury, so the Bucs may look for a linebacker in the draft to complete their young, talented corps alongside second year MLB Mason Foster and 2012 rookie Lavonte David. Mason Foster played outside in most of his college years at Washington, so drafting a MLB – like Manti Te’o if there are no other options at #13 – and moving Foster outside is feasible if the Bucs look to solidify this already productive unit.