The Buccaneers lost their 7th game of the season this past Sunday, and with a losing record in an extremely competitive NFC and poor standing in most tiebreaker situations, Tampa Bay fans are starting to look to the future. In a year with a new head coach and a cupboard that still isn’t completely full, the Buccaneers are performing at a higher level than last season, which will be more than acceptable in hindsight after the season is over.
As we look to the future of the franchise, let’s take a look at the upcoming offseason, and profile some of the players the Buccaneers could possibly target, both in the draft and free agency. This is the first post in a series for The Pewter Plank that will outline some potential targets for Mark Dominik and company, and rather than start with any individual player, I believe we should take a look at what the team will need going into next season.
Area of Need: Defensive Back
This one should be painfully obvious, but cornerbacks and a free safety are definitely needs this offseason. Ronde Barber cannot be a part of any long term plan, and with Eric Wright struggling to stay on the field, depth at cornerback should be a top priority.
Area of Need: Defensive End
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Buccaneers have needed defensive end help for years, and this season is no different. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim has a great motor, and Aaron Morgan has had his name called a few times, but behind the injured Adrian Clayborn, the Bucs only have the expiring contract of Michael Bennett and the oft-injured Da’Quan Bowers to go along with Daniel and Aaron. Assuming health for Clayborn next year, a speedy passrusher would be an excellent complement.
Area of Need: Tight End
Dallas Clark is old (Hard hitting insight!) and is not a dynamic playmaker. While Josh isn’t the precision QB to drop the ball off over the middle to a tight end, a tight end with the ability to stretch the defense would be a valuable addition to the offense.
Area of Want: Defensive Tackle
I strongly believe that the Buccaneers need someone to take the “Brian Price” role next to Gerald McCoy. Price never panned out, and McCoy needs a true partner in crime to develop into the best player he can be.
Area of Want: Offensive Tackle
Donald Penn is a solid left tackle, but a franchise tackle to take his spot at left tackle (and move Donald to the right side) or a solid right tackle would complete of offensive line. Once healthy, the line would be set across the board, and fairly young, allowing years of chemistry to form a formidable front line for the offense.
Area of Want: Backup Quarterback
Josh Freeman is not my favorite kind of quarterback, and his struggles from last season have come back in recent weeks (You can read my thoughts about him here). However, it is clear he’s the future at the quarterback position for the Buccaneers. That said, we are an injury away from Dan Orlovsky… enough said. A quarterback who could develop under, and compete with, Josh Freeman would be a great find, and in a QB draft class that is not very top heavy, a late-round steal might be available.
Other positions to pursue:
3rd Down Running Back
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