The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made moves this offseason, and the lack of progress towards a Darrelle Revis trade and the absence of new cornerbacks in Tampa Bay have most Buccaneer fans feeling the spring has been incomplete. That said, there have been additions to the roster, and some may have a major impact on the team in 2013. So while we all wait for some news about the Buccaneers improving the cornerback depth chart, let’s take a look at some of the new players the Buccaneers have brought in.
We’ll give the best case scenario, worst case scenario, and the most likely scenario for each player in 2013, and that’s why we call it the Good, the Bad, and the Likely.
Dashon Goldson, Safety
The Good: Goldson is an All-Pro free safety who roams center field and reduces the downfield passing plays allowed to zero. He has multiple interceptions and multiple fumbles forced. The best part of his addition is the impact is has on Mark Barron, who is able to play closer to the line of scrimmage, and plays at a Pro Bowl level, forcing turnovers and making big plays over the middle.
The Bad: Goldson is better than Ahmad Black would have been, but doesn’t wow anyone with his play. He does his job, tips some deep passes, and makes some big hits. The pass defense is somewhat improved, but he’s not an impact player.
The Likely: The most likely scenario is probably very close to “The Good” scenario. “The Hawk” has a chance to make a major impact on the Buccaneers’ defense by bringing good deep coverage, solid run support, and helping Mark Barron shift into a more comfortable position.
Jonathan Casillas, Linebacker
The Good: Casillas is a major part of the nickel defense, using his coverage skills and speed to help the secondary manage the receiving options on third down. He also rotates in to help at SAM linebacker to help replace Quincy Black, and provides a good option against the run despite his smaller size.
The Bad: Casillas doesn’t play a snap at SAM linebacker because he can’t hold up to the demands of going head to head against offensive tackles. He plays in some nickel situations, and fights for time on special teams to make his contract worth it.
The Likely: I think Casillas will be a key part of the Bucs third down defense. He and Lavonte David would be a good linebacker combo for third downs, as Casillas will be able to cover short zones well. I don’t think he makes much of an impact as a SAM linebacker, though.
Kevin Ogletree, Wide Receiver
The Good: The Kevin Ogletree we saw in brief moments last year is the real Kevin Ogletree, and he provides an excellent underneath option for Josh Freeman. He catches 50-60 passes for about 800 yards and brings the ball home for 6 scores, plus chips in on kick and punt returns, improving on Roscoe Parrish‘s averages.
The Likely: He brings in 30-40 catches and has a couple of big plays, and does about as well as Tiquan Underwood did last year, but with some contributions to special teams.
Tom Crabtree, Tight End
The Good: Crabtree takes a step forward and proves to be a very good receiving tight end, making plays down the seam. He receives 40-50 passes, with a decent average, and a handful of red zone targets that turn into scores. He is able to give the Buccaneers a strong receiving option over the middle and down the seam, which keeps pressure off of Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams
The Bad: He barely plays, as Luke Stocker and a rookie take all of his snaps. He still adds to special teams and makes occasional catches.
The Likely: He brings the Buccaneers another option in the passing game, makes some decent plays, and is a solid special teams’ contributor. Worth the contract and then some, but not a star.
Derek Landri, Defensive Tackle
The Good: He shines as a starter next to Gerald McCoy and brings pass rush from the nose tackle position, while being good enough against the run to keep Lavonte David clean to shoot the gaps in the run game. He and McCoy get after QB’s from inside, allowing Bowers and Clayborn to get sacks from QB’s having to move outside of a collapsing pocket.
The Bad: He can’t hold up as a space eater next to Gerald, and instead backs up Gerald McCoy and plays situationally on third downs. He still makes a few plays but generally disappoints.
The Likely: I’m not sure Landri can be a full time nose tackle, but in a rotation with the other guys on the roster, and with possible additions to come, I think he can make some plays and provide insurance for Gerald McCoy.
Steve Smith, Wide Receiver
The Good: He returns to something close to his Pro Bowl Form and has a 1000 yard season, giving the Buccaneers a very dynamic passing attack. His presence keeps Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson open more often, as well, and the offense sets even more records.
The Bad: He’s not healthy or productive enough to crack the roster, and is let go with very little fanfare.
The Likely: He makes the roster, and makes a few catches, but doesn’t shock the world. But he provides veteran depth at wideout where there was previously no experience.