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Captaining the Ship: What Players, Former and Current, Would You Add To The Tampa Bay Buccaneers?


So I won’t lie. I’ve been spending the past couple of months salivating over the Bucs pre-season roster, and imagining the possibilities this team can accomplish if healthy. It’s got everything you’re looking for: superstar names, youth mixed with a couple vets, guys on the cusp of breakout potential, underrated players, and even some Pro Bowlers for good measure. While there is still room for improvement, there are few gaps that are crying incompetence. I began to question just what finishing piece this team needs in order to be deemed dominant. The youth they have, especially in the starting lineup, is very promising for some time to come, but I want to know, this 2013 NFL season alone, who would be your dream come true? If the front office gave you the captain’s chair in One Buc Palace, and said you could make one addition, and one addition only, to IMPROVE this roster, who are you calling first?

Now that being said, there is so many ways to look at this. I am not using answers people may consider obvious like Brady, Rodgers or Manning, and to be honest, as I’ve written before, I believe in Freeman. Also, I’m talking about a hole in our roster. I don’t want to replace a decent, competent player with an upgrade that would still leave obvious weaknesses on our depth chart. Anyone could say AP, Jim Brown or Barry Sanders, but Doug Martin is a bright spot for the Bucs and one that doesn’t need changing. I will look at this from a slew of different angles though, so let’s get to it.

First Scenario: If I could bring back any retired Tampa Bay Buccaneer to their prime and have them suit up again, it would be…..

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Derrick Brooks. This answer isn’t hard. Though Sapp could help out on the line, and Alstott would open big lanes for The Dougernaut, the one player that would completely elevate a position on this team is Brooks. His leadership alone would be valuable to the young linebacking corps we are investing in. Also this move could allow Mason Foster (who is, in my eyes underrated) to bounce back to the outside and be a force. Brooks not only built Tampa’s D into a feared unit, he was an icon that many players in the league today grew up trying to emulate. I also feel this would be the best choice as Brooks was a factor all over the field. He backed up the D-line, made sideline to sideline plays, and was able to read plays and drop back into coverage at the drop of a hat. This is one of my favorite articles that shows just how good Brooks was and how adept and in tune he was to what was happening on the WHOLE field.

Runner-ups: Warren Sapp, Hardy Nickerson, Simeon Rice. Jimmie Giles

Second scenario: If I could bring back any player in the history of the NFL to their prime and have them suit up for the 2013 Bucs it would be…

Lawrence Taylor. This answer wasn’t easy. Yes we had the #1 rush defense last year, but we let Bennett walk, and upgraded our pass D astronomically. This means I want a guy that will help the D line and add pressure. I thought of other linebackers that may be more complete, but the fact is Tampa put money into their secondary this year and I want that to be well spent so I am going to let them prove themselves. I also can’t see looking for a tight-end for an offense that plans on the long ball and the ground and pound. I am happier with most positions on this team than I am with the linebacking corps as a whole and it makes sense to add someone that will affect the next weakest link around them. I do know this may not be what many were thinking but believe me there is so many names I’d like to put here. LT would fill this particular void more purposefully than most and that impact would spill over to the line.

Runner-ups: Reggie White, Joe Green, Deacon Jones, Jack Lambert, Mike Singletary, Kevin Greene, Jack Ham, Ray Lewis, John Mackey, Kellen Winslow

Third Scenario: If I could bring any active NFL player to the 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it would be…

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Von Miller. My case for this is simple. With the way the Tampa Bay offense is planned, Josh Freeman isn’t in dire need of a Tight End like Gronk, Graham, or Davis. Don’t get me wrong it would be nice…but not necessarily the biggest need. Our biggest need is another impact player in the front seven on the defensive side of the ball. I picked Miller here because I like his youth, I like his talent, and I like his demeanor. JJ Watt would be ideal also, but I feel that still leaves a bigger hole right behind the line. Von Miller can play the pass rush backer, or drop back and make plays. I know there can be a case made for other players out there also, but this kid hasn’t hit his ceiling and he is damn good already.

Runner-ups: Patrick Willis, JJ Watt, Mario Williams, Aldon Smith, DeMarcus Ware, Luke Kuechly, Brian Orakpo, Sean Lee and so many more

Fourth Scenario: If I could bring any current free agent to the 2013 Tampa Bay Bucs it would be…

John Abraham. Hear me out. Last year it was our defense that lost us games…more so our pass D. However, as I said our pass D has been strongly upgraded while our rush D has taken a hit. John Abraham is not an every down player and we don’t need that. What we need from him is the leadership he can bring and the stats he achieved last year when he did line up. He’s more than worth the low risk bargain a team would be taking on him and I believe out of all of the free agents still swarming out there he would be the best fit as a player that would still suit up and play and not just be a depth contract.

Runner-ups: Richard Seymour, Michael Boley, Desmond Bishop

Fifth Scenario: If I could bring a veteran player to the Bucs for leadership alone, it would be…

Terrell Suggs. He fills a need, is a leader, and played under some of the best players to ever step on the field. Experience like this has no value.

Sixth and last scenario: If I could take any of the already drafted rookies and add them to our CURRENT roster instead, it would be…

Jarvis Jones. He has the skill at linebacker and is able to get at the QB. This fills a void in a few capacities. There is a ton of rookies that may have been beneficial to this team, but a player that can help out in the front 7 in more than one way would be an asset.

When I started writing this article, it was with the thought of how fun it would be to have Derrick Brooks back. My intention was not to pick the same position for almost every scenario, but looking at last year, the Bucs offense was not to blame for all of the close losses. It was defense, and more specifically, pass D. After addressing that, we have to make sure the run D will still be able to hold it down in the same fashion they did a season ago. I am sold on most of this roster, but after Mason Foster and Lavonte David, the last linebacker spot is the weakest link defensively. There are needs on offense, but aside from needing a tight end to step up, all the pieces that kept the games close are still there. Not everyone (or anyone) will agree with the choices I made here but there is so many theoretical points to make a case for so many players. That is why we have a comment section. Sound off and let me know who your choices would be for each scenario.

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