It’s been a heck of a ride so far for the Buccaneers, who have gone with offensive skill positions for every pick of this draft so far.
They started on Thursday night by grabbing Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans.
Yesterday, they continued to bolster the offense by selecting Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and West Virginia RB Charles Sims.
This afternoon, the Bucs could continue the offensive trend.
While Tampa Bay did a great job at bolstering the offense and making the team, on paper, almost impossible to defend in the red zone, there are still needs at key positions that could hold the team back from reaching their potential come September.
Everything in the NFL starts with offensive line play. If it’s good, your team will provide your quarterback with protection, and your running backs with lanes to pummel through.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a huge need for interior offensive linemen.
Before the Bucs selected Charles Sims with the No. 69 overall pick, everyone thought it would be a sure thing they would take a guard at that spot. After they made the selection, many of the best guards in the whole draft were taken.
While they may not get a starter at guard in day three, look for the Bucs to grab depth for an offensive line that is unproven as a unit, and that has Carl Nicks coming back from toe surgery.
Tampa Bay could also use a speedy slot wide receiver to complement their big, new targets. We’ve heard the term “speed in space” thrown around a lot, but have not seen the Bucs acquire the players that can bring that to the table yet.
There is still a slim chance that the Buccaneers could target a quarterback in these later rounds. Although Lovie Smith said that Mike Glennon “is our future” at the position, GM Jason Licht was a part of the Patriots staff that found Tom Brady in the sixth round. Licht is also on record as saying that he believes there are franchise quarterbacks in this draft, just maybe not the one’s we’re thinking of.
With the offense being so heavily addressed in the first few rounds, expect some defensive selections scattered throughout this afternoon. Lovie Smith, known around the league as a defensive coach, needs to pick up some depth. Defensive tackle would be a good place to start, because there isn’t much there after Gerald McCoy and Akeem Spence. Linebacker is another position that could use some depth. With the departures of Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson, Tampa Bay lacks the guys that can spell Lavonte David and company, and that can make plays on special teams. Adam Hayward was a special teams captain for the Buccaneers.
Even though there are a lot of holes, remember, this is a very shallow draft for the Buccaneers in terms of draft picks. Tampa Bay has only three left, on a day where it is vital that they acquire more to bolster the team’s roster from the back end.
Here’s the Buccaneers’ current draft picks for day three, although I fully expect them to make a trade to get some more. Remember, they don’t have a fourth round pick because of the trade for Darrelle Revis last year:
- Round 5, Pick 3 (No. 143)
- Round 6, Pick 9 (No. 185)
- Round 7, Pick 6 (No. 221)
And with those picks, here are some guys the Buccaneers should be looking to bring to Tampa Bay:
- Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State
I doubt he lasts until the fifth round, because many teams had a first or second round grade on him. But if the Buccaneers got this guy, their linebacking core would be even more impressive. Lovie Smith would have a field day with him.
- DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
Again, not a pressing need here, but it would be good to grab some depth at the position. Past McCoy, I’m not sold on that unit. Although I like Akeem Spence, he needs to make sure he stays on the field, and is more consistent when he does.
- Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
I mentioned this guy in my Day 2 preview, and he has fallen into Day 3. Ellington is lightning quick, and could be a slot receiver that fits the “speed in space” phrase. Didn’t run a full route tree at SC, but Tedford can coach with that. Also, as an extra tidbit, he went to South Carolina so that he could play BASKETBALL. “Dunkaneers”, anyone? Only negative is that he is 5’9″.
- Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida
He’s Sammy Watkins’ older brother, and has played both corner and safety. He’d make a great depth player that can be used anywhere in the secondary. Also, his bloodlines suggest that he could be pretty good.
- Any offensive guard. Really. Anyone. Please and thank you.
Dakota Dozier, my favorite of the bunch, is still there. David Yankey is still there. Cyril Richardson. One of these guys must become a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, right? If not, then the coaching staff and front office must have all the confidence in the world that Carl Nicks is healthier than ever, and ready to dominate for a full 16 games. Guard is rarely a position to get excited about, but the idea of getting one of these three guys is exciting to me. These are guys that, I believe, can start for a team right away and make a difference. Go get one, Jason.
Even though most of the draft’s heavy lifting has been done, the Bucs still have plenty of work to do. Let’s hope they find a way to fill some of their outstanding team needs and make this a better team all around.
Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers