The Buccaneers are a safety needy team. Would they look to reunite a pair of Gators in their backfield?
When it comes to draft season there are always unpredictable moves a team can make, although some of their moves can be sniffed out due to the weaknesses they had during their previous campaign. The safety play for your Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been an issue for the team for a very long time. Whether it has been due to striking out in free agency or the draft… this organization has not found the solution it has needed.
Now with free agency and the draft just around the bend, do they finally answer that call? As it stands right now, heading into the 2017 season the Bucs may only have one true safety under contract.
Both Bradley McDougald and Chris Conte are impending free agents and may choose to walk, but that is unlikely. McDougald has been a young talented safety for this team, and it would be a wise to re-sign him.
Now although paying McDougald is an easy choice, the Conte situation is up in the air. Conte began his season with some horrid play on the back end of Mike Smith‘s defense. Fortunately enough he was able to rebound his season mid way through, but it was cut short due to injury.
Keith Tandy, who has played a reserve role on the team since he was drafted back in 2012, replaced Conte and played as if he was Pro Bowl talent.
Tandy and McDougald are expected to be returning starters for this season, but the Bucs may look to the draft to help this team in the long run.
Marcus Maye is a safety out of Florida that is definitely on their radar. The 6 foot 216 pound safety has been featured on the PewterPlank’s Seven-Round Mock Draft, and he is someone Bucs Fans should keep an eye on.
Maye, who grew up only two hours from Tampa, is a local product who has played lights out for the Gators for four seasons. Unfortunately due to an arm injury Maye had his senior season cut short, but already impressed scouts enough for his presence to be known in the draft community.
Maye is the type of safety that can be both lineup in the box and also on the back end. What sticks out the most in the numbers (which is not featured in the above graph) is the fact that Maye is credited with a pass breakup or interception on more than 21 percent of his targets.
What jumps out to me on both the film above and other game logs are Maye’s instincts. A relentless instinctive safety in the secondary of this loaded Gator defense is one of the reasons they have been able to thrive. Maye is great in the run game, and it shows with his sideline to sideline abilities.
The knock most critics have on Maye is that he gives up too many big plays and both WalterFootball and Lance Zierlien have mentioned that in their analyses. When it comes down to it, Maye is a safety that could see early action in his career. Maye has the size and looks of an NFL safety right now and with an impressive combine his stock will only rise.
Maye has a second round grade and there is a great possibility he will be the there in the second when the Bucs are on the clock.
Will Jason Licht want to pair Maye with his former teammate and friend Vernon Hargreaves III? That is yet to be known, but what is known is the fact the Bucs need to address the safety position this off-season.
For a team that is wanting to take the next step (playoffs) for this organization, they will surely find a player to stitch up the back end of this defense.
Will the Bucs continue continue the new tradition to draft Gators or Seminoles… what do you think Bucs fans?
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