The position that I’m most sure will be a priority next year is cornerback. Like the offensive tackle and defensive end positions, Tampa Bay has starters firmly entrenched for the 2017 year. Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves are locked in as the two base starters, with Jude Adjei-Barimah likely to take the starting nickel corner role. Also like the offensive tackle and defensive end positions, this group is one injury away from catastrophe this season and a huge question mark for 2018.
Brent Grimes, while still playing at a high level, is 33 years old and a free agent after next season ends. The team will more than likely attempt to re-sign him if his level of play remains high this year, but finding his replacement will still be a priority. Complicating matters is the uncertainty around Vernon Hargreaves, who had a brutal rookie campaign (albeit a solid stretch to close the season). If the Bucs determine that Hargreaves isn’t made out to be a true #1 cover corner this season, the need for cornerback grows even larger.
Ryan Smith and Javien Elliott are the two wild-cards, both rookies last season that the Buccaneers have cautious optimism for. Smith was a fourth round pick in last years’ draft as a safety, but has transitioned this off-season to cornerback. Smith has real, long-term upside and very well could be an in-house heir apparent to Brent Grimes. Javien Elliott is going to compete for the nickel corner role and at worse should make for quality depth. The play of these two will go a long way in determining whether the Bucs use a first or second round pick next year on cornerback.
What do you think, Buccaneer fans? Are there any positions that you’re more worried about than the ones listed here? Any potential free agents that you’d want the Bucs to target for said positions? Are we getting entirely too far ahead of ourselves?! Sound off in the comments below!