There are plenty of needs that the Bucs need to address in the upcoming offseason. It’s difficult to pinpoint the most important one, but I’ll go ahead and try. Tampa Bay most needs to figure out its defensive line.
The defense as a whole has been a major problem this season, but the root of those issues is up front. The only real certainty going forward is Gerald McCoy in the middle. He is an all-pro defensive tackle, one of the top five tackles in the league. Aside from him, who can the Bucs count on? Chris Baker has been a disappointment this year, as has Robert Ayers. Clinton McDonald is a reliable rotational guy, but he is getting up there in age. Noah Spence has struggled to stay healthy, but even if he can get his shoulder right, there are questions about his consistency.
So, where does that leave the Bucs? It would be difficult to fix the entire line in one offseason, but Tampa Bay needs to try. The Bucs need to use multiple draft picks and at least two free agent signings on the defensive line. Personally, I’d spend the first-round pick on an edge rusher. Bradley Chubb? Arden Key? Clelin Ferrell? One of those guys would add a much-needed boost off the edge.
Without pressure up front, it doesn’t matter who the Bucs have in the secondary. Quarterbacks have been able to sit in the pocket all season and pick the secondary apart. That’s not a recipe for defensive success and without a rebuilt defense next season, there’s no hope of getting back to the playoffs. That rebuild needs to start up front.