The biggest off-season concern – as it stands now – is pass rush. The Buccaneers have generated next to none all season, despite the additions of Robert Ayers and Chris Baker over the last two seasons via free agency and Noah Spence in the draft two years ago.
Now, the Spence shoulder issue is one that is starting to be a growing concern. This could be a career long nagging issue that costs him games on an annual basis, which means it will be difficult to rely on him consistently. As for Ayers and Baker, they haven’t lived up to expectations and that has cost the Bucs dearly. The only defensive lineman that is consistent game in and game out is Gerald McCoy, but because of that issue he is the only one opposing offensive coordinators truly have to worry about of game plan for.
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This off-season, the Bucs’ draft plan should rely heavily on the acquisition of offensive and defensive linemen, pass rushers most of all. We are all enamored with Bradley Chubb, but there seems to be a growing sentiment that he won’t be there when the Buccaneers are on the clock, at least as they stand now in the draft order.
Some free agent names to keep an eye on are Ziggy Ansah of the Detroit Lions, DeMarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys, Alex Okafor of the New Orleans Saints, Dontari Poe of the Atlanta Falcons, and Sheldon Richardson of the Seattle Seahawks. Now, it’s unlikely that all these players hit the market and you have to have a reserved approach to any player that hits free agency – they got to that point for a reason, just understand what the reason is – and trying to overhaul your pass rush through free agency isn’t exactly a recipe for success.
The Bucs will need to pick up some young talent in the draft to become the core of their pass rush, but supplementing with a player or two – especially if it’s one of the players named above – will certainly help the growth and development become an expedited process.