While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have several positions with room for growth heading into draft season, there’s one in particular Jason Licht needs to nail, or the franchise will certainly feel the strain in the years to come.
Not overpaying for guys like Trumaine Johnson and Kyle Fuller were definitely smart moves for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The personnel they’ve inked or traded for instead have certainly set this team up for an exciting 2018 campaign.
The re-signing of cornerback Brent Grimes did two things. First, it ensured the Bucs had at least one of their perimeter defender spots locked in for the coming year. Then, it added one more year to the clock on the franchise to find their future at the position.
Outside of free-agency, the team has tried several times through the draft to find a player who could dominate outside and do it for a sustained period of time.
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Since 2010 alone, the team has drafted five cornerbacks with none panning out to be what they’d hoped he’d be thus far. Outside of Vernon Hargreaves, only one – Keith Tandy – remains on the team. Of course, Tandy doesn’t play corner.
The last situation a team wants to be in heading into a new league year is one where they’re searching for not one, but two legitimate outside defenders.
Grimes’ return has saved them from this fate for 2018, but not for 2019. With free-agency’s best options off the market now, the only way to save themselves for next year looks to be through the draft.
Who are the candidates?
Any four of these guys could feasibly develop into a starting outside defender for future seasons.
Of course, all wouldn’t be lost in free-agency next year either. Kareem Jackson, Jason McCourty and Sam Shields could all find themselves on the market in 2019, though each would be short-term solutions.
Jason Verrett is the early favorite to be 2019’s top cornerback on the market if he doesn’t get tagged or locked down by the Chargers before then. Still though, overpaying for Verrett would be just as likely as it was for Johnson and Fuller this off-season.
Cornerback hasn’t been too high on many fan and media comments for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and perhaps the seventh pick is too high for Licht to put in a card with one of the aforementioned names written on it.
No matter how they find him. It’s clear the clock is running out on the Buccaneers’ chances of finding a starting cornerback for the future.
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