For the first time in what seems like ages, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a position to add much needed depth rather than immediate impact players.
With free agency in full effect, and the 2019 NFL Draft is creeping towards us, a little over a month away. It seem likely that The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go with the stacked defensive line depth that is provided in this year’s draft after neglecting the position on the open market.
The recent addition of pass rusher Shaq Barrett and linebacker/safety hybrid Deone Bucannon, it has become clear that the Bucs are looking to fill holes in the defense and narrow down team needs heading into the draft. Adding depth has always been trouble for Tampa Bay, and this upcoming draft should supply some much needed help behind the starters.
The thought of Quinnen Williams from Alabama not being there at number five is too traumatizing, yet Montez Sweat is not all bad after putting together maybe the most impressive Combine of any prospect, just not as the fifth overall pick in the draft. Trading down would become the go-to route, picking up extra picks and re-positioning for Sweat would be the best of both worlds.
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The secondary, mainly at cornerback, looks to be addressed early on as well after choosing to pass on bringing a new face into the organization in free agency after the departure of Brent Grimes. With plenty of decent corners coming out it would not be surprising if Jason Licht targeted a cornerback like Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson III in day-two of the draft.
Buccaneers management made it a priority to sign both offensive tackles this offseason in order to solidify the offensive line. The only glaring hole would be right guard, even though it seem to be Alex Cappa‘s job to lose. More depth is a much needed pursuit in the draft, which seems to be a common theme this off-season. For a team that has historically struggled with depth, even as last season with Kwon Alexander going down with no backup answer, the Bucs now find themselves in unchartered territory to add depth rather than plug a gaping hole on the roster.
At first glance Bruce Arians seems to be collecting former Arizona Cardinals’ players, but it stems from a lack of depth and his drive to have a winning record come late in the season of a make-or-break year. Having former players who understand what Arians deems necessary to succeed is paramount to Tampa’s resurgence.
Licht seems to be taking a play out of Bill Belichick’s playbook, signing players to one-year prove it deals, making it a possibility to gather more draft picks. If said player leaves the next year then Tampa Bay get more draft capital the next year via compensatory picks. It’s working for the New England Patriots, and after all, this is a copycat league.
With solid defensive prospects in next month’s draft, it would be no surprise to see the Buccaneers doubling up on defense with their first and second round picks. Tampa Bay are hoping for a quarterback hungry team like the Miami Dolphins, who just shipped out their $96 million man Ryan Tannehill to Tennessee for two mid-round draft picks, to give them a haul of draft assets to move up and select their signal caller of the future.
Heading into the draft season, the Buccaneers have options to add depth rather than spend big in free agency in order to add talent to the roster. While Licht has not been the best at drafting talent thus far, he does not have as much pressure heading into this year’s draft.