3 positions Buccaneers still need to address after NFL Draft

There are still a few areas of the roster Tampa Bay needs to work on fixing up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

A long weekend came to a close for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late Saturday afternoon. That's when the Bucs turned in their final card of the NFL Draft, putting a bow on what feels like another fantastic class from Jason Licht.

The weekend started with Graham Barton falling to the Bucs at No. 26 overall, which will help the team finally replace the loss of Ryan Jensen. Tampa Bay addressed the offense three more times before the final pick rolled around, drafting Jalen McMillan, Bucky Irving, and Elijah Klein to add some depth in key areas.

Defensive players came off the board for the Bucs, too.

Chris Braswell was the team's second round pick and Georgia safety Tykee Smith was added before the second night was over.

There's still work that needs to be done, though. While the Bucs did a great job of addressing some key areas, a few positions still have to get some maintenance one way or another.

3 positions Buccaneers still need to address after NFL Draft


One position the Bucs didn't address at all in the draft was cornerback. It wasn't a top need but even before trading Carlton Davis III, there was an argument to be made that the room could use some improvement.

Jamel Dean was both injured and played poorly last season, hardly living up to the $52 million deal he signed in free agency. During Week 3's loss to the Eagles, the Bucs nearly ran out of cornerbacks and needed to dig deep into the bench for warm bodies to throw out against the reigning NFC Champions.

Tampa Bay had the chance to dip into an admittedly top-heavy class but opted to take edge rusher Chris Braswell in the second round instead. The Bucs passed on T.J. Tampa on Day 3 to take Bucky Irving and from there essentially abandoned the idea of taking a cornerback.

Both of those players were good picks, but it leaves the Bucs pretty thin at a position the team already struggled at last season.

The Bucs did take Tykee Smith in the third round, who is a safety they plan on playing outside at nickel, but he's not a true cornerback addition.




Zyon McCollum

Tykee Smith

Jamel Dean

Bryce Hall

Tavierre Thomas

Josh Hayes

Quandre Mosely

Keenan Isaac

That's not exactly great, but it will have to do for now. Free agency is still an option, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them dip back into that pool before training camp.


This might be the biggest whiff the Bucs made, but it's not entirely their fault.

It wasn't a terribly deep guard class this year, and while it thinned out fast a lot of the top remaining players after the first round lasted deep into the third day. Mason McCormick had long been viewed as a potential target -- and a classic Jason Licht pick -- but went to the Steelers with the 119th pick and it felt like a steep cliff for guards after that.

Something that doesn't help is that the Bucs were priced out of free agency pretty early on. There was simply no way the team was going to spend recklessly to add interior offensive line help, which is why there was hope that the draft would be used to address the position.

Unlike some other positions that still need to be addressed, guard help won't be easy to find.

The good news is that the Bucs made depth additions in free agency. Ben Bredeson is penciled in as the starting left guard right now but Elijah Klein -- who was picked late on Day 3 -- could compete for that role. Sua Opeta was also signed in free agency and could make a run at a starting job at training camp.

That's where we're at with the guard situation, though. Tampa Bay is relying on depth additions and a sixth round pick to help the team sort out a situation that needs to get better sooner rather than later.


Sort of along the lines of cornerback, the Bucs didn't have an obvious need at linebacker but it was still an area that could have been addressed. Chris Braswell was drafted in the second round as an edge rusher and he'll attempt to replace the loss of Shaq Barrett who left in free agency.

Another guy who left wasn't replaced in the draft, as Devin White's shoes remain unfilled by a rookie. Perhaps the Bucs are hoping that K.J. Britt takes a leap forward in his development this year, something he showed he might be capable of last year.

Britt replaced White in the starting lineup late last season, so a solution might already be on the roster.

Tampa Bay does have decent linebacker depth, but it seems there's a massive drop-off after the top-end of the depth chart. If anything, Lavonte David isn't getting any younger and there doesn't appear to be a succession plan in place.

On the upside, David doesn't appear to be losing a step or nearing retirement in the next year, so there's time to figure something out.

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