The Bucs made the jump from awful to good far quicker than anyone that expected. The jump from good to great will be even tougher, but they have a shot with Josh Freeman at the helm.
Tampa is the final NFC team in our team needs series:
DE: G.M. Mark Dominik drafted a pair of inside guys last year. He could stand to draft a pair of pass rushers on the outside this time. Stylez White should be making Teen Wolf 3 in another city. Tim Crowder is also a free agent, which means Kyle Moore is probably their best returning guy. Yikes.
LB: Raheem Morris has done a nice job coaching up a defense that is clearly still in transition. Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud may be too expensive to keep and underrated Quincy Black is also a free agent. Figure the team keeps one, and drafts a guy to replace the other.
OL: A lot of questions here, and the Bucs can answer some of hem by building with youth. Even if the team brings Jeff Faine back, they could use a center. Right tackle Jeremy Trueblood is a free agent and could be replaced, while the team’s best run-blocker Davin Joseph is going to be very rich when the lockout ends.
CB: The ageless Ronde Barber is year-to-year. The immature Aqib Talib is arrest-to-arrest. Morris counts on Talib so much that the team needs to plan for life without him. If the team doesn’t take a cornerback early — forget shaky character prospect Jimmy Smith — then they might try to make a splash in free agency.
Overview: Now comes the hard part. Dominik found Freeman in ’09, but the rest of his first draft was blah. The 2010 crop was awesome, including the undrafted free agents. The Bucs could have a number of veterans leave an already-young team so Dominik again needs to find guys to contribute right away.