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Team needs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg Schiano AP

With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. Up next is the team with the No. 13 overall selection (for now), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cornerback: This is where the focus has been all offseason for the Bucs, even if nothing’s been done.

See, at the moment (checks watch) the Bucs haven’t traded for wantaway Jets corner Darrelle Revis, and they haven’t yet given him the giant contract extension he desires and the Jets don’t seem inclined to provide.

But sometime between two months ago and the start of the draft, everyone expects this to happen, and for the deal to include Tampa’s first-rounder (13th overall).

While there are corners the Bucs could go with at 13 and proceed, they seem set on Revis. In a division with at least two teams with multiple legitimate receiving threats, they can easily make the case they need him.

But they also look like a team that has money burning a hole in its pocket, and appear to be the only team ready to give up picks and then an extension to a guy coming off a torn ACL.

They strong-armed Eric Wright into a pay-cut after his guarantees voided, but lost E.J. Biggers in free agency, so they need someone here one way or another.

Defensive end: The Bucs didn’t seem concerned at all about losing Michael Bennett, who signed a cut-rate deal with the Seahawks.

That puts a lot of faith in Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers — talented players with suspect medical files.

Even if they could trust both to be well and whole, the Bucs lack depth, and need to find someone else to get pressure on the passer.

Tight end: Dallas Clark put up good enough stats last year, but they haven’t re-signed the 33-year-old. They did bring in former Green Bay spare Tom Crabtree, but he’s not the kind of downfield threat they need. Adding one is only going to help diversify an offense with a lot of potential.

Quarterback: For the moment, all the trust is in Josh Freeman, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

There are questions as to whether the entire organization is behind him, and questions as to whether they should be. Freeman has had stretches where he’s looked like the kind of guy you build around. But he hasn’t done that consistently enough to breed complete confidence.

The only thing they’ve done at the position is make backup Dan Orlovsky take a pay cut, so you figure at some point they’re going to do something.

Drafting one of the guys who fall to the second round would put the pressure on Freeman to produce, or set the stage for that guy to take over in a year.

With the stakes of a potential Revis trade, plus the looming contract decisions regarding Freeman, the Bucs have more subplots than in recent memory.

They’re an interesting team, good enough to contend if the parts fall into place, but also tenuous enough to take a steep fall if Freeman doesn’t respond to the challenge.

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12 Responses to “Team needs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers”
  1. meandjuliojonesdownbytheschoolyard says: Apr 14, 2013 11:19 AM

    I couldn’t help but notice that your pick for them, Tavon Austin, is not listed among their needs.

  2. 1bucfan813 says: Apr 14, 2013 11:22 AM

    It’s ok we will get the rest of the pieces in the draft. Even if we don’t get DR.

  3. devasher says: Apr 14, 2013 11:50 AM

    QB is not a greater need than DT. The fact that TB only has one starting DT makes it a bigger need than all but CB. But yeah, talk about wasting a 2nd rounder on a marginal qb prospect. Great idea. Let’s use assets to replace one of the better players on the team and neglect others.

  4. beckzhere says: Apr 14, 2013 1:54 PM

    It’s going to take some magic for them to stay alive in the NFC South. They are easily the least loaded team in that division.

  5. thegregwitul says: Apr 14, 2013 2:31 PM

    @beckzhere: The Bucs have more talent than Carolina, along with better cap management. New Orleans isn’t a lock to be elite, either. There is no reason Tampa can’t compete for at least 2nd place in their division. Atlanta still looks like the best team in the division and one of the better overall teams in the conference, but to suggest the Bucs don’t have the talent, when in fact they are pretty well stocked at RB, WR, o-line, both safety spots, have two very promising defensive ends, a stud LB in Lavonte David, an elite DT in Gerald McCoy and a QB who at his best looks like a star and at his worst looks completely befuddled, is flat out ignorant. Combine all that with plenty of cap space due to well managed contracts (even the big money signings are cap friendly) and the chance to acquire a superstar in Revis, and the Bucs could surprise some people this coming season.

    The key of course will be the QB play. If Josh plays like he did the first ten or eleven games, the Bucs will be fine. If he comes out flat like he did during a few of those late season games, there could be some trouble.

  6. napalmfingers says: Apr 14, 2013 4:25 PM

    Least loaded team in the division? They moved Carolina to another division?

    Seriously, go to ourlads and look at Carolina’s projected depth chart. Unless they have about a dozen guys looking to have breakout years, or the single finest draft class in the history of the NFL, they have one of the least talented rosters in the LEAGUE, screw the division.

    And that New Orleans team that had the same record as us but lost their starting left tackle, has done nothing to improve its piss poor running game, and are switching to a defense they hardly have any personnel for?

  7. melkipershero says: Apr 14, 2013 4:34 PM

    If I was TB I’d take on Sanchez with Revis if it meant giving up a 2nd and a 4th or 5th. Without Sanchez 1st, 3rd or 4th in 2014 depending on TB being a playoff team or not, and a 7th.

  8. tyelee says: Apr 14, 2013 4:39 PM

    QB is 1 of the most important players on the team and unless the Bucs can find a Quality QB to start and lead their team they will always struggle!

  9. meandjuliojonesdownbytheschoolyard says: Apr 14, 2013 6:11 PM

    People keep talking about Bucs needing a QB. No QB can win without a defense, which Freeman hasn’t had since he was drafted. All but one game last year was decided by a TD or less. We were a couple of pass deflections or interceptions from the playoffs. You can’t put the entire teams success on one guy. Defense needs to step up and give Freeman a chance to win some games even if he’s not having his best day.

  10. cmdrsmooth says: Apr 14, 2013 8:49 PM

    Revis would make this team a serious contender.

  11. tpa43 says: Apr 14, 2013 10:09 PM

    Having a decent owner is the biggest hole, followed by a coach and secondary.

  12. njligernj says: Apr 15, 2013 3:19 PM

    Owner is the biggest hole. We’ve spent less money than any team in the league since they purchased Man U.

    I believe we have the most cap room in the league (after the Wright restructure) yet again (just like almost every single year).

    Glazers out!

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