With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. Up next is the one with the No. 7 overall selection, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have six picks overall, missing a fourth from the Darrelle Revis trade (how’s that working out for you?).
Wide receiver: The Bucs were among the league’s most active teams in free agency, but for all their additions, they only subtracted here.
Trading troubled Mike Williams for a sack of beans (Buffalo’s sixth-rounder) was an admission that the new regime had no interest in the past regime’s problems. Though he’s been productive, a new General Manager who didn’t sign him or a coach who didn’t pick him made him expendable after he was stabbed in the leg by his brother.
The Bucs basically have Vincent Jackson and that’s it (though that does put them ahead of the Panthers, one receiver to zero).
It’s hard to imagine Clemson’s Sammy Watkins lasting until they pick, but he’d be a perfect fit. Otherwise, a deep class at the position should have them double-dipping here, if not triple-dipping.
Defensive end: Even after bringing in Michael Johnson in free agency, they need more bodies.
Lovie Smith’s style demands multiple pass-rushers up front, and a solid third option behind Johnson and Adrian Clayborn should be viewed as a necessity rather than a luxury.
With Clayborn being moved to left end, entering a contract year with the team declining to pick up his option, having someone for 2015 and beyond is more important than any immediate concern.
Using the 38th pick on a pass-rusher makes a lot of sense, if they don’t take one in the first.
Guard: The Bucs still can’t be sure when or if Carl Nicks will be back to being Carl Nicks, but they do know they didn’t want to pay Davin Joseph to be Davin Joseph and Donald Penn to be Donald Penn.
The solidified the middle of the line and the edge by signing Evan Dietrich-Smith and Anthony Collins, but there are still plenty of holes.
If the Bucs want to be serious about running the ball (and they will), they’ll need some big boys up front to clear the way for Doug Martin.
Quarterback: Josh McCown is a perfectly adult player, and the Bucs will be just fine if he ends up starting all year.
But he’s not such that they can ignore a long-term answer if one falls into their laps.
Smith has gotten to Super Bowls with serviceable-at-best quarterbacks before, so it’s not as if winning demands a franchise passer.
But it will be interesting to see if they bypass a Johnny Manziel or a Blake Bortles if they slide past the top six.
Cornerback? Actually, it’s not the biggest need on the team. But it is kind of funny that they’re missing a fourth-round pick for the privilege of getting rid of Darrelle Revis.
Alterraun Verner should be a good fit for the physical style Smith demands, and they brought in Mike Jenkins to compete with Johnathan Banks for the other spot.
They will need more depth there, but this isn’t the pressing need they’ve had in the past.