The biggest need has been finally addressed. With the trade for Darrelle Revis, the hole at cornerback is not nearly as glaring as it once was. I still believe corner could be addressed in this draft for the Bucs, but it is not the necessity it once was.
With the secondary looking much more stable, the Bucs now must turn their attentions to other areas that need to be improved moving forward.
Here’s a look at some of the Bucs biggest needs and some of the day 2 targets that might fill those needs:
Defensive Tackle: I think defensive tackle has become the Buccaneers most pressing need, now that cornerback has been addressed. There is no way that I believe either Gary Gibson or Derek Landri should be the starting nose tackle lining up next to Gerald McCoy. The Bucs allowed Roy Miller to leave to Jacksonville, so improving that position should be a focus, both with strength and with a threat of a pass rush. If the Bucs can find a legitimate tackle to play next to McCoy, we could really see this Buccaneer defense become one of the best in all the NFL. Keep an eye on North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams. If he starts to slide, he would become a target the Buccaneers could trade up for.
Day 2 Targets: Johnathan Hankins (Ohio St.), Kawann Short (Purdue), John Jenkins (Georgia), Jesse Williams (Alabama), Brandon Williams (Missouri Southern St.), Bennie Logan (LSU), Akeem Spence (Illinois)
Tight End: The most important need on the offensive side of the ball is tight end. The tight end can be a quarterback’s best friend and provide a sense of security for that player. Josh Freeman had Dallas Clark last season. Clark, who is still a free agent, was not able to make as many plays over the middle of the field as you would hope. While some believe that Bucs offensive coordinator would not want a top-notch tight end because he does not utilize the tight end much in the “Giants” style of offense, I completely disagree. The right tight end can help in the run game as a blocker, can stretch the middle of the field and make big plays, and also provide Josh Freeman with a legitimate and reliable check-down target.
Day 2 Targets: Zack Ertz (Stanford), Travis Kelce (Cincinnati), Gavin Escobar (San Diego St.), Vance McDonald (Rice), Jordan Reed (Florida), Dion Sims (Michigan St.)
Defensive End: The Bucs have their starters set with Adrian Clayborn and DaQuan Bowers, but depth is sorely needed at defensive end. The Bucs have to find someone to consistently rush the passer and be a part of a rotation along the defensive line. There is also the concern of injury as both Clayborn and Bowers have dealt with injuries in their young careers.
Day 2 Targets: Tank Carradine (FSU), Damontre Moore (Texas A&M), Margus Hunt (SMU), Datone Jones (UCLA), Michael Buchanon (Illinois), Corey Lemonier (Auburn)
Linebacker: With Quincy Black now gone, it is my understanding that Greg Schiano is very interested in drafting a linebacker in the 3rd or 4th round this year. This linebacker might not be asked to come in and start immediately, but he could provide valuable depth, contribute on special teams, and eventually become a starting caliber player. Most likely, this player would project to strongside linebacker in the NFL. Will Greg Schiano go with a Big East player here?
Round 3 and 4 Targets: Khaseem Greene (Rutgers), Sio Moore (UCONN), Trevardo Williams (UCONN), Keith Pough (Howard), Zavier Gooden (Missouri), Jon Bostic (Florida)
Cornerback: Yes, the Buccaneers addressed a huge need with the trade of Darrelle Revis and Ronde Barber could still return for another season, but cornerback could still be a target. While it might lack in elite top-end talent, this draft is very deep when it comes to corners. The Buccaneers might have the luxury of drafting a corner in the 3rd or 4th round to develop into a starter down the road.
Round 3 and 4 Targets: David Amerson (NC St.), Jordan Poyer (Oregon St.), Logan Ryan (Rutgers), Blidi Wreh-Wilson (UCONN), Sanders Commings (Georgia), Marc Anthony (Cal), BW Webb (William & Mary), Tyrann Mathieu (LSU), Leon McFadden (San Diego St.)
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