With the rush of free agency in the rear view mirror it is time to focus in on the NFL Draft, specifically on team needs. In this article we look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft needs for 2016 as we approach the April 28th 1st round from Chicago. Last year saw a huge improvement for the Bucs from the previous year. Number 1 overall pick Jameis Winston showed exactly why he was picked #1, so much so he probably should’ve won the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award. Winston and a resurgent Doug Martin boosted their offense massively. However, despite being well in with a shot at the playoffs they finished 6-10 and parted ways with their head coach, Lovie Smith. Dirk Koetter now inherits a promising roster, but he does have several holes to fill.
Biggest Need: Cornerback
As I alluded to earlier, the offense wasn’t really the problem for the Bucs a lot of the time last season, it was the defense. They gave up 26.1 points per game (PPG) which was 26th in the NFL. Clearly then, the defense needs something to boost its performance. That something should be a cornerback. Alterraun Verner and newly acquired Brent Grimes, though not being bad, don’t exactly make up the most formidable cornerback duo. Furthermore, Grimes is getting up there in age and is coming off a fairly average season. Adding a corner to slot in as the number 2 or 3 corner immediately and develop into more will be crucial.
Other Needs: Pass rusher, Safety, Offensive Tackle
Up until the signing of Robert Ayers, pass rusher was probably the Bucs greatest need, and though Ayers isn’t exactly a superstar at his position he is someone who will be able to boost the Bucs sack production. Nevertheless, adding a player to operate on the other side to Ayers would make this front seven pretty scary. Like their cornerback situation, the Bucs safeties corps could do with an upgrade. Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald are fine, but Conte is a free agent again next year and could be looking to cash-in next year. So the Bucs certainly need to add someone who will be able to take over as a starter in the near future. The Bucs could do with a new right tackle. A younger and more athletic RT can definitely be found to replace Gosder Cherilus and Demar Dotson is nothing special. I’m sure Winston and Martin wouldn’t complain if they shored up the right side of the line a little more.