The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have addressed their biggest need with their first-round pick: defensive end. With Adrian Clayborn they drafted a stout run-defender who may not make the biggest impact as a pass-rusher, but will still vastly improve the Bucs' defense. This doesn't mean the Buccaneers are set at defensive end, and they could easily add more talent on the second day of the draft. Last year they drafted two penetrating defensive tackles with their first two picks, this year they could double dip at defensive end, and there are plenty of prospects left.
Another intriguing option would be to add a linebacker. Very few linebackers were drafted in the first round, and some players that were thought to have first-roud talent as linebackers are still available. Players like Akeem Ayers and Martez Wilson would certainly add talent do the Bucs' front seven. So let's take a look at some of the players the Bucs could target in the second and third round of the NFL draft.
First, three players that were likely to go in the first roud dropped out: Akeem Ayers and Justin Houston. Houston would be great value for the Bucs at this point. A defensive end in college, he has the physical talents and the skillset to be a great pass rusher. The question is whether he's committed to football: he wasn't consistently competitive on the field in college and didn't seem to love the game. But he's a terrific talent. Some of the same things can be said about Ayers, although Ayers is more of a linebacker prospect for the Bucs. He too can rush the quarterback, so he would also be a target for the Bucs. And finally, Da'Quan Bowers. A top-of-the-line talent, but injury concerns have dropped him out of the first round. There's going to be a point where the Bucs think the upside is worth the risk, and that could be in the second round.
Jabaal Sheard is another player the Bucs should be looking at. The Pitt defensive end has been very productive over his career and is a really intriguing player for the Bucs. Unlike Houston and Ayers he was always competing on the football field, and his love of the game is not in question. He's not as talented as Houston or Ayers but may eventually be the better pro.
Martez Wilson would be another intriguing player for the Bucs. Physically extremely gifted, he's still raw and was asked to play in the middle at Illinois, while he may be better suited to play at outside linebacker. He certainly has the skillset do well as an occasional pass rusher, but his instincts and coverage ability are in question.
Mason Foster is essentially the exact opposite: a terrific all-around linebacker with tremendous instincts who was constantly around the football. He wasn't a splash player and cannot get after the quarterback, but he was a consistent player on every down, and could be a very valuable player for the Buccaneers. He could star at any of the three linebacker positions.
Another intriguing second-round option would be Bruce Carter. This OLB was seen as a first-round pick, but an injury that may keep him out for part of next season has dropped his stock. He's tremendously talented and would certainly look good in a Buccaneer uniform.
In the third round, there are two prospects I really like for the Bucs; DE Greg Romeus and OLB/DE Chris Carter. Romeus was a dominant player in 2009 but missed a lot of the 2010 season due to injury. He is still very talented and can get after the quarterback, but there are questions about his durability. Chris Carter is kind of under the radar, as the Fresno State product hasn't been mentioned a lot. But he has all the traits needed to be a good pass rusher at the NFL level. Don't be surprised if he's the Bucs' third-round pick.
Finally, the Bucs have a couple of other needs they need to fill. They have a need for a complementary running back, and there should be plenty of talent available in the third round, with Jacquizz Rodgers and Taiwan Jones at the top of the list. The Bucs could decide to take a receiving tight end at some point if the player is at the top of their board. They could also use some more cornerbacks, but the cornerback class isn't very deep. Brandon Harris is still on the board, though, and would represent very good value. The same isn't true for the offensive tackle class, which is pretty deep. And with right tackle and right guard a need the Bucs could choose to reinforce their offensive line. Keep an eye on OT/G Marcus Cannon for that purpose.