The NFL season has passed the half-way point, and that means we're seeing more and more draft coverage. Mel Kiper has come out with his first team-specific analysis of the year, and it's always fun to examine what the most famous (though not the best) draft analyst thinks your team should do. Here's what he wrote on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Top emerging needs: CB, DE, WR
Analysis: The Bucs did a phenomenal job of drafting for need and finding impact in April. Mark Barron has become a force at safety; Doug Martin is on his way to stardom; and Lavonte David was one of my favorite value picks in the entire draft and quietly leads the team in tackles. The Bucs are now among the teams with the most young talent in the league. I think they'll now look to upgrade what is still a below-average pass rush. Gerald McCoy has come on, but they could use another 4-3 defensive end who can become a headache for offensive coordinators. Help at corner is also a must, where if not for Ronde Barber the Bucs might have a major issue. I'm also not opposed to the addition of a shifty wide receiver to work underneath as Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams occupy coverage on the edges.
Drafting tomorrow: Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida St.
Ah, Florida State pass rushers. Always intriguing, rarely living up to their promise. Yet sometimes, they do produce quality defensive linemen. Perhaps Cornellius 'Tank' Carradine will be one of the exceptions to the rule. He's raw, but very, very talented. Every team can use more pass rushers basically always, and the Bucs' lack of depth on the defensive line has certainly been exposed this season. Even though the team should expect to get Adrian Clayborn back next year and even though Da'Quan Bowers has been impressive in limited snaps the past few weeks, I could certainly see them taking another defensive lineman.
Still, the biggest issue facing the Bucs is fixing the secondary. They simply do not have the quality to stop a lot of passing teams right now. Safety play could be better, though Ronde Barber has gotten much better at playing free safety since the season started. More importantly, though, the Bucs need better cornerbacks. E.J. Biggers is a useful player for depth purposes, but he's not a starting-quality cornerback. Eric Wright is a good player - but when teams go to three or four-receiver sets, the Bucs are quickly fielding undrafted rookies and sub-par players.
I could see a receiver being drafted as well, especially so if Tiquan Underwood and Arrelious Benn don't show more over the next seven games. A linebacker who is outstanding in coverage is a possibility, as is a free safety. Yet cornerback help remains the pressing need, and there's little reason to believe the Bucs will look elsewhere at this point.