The Less Discussed: Draft Rounds 5-7

The first three rounds of the draft have been widely debated. It is consensus that RB, CB, and LB will most likely be our first 3 selections in an order we don't know. For this fanpost, It will be assumed that starters are found at all three positions in these rounds. The Bucs are without a 4th round pick due to the Luke Stalker trade. This leaves 3 draft picks left in rounds 5-7. Beyond the three a fore mentioned positions, the Bucs don't have many glaring needs that require fixing this season.

Late round draft picks are often used to address future needs, create competition, add depth, or to sometimes draft BPA. For the purpose of this fanpost it is assumed the team is going to draft based on future needs or to add depth.

First off, the Bucs have a few to be free agents in 2013. The notable free agents are Connor Barth (K), Michael Bennett (DE), EJ Biggers (CB), LeGarrette Blount (RB), Tanard Jackson (S), Roy Miller (DT), Frank Okam (DT), Preston Parker (WR), Ed Gant (WR), Sammie Stroughter (WR), Aqib Talib (CB), Ronde Barber (Jerryatric), and Jeremy Trueblood (OT). From the information I have available, only Ed Gant will be a RFA.

Of these players, it will be a priority to resign Blount, Barth, Gant, and Bennet. The team will likely be looking to lock up players like Miller, Okam, and Parker for depth. The jury is still out on Biggers, Talib, and Jackson. The rest will most likely see their career end as a Buccaneer. Due to these free agents, the positions that appear weak are corner, safety, right tackle, and depth at the defensive line.

After this year the depth chart for cornerback will be drafted player/Eric Wright/Myron Lewis/Anthony Gaitor. On paper that doesn't seem too bad given the hope that the drafted corner can come in and develop into a starter. However, Lewis and Gaitor are widely unproven. Best case scenario is the team gets an addition corner and pushes Lewis to #5 and Gaitor to #6. This leads to the question: Does the team draft a late round corner now to fill depth next year or do they wait till next year to draft a corner higher?

The current roster at safety is Jackson, Grimm, Black, and Asante; both Sean Jones and Corey Lynch are out the door. As stated previously, Jackson is on his contract year. Believe it or not, safety is possibly our shakiest position. You have a reinstated player on his final year who couldn't tackle a fly last season, an injury prone slow safety who has broken a leg and torn an ACL, a very puzzling 2nd year player who is even slower than Grimm, and a career backup. Depending on how Jackson plays this season, he very well may not be a Buccaneer afterwords. Put that on top of the fact that Grimm may not even be capable of playing at NFL caliber and we're in trouble. This may seem like an obvious conclusion that we will take a safety this year. However, both Black and Asante were 5th round picks. It is questionable that we are going to add another late round safety to our roster. Next years draft is very solid at safety and that might factor in also.

The new FA additions to the offensive line have been solid. The obvious weak link is Trueblood, and he is on the last year of his contract. Behind him on the roster currently is Larsen, Dotson, Hardman, Ingersoll, and Meredith (some of these names are unheard of so they are probably practice squad). None of these players are currently of starting caliber, and Dotson is really the only one with true potential. This is arguably the biggest need in the later rounds.

The defensive line can't seem to stay healthy. The past two season have led to the Bucs reaching into the bottom of the depth chart to find players to start on the line. Hell, we even had to bring in the fattest, ugliest, and most overpaid man in the NFL to fix our issues. Bennet, Miller, Okam, and Mcargo are all to be free agents in 2013. While some of them will most likely be resigned, there is still the chance the FO wants to cover themselves now.

Linebacker, like corner, is going to be a top 3 pick for the Bucs. Also like corner, the team may need to double dip in the draft. The starting roster this year will likely be Foster, drafted linebacker, and Black. Quincy Black is currently the 7th highest paid player on our roster making 5.5 million every year until his contract expires in 2015. Take away our FA signings and only Freeman, Mccoy, and Joseph make more than him. After this season the Bucs can cut him and only take a 250k cap hit. This very well may be a possibility, but for the time being he is guaranteed a shot to earn his contract. Behind these three players are Hayward, Watson, Curran, Cutrera, and Balogun. Of these players there are three quality backups. In the current state of the NFL, three linebackers are on the field about 50% of the time. This makes the need for a third above-quality-linebacker on a team rather low. Considering how the nickle corner will be on the field just as much, their values are about the same. How many people when asked can name the three starting linebackers for the Bears? The first two are easy, but how many people know the name Nick Roach? The point is that Foster and an early draft pick at linebacker can be the team's solution moving forward and will probably not double dip at linebacker this year.

In conclusion, the Bucs have many routes to go in the 5th, 6th, and 7th rounds. Going purely by needs, the team may take safety, corner, linebacker, tackle, and defensive line. However, the team only has three picks. I would argue that offensive tackle takes priority in the 5th, corner in the 6th, and defensive line in the 7th. It is hard to put names to the picks because of the round, but Andrew Datko is a possibility in the 5th.

I apologize for how misguided this fanpost is at certain points and I fully understand that these are considered the "garbage picks", but hey! You can never have too much draft coverage.

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