Over the past days, reports have come out that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are interested in adding a defensive tackle to their roster. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the team has approached both Amobi Okoye and Derek Landri. The Bucs are supposedly most interested in Okoye, and see Landri as a back-up plan if they fail to land Okoye.
The latter is a former first-round pick who entered the NFL at age 19 in 2007, but has failed to consistently produce since then. He signed with the Chicago Bears last season as a backup, and seems to have resurrected at least some of his career. Okoye could even be a long-term fixture at the position, as he's just 24. Meanwhile, Derek Landri is a perennial backup and at age 28 won't be with the Buccaneers for many years, but he could be a productive backup.
The Bucs' interest in a defensive tackle makes sense. Although the team invested heavily in the position in 2009 by using their top two draft picks on defensive tackles Brian Price and Gerald McCoy, those linemen have not been able to produce steadily. McCoy has played very well when he's been on the field, but both of his first two years ended on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Brian Price has struggled with his own injuries: hip surgery put him on injured reserve in his rookie year, and he never looked fully recovered from the massive injury during his sophomore campaign.
Because of those injuries issues, the Bucs had to look to street free agents to play defensive tackle late last season. Albert Haynesworth was picked up on waivers, while John McCargo and Jovan Haye were signed off the street. Amobi Okoye or Derek Landri should both be upgrades over McCargo and Haye, while Haynesworth was cut earlier this year. In fact, it's quite possible that Landri or Okoye push Brian Price for significant playing time, if the third-year player is still bothered by his injuries.