Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a lot better on defense. Sure some will caution that there are still injury concerns and that they're paying too much for a cornerback - but you're not talking about just any cornerback here.
You're talking the best corner since Leon Sandcastle. The best in the game today. A difference making player who will change the Buccaneers' defense overnight. Team him with fellow All-Pro addition Dashon Goldson and the Bucs' most glaring weakness from 2012 is now a strength.
However, if Tampa Bay is going to contend for a playoff spot in 2013, there are still a few more holes to fill.
While some cite DT and TE as need positions for premium picks, I don't necessarily agree. I don't think either position has great importance for the scheme the Bucs are running. Take the TE position. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan essentially runs a modified version of the NY Giants offense. The Giants haven't valued the TE position since Jeremy Shockey was underwhelming in the Meadowlands. Each season for the past four years they've had a new guy catching the ball for them from the tight end spot.
In the G-men's offense, the quarterbacks look WR1, WR2, RB, WR3 and THEN TE. It nearly played true in Tampa Bay, but Dallas Clark actually outperformed the Bucs' third wide out Tiquan Underwood. So instead of tight end, I'd say slot receiver would be a target in the second or third round.
At DT, the loss of Roy Miller has many fans worried - but let's face it, Miller was hardly an impact player. He only could only manage a two year deal averaging $2.5 million a year - a deal the Bucs could have easily matched if they wanted to keep him. Seems to me Tampa Bay wasn't valuing the position that much.
Tampa Bay would be better served finding another pass rushing defensive end or an outside linebacker with some blitzing capability. They can always find a depth guy at DT in rounds 4-7.
A third cornerback, depth at RT and even a running back shouldn't be discarded, either. While Doug Martin is phenomenal, he can't do it by himself and there's a decent possibility LaGarrette Blount may not be a member of this football team by the end of the draft. The need at third CB may get put on hold for a year if Ronde gets off the pot and decides to play this season.
I know some may be expecting a quarterback to be drafted but I'd be surprised if that happened. Every indication we've gotten from Dominik this off season is he's pushed his chips all on Five this season. Drafting a quarterback high could be a distraction and certainly not needed with this batch of signal callers.
If the organization truly wants to move on from Freeman, next year will be the year to do it - and by some miracle, the Bucs still have a first or second round pick in 2014 to do it with.
19 of the 22 starting positions on the team are filled. DT has good candidates with Gibson and Landri, while at TE Stocker and Crabtree should be able to battle it out. At OLB, Jonathan Casillas will battle Watson and Hayward.
If the Bucs had to go to training camp today, none of those options would be bad.
In other words, the Bucs are really drafting for depth next weekend. You know...that thing that playoff contenders have.