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Cornerback is a need!?

Just a few weeks ago I wrote this piece on the Bucs and cornerbacks. The gist of the story was that the Bucs don't need a cornerback, or at the most need a late-round developmental prospect. Obviously with the charges levelled against Aqib Talib this changes. Talib is almost sure to be suspended by Goodell, unless a new CBA will not allow suspensions for events that happened during the lockout. A much more serious problem is a possible prison sentence that would likely end Talib's career. And all of that is compounded by the fact that the Bucs aren't allowed to have any contact with Talib, and thus can't assess the situation, forcing them to make contingency plans they may not need. The Bucs will have to add at least one corner at some point this offseason, because if Talib is not available in 2010 (and that's a possibility), they'll be stuck with Elbert Mack as the 4th corner. And that's a problem.

With that said, I do not think the Bucs need to go after a cornerback high in the draft. First of all, Defensive End is a much bigger need than cornerback and should get all the attention of the Bucs. Second, I'm comfortable with Ronde Barber and E.J. Biggers as starting cornerbacks and Myron Lewis as the 3rd corner. Barber and Biggers are competent starters already, and Myron Lewis looked promising in limited time last year. With a little more development, he will be at least a solid starter as well. And if there's anything Raheem Morris knows, it's how to coach up defensive backs. That leaves the 4th corner spot, which is manned by Elbert Mack. He won't see the field much anyway, but if there's an injury to any of the other corners he would start to see the field a lot. And that can't happen, because Mack is a liability whenever he is on the field.

So the Bucs need a 4th corner - and that automatically means they don't need to draft a cornerback high in the draft. They do need a developmental prospect, but that's the kind of player you can pick up later in the draft - say the third round, or even later. But an elite cornerback? That would be convenient, but a luxury. I'd much rather see the Bucs grab edge rushers with those picks, and competent edge rushers will only further protect the cornerbacks.