When Gerald McCoy was drafted with the 3rd overall pick of the 2010 draft, he was supposed to be the anchor of defensive. He was going to play the 3-technique position - the undertackle position - and wreak havoc in backfields. In the best case scenario, he was going to be for this defense what Warren Sapp was for the old Bucs' defense.
And then the season started, and Gerald McCoy didn't play the 3-technique but was moved all over the line. He played defensive end in a 4-3, defensive end in a 3-4, 3-technique in a 4-3, nose tackle in a 3-4 and nose tackle in a 4-3. He played all over the line, and that limited his development as he got off to a slow start. Instead of letting him run loose, the Bucs overburdened the rookie with assignments. He couldn't play fast, and he couldn't just let loose and do what he does best: get into the backfield.
But it seems that's about to chance. Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated notes that the Bucs will use Gerald McCoy primarily as a 3-technique defensive tackle next season. That's likely the influence of new defensive-line coaches Grady Stretz and Keith Millard, as the Bucs are likely leaving some of the experimentation of last season behind and moving back to a classic, penetrating 4-3 defensive line. With McCoy's move back to the 3-technique position he will have a chance to learn to own that one position, and he will have more opportunities to rush the passer one-on-one, as the 3-technique is less likely to be double teamed than the nose tackle.
This is just one more reason to think that Gerald McCoy will break out in 2011. He's been working hard this offseason, has fully recovered from his biceps injury and seems to be fully dedicated to football. He has also re-shaped his body, adding upper body strength and size while losing weight to improve his quickness. He looks like a different player. Combine all that with the fact that Gerald McCoy was making a real on-field impact right before his injury. I'm excited to see him get on the field next season. He should be much improved.