clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2013 NFL Draft: Updated Buccaneers team needs

What needs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers left after free agency, trades and the NFL draft?

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

After a very active free agency period where the Buccaneers added an All-Pro free safety and a lot of depth and competition, the Buccaneers still had a few needs. After adding Darrelle Revis in trade, they still had a few needs. And after the 2013 NFL draft, they still have needs. Some old, and some new. Still, the Buccaneers have quality starters at most positions and adequate depth across the board. Let's go over them.

1. Tight End

I keep harping on this, because it really is a need. No, the tight end position isn't hugely important for the Buccaneers - but Dallas Clark still had 47 catches and four touchdowns last year. That's not nothing. More importantly, though, the Buccaneers had Dallas Clark in on 54% of all offensive snaps, and Luke Stocker on 51% of all snaps. That's a pretty significant number. It's significant to note that the Bucs almost always have at least one tight end on the field.

So tight end can't just be ignored, but the Bucs are putting an awful lot of faith in Luke Stocker and Tom Crabtree right now. Stocker's an okay blocker and has done little as a receiver so far, but he hasn't been targeted much either. Crabtree is smaller than Stocker, but he's a little faster and may actually do more as a receiver. He's also a decent blocker, especially when he can go up against linebackers and safeties. The Bucs also have a really, really good blocker in Nate Byham and a developmental receiving tight end in Danny Noble.

But if we honestly look at that group, it's a whole load of nothing and maybes. And if anything can hamstring this offense, it could be this position group.

2. Backup running back

Oh yeah, the Buccaneers actually added a need by trading away Legarrette Blount. Now, I wasn't the biggest Blout fan -- but he was a talented runner and he was certainly a better runner than anyone the Bucs have on the roster now. But apparently they're fine with Brian Leonard, Michael Smith and Mike James platooning in case Doug Martin goes down with an injury in this run-heavy offense.

Now that's a real issue. The Bucs could sign someone off the street (Ahmad Bradshaw would be my favorite there), but do they want to spend the cap space to do so when they will need that space next year?

3. Backup offensive tackle

The current Bucs' backup offensive tackle is Jamon Meredith, who looked pretty decent last year -- playing offensive guard. If Demar Dotson or Donald Penn goes down, the Bucs could be in serious trouble with an iffy backup plan. With Freeman's consistency in question, having a defensive end in his lap because of poor tackle play will not help matters.

4. Third receiver

I won't call this position slot receiver, because the Bucs don't really have a slot receiver. Right now, though, they have a lot of players in training camp to compete for this spot, but no one I would trust. They gave Kevin Ogletree a bunch of money to try to be that guy, but he's had basically one good game in his entire career. Who is going to be the third receiving threat to help spread the field?

5. Kick- and punt returner

Who do the Buccaneers have for these jobs right now? No one. Yep.

Read more:

Bucs sign thirteen undrafted free agents

Ten reasons why Tim Tebow won't be a Buc

Bucs' 2013 draft - was it successful?

More draft grades!