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NFL Draft 2014: Buccaneers updated team needs

The 2014 NFL draft is over and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have filled most of their needs, but no team's ever truly complete. Which holes on the roster should the Bucs still fill this offseason?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers filled a slew of needs in the 2014 NFL draft, especially on offense. Drafting Mike Evans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Charles Sims, Robert Herron and a pair of offensive linemen has given their offensive talent a massive boost, and leaves them with few holes yet to fill after the draft. 

But, as Jason Licht said, the Bucs do still have some holes on the roster and some needs they'll look to fill. Whether that's by finding quality undrafted free agents or signing some street free agents as teams start cutting down their rosters remains to be seen, but the offseason is far from over. We're still more than three months removed from seeing some real football again. 

So let's take a look at the team's top remaining needs. 

Offensive line

Projected starters: Anthony Collins, Carl Nicks/Jamon Meredith, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Oniel Cousins/Patrick Omameh, Demar Dotson

Further depth: Kadeem Edwards, Kevin Pamphile, Josh Allen, Jason Foster, Andrew Miller, Emmett Cleary, Jace Daniels, Matt Patchan

Yes, the Buccaneers selected two offensive linemen in the draft in Kadeem Edwards and Kevin Pamphile. Both players are big, physically gifted linemen who could develop into quality starters down the road. However, both players are raw from a technique perspective. 

"I need work on my body, that's first and foremost," Kadeem Edwards said after being drafted. "My strength and my pad level I think are the key areas that can help me excel in my game if I improve them."

Kevin Pamphile's even more raw, having played defensive line in his first two years at Purdue before switching to offensive line. "I started playing offensive line halfway through my redshirt sophomore year. I started playing defense first, then halfway through the season they moved me over because the offensive line was getting beat up." 

These profiles do not fit instant-impact starters. Which means the Bucs still have a need at offensive line. They currently have Carl Nicks, Evan Dietrich-Smith and Jamon Meredith penciled in as starter, but Nicks' future in football is still in doubt due to a chronic foot injury, while Meredith is hardly a high-level starter.

That leaves Edwards, Oniel Cousins and Patrick Omameh competing for a roster spot on the interior line, while Pamphile is being tested at tackle initially. This is not a group that inspires a lot of confidence in case of injury to starters, and adding a solid veteran presence would do a lot to ease worries over the Bucs' interior offensive line. 

Defensive line

Projected starters: Michael Johnson, Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald/Akeem Spence, Adrian Clayborn

Further depth: Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers, William Gholston, Steven Means, Chaz Sutton, Scott Solomon, Euclid Cummings, Everett Dawkins, David Hunter, Matthew Masifilo

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a pretty good group of three starters in Michael Johnson, Gerald McCoy and (probably) Clinton McDonald -- though whether the latter or Akeem Spence will actually start at nose tackle remains to be seen. The Bucs are less secure at left defensive end, and they could use some depth at defensive tackle. 

Clinton McDonald is a pretty high-level backup three-technique behind Gerald McCoy, but the Bucs have three solid defensive tackles and could use more depth at the positions. William Gholston has shown the ability to be effective as a rush defensive tackle, which should help that depth. 

At defensive end, the Bucs have no proven players. Adrian Clayborn hasn't done much as a left defensive end, playing predominantly on the right in his first three seasons, while Da'Quan Bowers has been a disappointment since entering the league. Gholston showed some quality development late last season, but I'm not sure relying on him is a terrific idea. More depth and a solid veteran presence at strongside defensive end would help. 


Projected starters: Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Jonathan Casillas

Further depth: Dane Fletcher, Ka'Lial Glaud, Nate Askew, Steven Jenkins, Danny Lansanah, Damaso Munoz

The Buccaneers are satisfied with their starters in All-Pro Lavonte David, Mason Foster and Jonathan Casillas. It's a versatile and athletic group, although Foster's abilities in coverage are perhaps not entirely ideal. The Bucs likely won't find an upgrade on any of their starters at this point in the offseason, but they can try to add quality depth -- because there's not all that much behind those three players. 

Dane Fletcher is the one reliable, veteran backup the Bucs have. He was a spot starter for the New England Patriots in the past, and was productive in that role. He'll be competing with Mason Foster for the starting role at middle linebacker, but he's unlikely to win that competition. He provides some solid depth, at minimum. 

Beyond him, the Bucs have very little. Every other backup on the roster was an undrafted free agent in the past three years. That's pretty bad depth, and adding some more talent would be a good idea.