The Tampa Bay Buccaneers filled their biggest need on day one, by selecting Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans with the seventh overall pick. But they have plenty of other needs left to fill over the final two days and six rounds of the 2014 NFL draft.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had one dominant need since Carl Nicks failed to recover from his foot injury last year: offensive guard. They barely addressed that need in free agency, signing center/guard Evan Dietrich-Smith, re-signing marginal starter Jamon Meredith and signing marginal backup Oniel Cousins -- and they cut Davin Joseph and traded Jeremy Zuttah. Even if Carl Nicks recovers from his injury, they need another guard. If he doesn't recover, they have a big problem.
Nothing's changed since then. The Buccaneers still need a starting offensive guard. That should be addressed today, with their second- or third-round pick. The Bucs would prefer to get a versatile lineman who could also be a backup at offensive tackle, and the profile they're looking for is an athletic, quick-footed lineman rather than a bigger mauler.
Top targets: Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA; Joel Bitonio, Nevada; Trai Turner, LSU
This isn't strictly a need, but Lovie Smith is always looking for more defensive linemen. His defensive scheme is based on a dominant defensive line (but then, which scheme isn't?) and adding more pass rushers is always a priority. This isn't a great class for pass rushers, though, either at defensive tackle or defensive end. The Bucs will probably take one if a quality talent falls to them, but that may not happen.
Look for undersized, speedy players at both defensive tackle and defensive end. That's not necessarily the only thing the Bucs will be looking at, but it's the main thing for Lovie Smith. Run defense isn't nearly as important as the ability to be a disruptive force against the pass.
Top targets: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State; DE Kony Ealy, Missouri; DE/OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State.
Also not strictly a need with Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Tom Crabtree already on the roster, the Bucs could still select a versatile tight end who can be both a quality blocker and a good wide receiver. Several such players should be available today, most notably the physically dominant Austin Seferian-Jenkins and the slot-receiver-with-size Jace Amaro (who was never asked to block in college -- which doesn't mean he can't do it).
We've been told that Jeff Tedford loves multiple personnel groupings and multiple formations, and nothing makes an offense like that go like a tight end who's both a quality blocker and a good receiver. Players like that can be matchup nightmare and create massive problems for defensive coordinators. If the value's right, the Bucs could certainly pick one today.
Top targets: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington; Jace Amaro, Texas Tech; Troy Niklas, Notre Dame;
What, after selecting Mike Evans with their first-round pick? Yes, even then. The Bucs now have two starting-quality wide receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, but the NFL is a three-receiver league, and the Bucs still have no depth at the position. Meanwhile, this is one of the deepest draft at receiver in recent memory. Another selection at that position should surprise no one.
That doesn't mean it's a dominant need, though, and the Bucs should be fine without selecting another pass-catcher. But they could certainly use an explosive wide-out, who they can use on screen passes and as their "speed in space" player. Everyone loves that quote. With an additional need at returner, drafting a receiver could fill that hole, too.
When asked about Mike Evans' speed and fit as a "speed in space" player, Jason Licht twice said "the drat isn't over yet, " which seems like a pretty strong hint that they could take another receiver in this draft.
Top targets: Marqise Lee, USC; Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; Davante Adams, Fresno State; Paul Richardson, Colorado.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in a slew of quarterbacks before the draft, repeatedly talked about wanting athleticism at quarterback and were reported to have placed Mike Glennon the trade block. All of that made sense, as Glennon seemed a poor fit for Jeff Tedford's offense. But in yesterday's press conference, Lovie Smith changed his mind: "Mike Glennon is our quarterback for the future."
That may be a smokescreen, although Lovie was a lot more emphatic than he usually is, or the previous interest in athletic quarterbacks may have been a smokescreen instead. Who knows? We can't rule out quarterback as an option for the Bucs, but it certainly seems to be a lot less likely.
Top targets: Derek Carr, Fresno State; Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois; Brett Smith, Wyoming.
Bucs' remaining picks
|Traded to Jets
|Traded to Bears
|9 (from Bills)