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Buccaneers sign Henry Melton, create defensive tackle trio of doom

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed defensive tackle Henry Melton to a one-year deal, according to Adam Schefter, since confirmed by the team. The veteran three-technique will likely fit as a backup to Gerald McCoy, and will get a solid amount of playing time in a rotation with McCoy and Clinton McDonald, who is the team's main nose tackle. Melton has 20.5 sacks in a five-year career, which is pretty solid for a defensive tackle who's struggled with injuries.

The Bucs also officially confirmed the signing of Chris Conte to a one-year deal.

You may remember Melton from being one of the best young three-technique defensive tackles when he played for Lovie Smith in 2011 and 2012, before tearing his ACL in 2013. Melton signed with the Dallas Cowboys last year and had a pretty good season, even as he was struggling with rehab and other injuries. The defensive tackle put up five sacks in limited time, starting just three games over the entire season. He wasn't quite his explosive old self, but he was still a valuable rotational player -- and there's a chance that, one year removed from surgery, he'll find a way to make an impact again.

Signing Melton now gives the Bucs one of the most disruptive groups of defensive tackles in the NFL. Gerald McCoy is the best three-technique around, while Clinton McDonald and Henry Melton complement him perfectly -- one by being a gap-shooter at nose tackle, and the other by providing some much-needed relief for both of the others in a rotation. All three players can win one-on-ones and get to the quarterback regularly, and all three are perfect fits for Lovie Smith's defense.

All of that inside rush is going to be useless without a quality outside rush to complement it, though. So that's the next position the Bucs are going to have to focus on. Derrick Morgan is supposedly their top target there, and he'd do wonders for the team's defensive ends group. All in all, the Bucs may come out of this offseason with a very good defense.