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Grading the Buccaneers' 2015 free agency efforts

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren't very active in free agency, which is a change of pace from previous years. Whether that change pace is nice is another matter, though. The fans weren't too happy with Bruce Carter as the centerpiece of a free agency class that didn't include a single pass rusher or offensive lineman -- the team's two biggest needs. When we asked you to grade the Bucs' efforts a couple of weeks ago, the result was a C-.

ESPN agreed with the fans' evaluation, giving the Bucs a C. Matt Williamson and Bill Polian clarified the grade.

The Buccaneers won the 2014 offseason, only to emerge with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft after a nightmare first season under Lovie Smith. They seemed to retrench this offseason.

"Conte is not a top-quality player, but he fits the defense," Polian said. "Melton is a great pickup. Carter, Conte and Melton will move seamlessly into the defense. Some of their moves from last year could pay off a year later."

Williamson was more skeptical. "They had lots to spend and are releasing guys," he said. "Where did they get better? Melton fits well, but where else? Their offensive line was awful last year and they didn't do anything there. Now, the earliest you will do anything about the line is with the 33rd pick."

I'm more on Williamson's side than Polian's, here. I just don't see the improvement on the roster, and I see the same holes they had at the end of the season. That's just not good enough, no matter what they do in the draft. They don't have the picks to fill all those needs.

That doesn't mean they can't add some improvements later this year. But they had the same approach last season, and they ended up with a massive gap at right guard -- one they just couldn't fill. And that was after trading for Logan Mankins during the preseason.