The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have the first overall pick tonight, as the 2015 NFL draft gets started. But there's more to their draft than just whether or not they'll take Jameis WInston number one overall. Here's everything you need to know about the Bucs and the next three days.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have eight draft picks this year: one in each round, plus a second seventh-rounders. Outside of the first three rounds, almost none of those picks are their own. Jason Licht has spent a lot of time wheeling and dealing the past two years, which has resulted in a bit of messy board. Here's what it looks like.
|7||14||231||from Dolphins, via Ravens and Lions|
The two picks the Bucs received from the Rams came in exchange for Mark Barron. Tampa Bay's own fourth-round pick was traded to the Patriots along with Tim Wright in exchange for Logan Mankins. The Bucs traded their own fifth-round pick to get a fifth-round pick in last year's draft, with which they selected Kevin Pamphile. The one they have now came from the Ravens, in exchange for Jeremy Zuttah.
The Bucs traded their own sixth-round pick to the Patriots last year, giving up Jonathan Casillas in exchange for their fifth-round pick. Tampa Bay then moved that pick to the Lions in exchange for George Johnson and the extra seventh-rounder. And that's how the Bucs pulled together this mess of a draft board.
Needs: Quarterback, offensive line
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have three big needs: quarterback, offensive tackle, and offensive guard. Those are the three positions they absolutely have to fill this offseason, though not necessarily in the draft.
The Bucs will take a quarterback with the number one pick, barring a ludicrous trade offer coming in at the last second. That need will be filled, but they currently only have one starting guard and tackle, and that is not good enough -- especially with a rookie quarterback who will have to rely on a shaky offensive line to keep him upright.
Beyond the offensive line, the Bucs do have some other needs they could address early in the draft. Specifically, defensive end and free safety. The team's currently relying on George Johnson and Jacquies Smith as their penciled-in starting edge rushers, which is not exactly a very experienced group. They'll have to do better than that, but to get a reliable pass-rusher they may have to sacrifice their offensive line additions -- tough choices.
As for free safety, that's likely to be addressed late in the draft. The Bucs got rid of Dashon Goldson this offseason, and now have Major Wright and Chris Conte competing at that position. The Bucs could survive with one of those two players starting, but it would not be ideal -- and they'd want a long-term prospect to groom anyway.