The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have spent 12 of their draft picks under Lovie Smith and Jason Licht on offense. That investment hasn't been unwarranted: turns out the Bucs had the eighth-oldest offense in the NFL last year, weighted by their contribution to the team. According to Football Perspective, the Bucs had an average offensive age of 27.7 years.
That was caused by a slew of veterans starting a lot of games, most of whom have now been released: Josh McCown, Anthony Collins, Logan Mankins, Oniel Cousins, Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy were the main culprits. Three of those players are no longer with the team, replaced by rookies Jameis Winston, Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet respectively. That means the Bucs have replaced three old veterans with three rookies, and in time Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins should be displaced in similar ways. And that's not including last year's rookies who are likely to take on a bigger role this season.
In other words: the Bucs have begun a pretty drastic rejuvenation process on offense. Which is good, because you need youth for a sustainable team -- veterans are nice and necessary, but they need to be frequently replaced.That's what age does in the NFL. The Bucs now have the building blocks on offense to potentially have a very successful unit for a decade or more.
Meanwhile on defense, the picture looks very different. The Bucs had the second-youngest defense last year at 26 years on average, behind only the St. Louis Rams. And they actually got a little younger this year, replacing the 30-year-old Dashon Goldson with 26-year-old Chris Conte, and getting rid of Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers and Michael Johnson. The difference will be slight but there, too, the Bucs have the makings of a team that can be successful in the long term.
In other words: it's possible the Buccaneers are now on the eve of a very successful period in their franchise history. Rejoice!