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Buccaneers had fifth-best defensive 2016 NFL draft class

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After two years of drafting almost nothing but offensive players, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers focused on defense in the 2016 NFL draft. With Vernon Hargreaves, Noah Spence and Ryan Smith, three of the first four draft picks were defensive, and two of them should play significant roles as rookies.

Lance Zierlien, who's done excellent draft analysis for NFL.com for years, thought the Bucs had the fifth-best defensive draft class in the NFL this year.

Vernon Hargreaves should step into playing time immediately at one cornerback spot, and he could be a big upgrade at the position. Noah Spence offers pass-rush potential at the defensive end spot, which is something the Bucs came into the draft hoping to address. Smooth-moving cornerback Ryan Smith has excellent mirror-and-match footwork that should get him noticed in camp.

The downside here: the New Orleans Saints had the fourth-best defensive draft class. Here's to hoping Dennis Allen will be just as horrible as Rob Ryan was.

The Bucs needed to add quality and depth to their defense. Years of neglecting to draft defensive players had left the team with little depth, and many quality starters are starting to age. Getting two good starters, and possibly three on the long term, would be a massive boost to a defense that has struggled for years on end.