Tampa Bay entered this offseason with holes in many positions on both sides of the ball. With a glaring need for help on the defensive front, the Buccaneers were big players in upgrading the defensive line during free agency.
Two other positions on the defensive side of the ball that needed to be addressed was cornerback and safety. Although the team is bringing back Brent Grimes at corner and re-signed safeties Chris Conte and Keith Tandy, there is not much to be optimistic about when it comes to the play of the secondary as a collective unit.
Head coach Dirk Koetter recently talked about the importance of improving the secondary via the upcoming NFL Draft. The organization acknowledges that they need to bolster that group, much like their acknowledgement of beefing up the defensive line. Koetter’s words hold true, and that is evident in the pre-draft visits.
The team has brought in a total of 18 players on official visits so far. Of those 18, the majority have been cornerback or safety prospects. Here is a breakdown of players per position that they have visited with.
- Secondary: 7
- Defensive Front: 5
- Running Backs: 3
- Offensive Line: 2
- Wide Receiver: 1
As you can see, Tampa Bay is certainly doing their due diligence on the defensive side of the ball by bringing in the most prospects for a unit that needs attention. And for a team that struggled mightily on defense in 2017, this is a very good first step in the right direction being that they are still scouting defensive line prospects as well despite the additions in free agency.
This isn’t to say that they will be addressing those positions of need early in the draft. In fact, they can go with best player available at another position. But this pattern of visits do confirm Koetter’s statement on targeting the secondary, perhaps often throughout the draft.