For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the defensive line was an obvious need heading into free agency. They addressed it with big-time signings and a big-time trade. That of course wasn’t going to stop them from looking into the draft for help as well.
The team has needed an edge rush for quite some time. After acquiring Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul, the writing was on the wall that they did not want to go into another season without production from the defensive end position.
That brings us to the visit of NC State’s Bradley Chubb on Thursday.
Yes, Chubb visited the Bucs early on and was reportedly later flying out to New York for a pre-draft visit with the Giants, too. So Tampa Bay wasn’t the only one with dibs on the NC State product for the day.
But let’s say, hypothetically, they do draft Chubb. You know the phrase “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”? Would that apply here?
I am all for the Bucs drafting Chubb. At 6’4” 275 lbs., his size is very comparable to that of 2014’s first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Like Clowney, Chubb can certainly be the first overall pick as well. That’s the type of talent he has.
The problem is this. Tampa Bay selects him seventh overall. They have Paul, Curry, and Spence right off the bat who are pass rush specialists. Chubb is said to be considered an every-down edge rusher who is also very good against the run. Putting him on the newly revamped defensive line will be a blessing for the Buccaneers.
But an every-down player should be playing the majority of snaps and he’ll be on rotation.
In some ways, it would be a wasted pick. Sure, Paul and Curry are much older and won’t be around (or perhaps productive) for much longer and Spence is a wildcard still. Drafting Chubb — if he’s there at No. 7 — can make sense from that angle. It just feels like we would be talking about a guy the Bucs drafted and is being under-utilized. Something that seems to come up every season with any player and this team.
So, if Jason Licht has the chance of selecting Chubb because he’s the only one of the Big 3 available when the seventh pick rolls around, he should pull the trigger. We should just be cautiously optimistic because of this coaching staff.
Let’s hope that defensive line coach Brentson Buckner will be the man with the big voice for how to properly utilize that defensive line.