The 2019 NFL Draft is just over a couple of days away. Keep in mind that the last few days leading up to the draft is smoke screen season, so don’t believe everything you see.
With that being said, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a fantastic opportunity to improve their football team in a big way come this weekend. There are still many holes on this football team, so Jason Licht, Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles have their work cut out for them.
Here are the three biggest positional needs for the Buccaneers heading into draft weekend.
Cornerback: It isn’t a great year to need a shutdown corner in this year’s draft, but the Buccaneers could use one. Bruce Arians has expressed great confidence in Vernon Hargreaves, but I’m not close to being sold on him as an outside cornerback. In addition to his up and down play, Hargreaves also has been bit by the injury bug the last two seasons. Relying on him as a potential #1 cornerback is not smart and a huge risk that could back fire.
The team also has Carlton Davis, who showed promise as a rookie, but most likely will never be a true #1 cornerback in this league. In a pass happy league, the cornerback position is extremely week on this football team, and it needs to be addressed.
You have to think that they will be targeting a corner at some point in the first three rounds. Arians has stated that they will be looking for more of a slot cornerback then an outside guy.
Linebacker: In terms of biggest need, this is right up there with cornerback. After losing Kwon Alexander in free agency, the team has a massive need at linebacker. I know that they signed Deone Bucannon in free agency, as well as Shaquil Barrett, but they need a true playmaker in the front seven and we’ve heard of a certain LSU standout that can be that guy.
There have been rumors that have tied Devin White to the Buccaneers pretty much since this whole process began back in mid-January. The fit makes sense, the only question is whether or not the value lines up with the fifth overall pick. The numbers say no, but what if Devin White puts together a rookie season like Darius Leonard did for the Indianapolis Colts last season?
If you find a player that you feel fits your scheme to a tee, you take him and worry about the money and the production fitting that money later. Of course, it would be ideal if the Buccaneers trade back and take White, but you’re always taking a risk by moving back.
Right Guard: You can argue defensive tackle, especially if Gerald McCoy is released, but if you get a solid option at right guard, that instantly improves the play of both Ryan Jensen, as well as Demar Dotson and the play of the offense overall. I believe last year, both players were so focused on helping Caleb Benenoch, that it negatively impacted there play and focus on their own assignments.
One of my favorite players in this year’s draft is Chris Lindstrom out of Boston College. If he’s available in the top of the second round, the Buccaneers would be fools to pass on him. He would be a plug and play right guard who would improve this team from day one.
If - and it’s a huge IF - the Buccaneers can find a quality starter at all three positions mentioned above, I believe it will have been a very succesful draft for Jason Licht.