Last year Tampa Bay made a huge splash in free agency. This season the Bucs have been active but have only landed one star in safety Dashon Goldson. That's a big get for Greg Schiano's defense, especially considering their secondary had one of the worst seasons in recent football history. Stunningly, the Bucs made no moves at cornerback. Tampa fans are hoping that this is because they are close in trading for Darrelle Revis of the Jets. But for the time being, the Bucs have to assume that may not happen. It's just a little shocking that they didn't go out and sign at least one free agent corner.
In other moves on defense, the Bucs lose defensive tackle Roy Miller and defensive end Michael Bennett in free agency but they also gained tackle Derek Landri and end George Selvie. The Bucs could have found a good one in for Saints outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas.
On the offensive side of the ball the Bucs added depth at wide receiver with the additions of Steve Smith and Kevin Ogletree. Meanwhile, Schiano went out and signed one of his former college stars at Rutgers in running back Brian Leonard. He could be a nice fit for their offense in Tampa.
Tampa Bay needing [at least two] cornerbacks may be the biggest one need outside of quarterback [for certain teams] than anyone else in the National Football League. No. 13 overall may be a little high to draft a player like Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant. It's doubtful that Dee Milliner slides to the Bucs at that spot.
Bucs GM Mark Dominik has shown in recent years that he's willing to trade up to get players. It wouldn't surprise me whatsoever to see Tampa move somewhere into the top five to land Milliner. Then again, the asking price could be too high. If that's the case, I could also see Dominik moving back in the round to add some more draft picks and getting their cornerback there, perhaps Rhodes or Trufant.
Much depends on what happens between the Bucs and Jets over Revis. The clock is ticking. The situation is so bad that even if the Bucs make a trade for Revis they still need to draft another cornerback.
2) Defensive Tackle
This has turned into a rather big need for the Bucs, especially with the loss of Miller. There's a chance that the Bucs might be in position to draft defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. He would be ideal for Tampa and could help provide a pass rush presence from the middle of their front. Of course they could seek a d-tackle in the second round like a Johnathan Hankins or Jesse Williams.
3) Tight End
There no question that the Bucs have weapons at running back and on the perimeter. But quarterback Josh Freeman could use a young, talented tight end. This is a position that you can almost guarantee Tampa will address. They could take one as early as the second round or wait a little longer.
4) Defensive End
Tampa has one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL. Former first round draft pick Adrian Clayborn is coming back from a knee injury. They could certainly use another body to rush the passer. Again, where do they address this need? If they do it early keep an eye on a guy like Bjoern Werner. If the Bucs want Ezekiel Ansah they would likely have to trade up.
5) Strongside Linebacker
Two things could happen here. First, the Bucs could draft a SAM linebacker to replace Quincy Black, who they cut because of his injury. Elite prospects that are available in the first round are players better suited in a 3-4 defense. So this is a position they could address in the mid-to-later rounds. There's some good players there. Their second option is to draft a middle linebacker and move their starting MIKE, Mason Foster, to the strongside.
Having said that it would be interesting to see what a player like Jarvis Jones could do for this Tampa defense. He's arguably the best pass rusher in the draft and he could certainly give the Bucs a big boost in that area. But he's more suited for the 3-4 defense.
6) Right Tackle
The Bucs want to pound the football and right tackle is a priority. D.J. Fluker is not out of the question. In fact, he would be an outstanding fit in Schiano's offense. It's just that the Bucs have more pressing needs. This is a position that I would think gets addressed at some point during the draft.
7) Slot Receiver
There are many that have mocked Tavon Austin to Tampa with their first pick. It would make sense if the Bucs didn't have such a glaring hole at corner and even at d-tackle. Look for Tampa to take a strong look at players like Ryan Swope, Ace Sanders and Marquise Goodwin in the middle to late rounds.
There's no guarantee that Josh Freeman will ever be the guy. He's been too inconsistent and 2013 will be his contract year. They could choose to select a QB at some point during this draft and see what happens. Mike Glennon and Tyler Bray are two signal callers that could fit their offense.
Brian Leonard (FB)
Steve Smith (WR)
Kevin Ogletree (WR)
Tom Crabtree (TE)
Derek Landri (DT)
George Selvie (DE)
Jacob Cutrera OLB)
Jonathan Casillas (OLB)
Dashon Goldson (S)
Chas Henry (P)
Nate Kaeding (K)
No Longer With The Team
D.J. Ware (RB)
Arrelious Benn (WR)
Jeremy Trueblood (OT)
Roy Miller (DT)
Michael Bennett (DE)
Quincy Black( OLB)
E.J. Biggers (CB)
NFL Draft Story Central