The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all about moving on in 2014. They bid farewell to many a folk, specifically cancerous head coach Greg Schiano, wide receiver Mike Williams, seemingly overpaid cornerback Darrelle Revis and the future of Mike Glennon.
The latter in a sense, of course, as new head coach Lovie Smith brought in his own man in Josh McCown, while the team has not so quietly expressed interest in adding another young passer in the 2014 NFL Draft.
It’s the season of change on all home front in the league, and Smith and co. will try to keep that trend rolling through May 8th’s draft. To get a better grasp on exactly what changes might be made, though, we’ll take a gander at their biggest needs on both sides of the ball, while discussing some of their top draft options:
Offensive needs: QB, TE, WR
So, that’s that for Mike Glennon, no? Lovie Smith gave him a nice one-two slap in the face with his glove, signing on Josh McCown this offseason. That means McCown will serve as Tampa’s bridge starter, while they find their own franchise passer. That quarterback could come as early as round one of this year’s draft, with Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and even Johnny Manziel on Tampa’s radar. If they don’t find their guy with the 7th overall pick, look for them to add someone at some point in the draft.
The Bucs have a decent receiving tight end in Tim Wright and a pretty balanced tight end in Brandon Myers. Mash them together and they have a complete stud, but apart they don’t quite get it done. That could prompt Smith and co. to push the envelope with Eric Ebron with their first pick of the draft, but even if they resist that temptation, they still can tackle the position somewhere in the next three rounds. There’s a good amount of value and depth at tight end this year.
Wide receiver might be their biggest need on offense immediately, as the trading away of Mike Williams open up a spot across from Vincent Jackson. Mike Evans will be considered at #7 overall, while the wide receiver class is insanely deep, so the Bucs could find a stud in the second or third round, as well.
Tampa isn’t dying on the offensive line, but if a stud tackle slides to them in round one, they might pull the trigger. Otherwise, some decent depth in the middle rounds might be in order.
Defensive needs: DE, ILB, DT
Michael Johnson cures most of their woes on the defensive end, but the nice thing is young draft picks are cheap and they’ll work hard to earn their big pay day. Landing a stud pass rusher to add to the rotation would be nice. They might not try to do this right away, but if they do, UCLA’s Anthony Barr could make sense. Otherwise they can target someone sliding in the middle rounds.
Linebacker could use some depth and competition. They’re not in horrible shape here, but if the right guy slides in the second or third round, this is a position they might address early on. Chris Borland could be a guy to play inside that could help make their corps a little more flexible.
Defensive tackle is another area where depth is needed. There just isn’t a whole lot behind Gerald McCoy.