2013 Draft Fallout: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

May 13th, 2013 by Staff

The 2013 NFL Draft transformed 32 NFL rosters. Around The League will examine the aftershocks in our Draft Fallout series. Next up: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Big Question: Have the Buccaneers built a playoff-caliber defense?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a schizophrenic operation on defense last season.

Nobody in the NFL was better at stopping the run, but Tampa’s secondary was a disaster. Despite an offense that pumped out 24.3 points per game, the defense allowed more (24.6), mainly because opposing air attacks shredded the Bucs for a league-worst 297.4 yards per outing.

Coach Greg Schiano did what he could with the players he had in 2012, but this year’s Bucs boast a completely remodeled secondary, anchored by Hall of Fame-worthy cornerback Darrelle Revis, acquired from the New York Jets. You can’t judge Tampa’s draft without accounting for Revis.

The Bucs didn’t rest there. Tampa used its first pick in the draft (at No. 43) on Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks, who joins a defensive backfield that also includes Eric Wright and a pair of nasty safeties in free-agent pickup Dashon Goldson and the promising Mark Barron.

“We’re building it our way. We’re building it with our kind of people,” Schiano said after the draft, via FoxSportsFlorida.

The Bucs have a plan. They used last offseason to upgrade on offense. This time around, the defense has been re-imagined and — with a hungry Revis at the wheel — Tampa looms as a dark-horse candidate to steal the NFC South.

Three Takeaways

1. If any team is primed to mimic San Francisco’s midseason quarterback switch from a season ago, it’s the Bucs. I don’t care what the team says, it’s clear Josh Freeman — heading into a contract year — hasn’t won over Schiano. The drafting of Mike Glennon gives Tampa more than a project player. He arguably owns the strongest arm of any rookie passer. He’s not NFL-ready, not yet, but I fully expect Glennon to play if Freeman stumbles early.

2. General manager Mark Dominik is underrated. I love what the 49ers and Seahawks have done this offseason, but Dominik exhibited considerable guts pulling the trigger on Revis. His ability to seamlessly adapt from the Raheem Morris regime to Schiano shouldn’t be overlooked. Dominik will be the talk of the league by season’s end.

3. Until the Bucs can count on Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn to play through a full campaign, pass-rushing help remains a priority. That means a pair of fourth-rounders — defensive end William Gholston and tackle Akeem Spence — could see plenty of early playing time. Disrupting Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton is a must inside this pass-happy division.


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