Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Needs

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Dustin Staggers from The Pewter Plank and Fan-Sided Blogs weighs in on who the Bucs should be looking at in the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft.

The 2009 NFL draft will be enormous for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their transition from the seven year regime of Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden to the new men in charge, Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris. For all of the criticism Jon and Bruce received because of the players they drafted, we have an awful lot of players who will be starters next year from their drafts. Barrett Ruud, Aqib Talib, Tanard Jackson, Gaines Adams (that’s 4 defenders), and Alex Smith, Aaron Sears, Davin Joseph, and Jeremy Trueblood (4 offensive players) will start next season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as at least 7 quality backups (Jeremy Zuttah, Quincy Black, Greg Peterson, Geno Hayes, Adam Heyward, Quincy Black, Sabby Piscatelli). Even with all these successful players taken in the draft, the amount of unrestricted FA’s we have this season (Michael Clayton, Antonio Bryant, Carmella Garcia, Luke McCown, Jovan Haye, Jermaine Phillips) just to name a few, make this draft a pivotal one for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

RB/WR
First and foremost, offensive weapons, in my opinion are the most glaring need for this football team. The late season injury to Cadillac Williams as well as the lack of a starting receiver under contract (unless you’re happy with Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway as the starters) to me are a glaring hole on this team. The young offensive line, although struggling a little late in the season, is one of the most promising in the league. Davin Joseph made his first Pro Bowl this season, and Jeff Faine and Aaron Sears could have easily joined him. We need to put some pieces in place behind
those guys that can put touchdowns on the board.
Potential First Day Targets – Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Darius
Heyward-Bey, Lesean McCoy, Knowshon Moreno, Chris Beanie Wells

DT
The most essential position on the defensive side of the ball in any scheme in my honest opinion, and one the Bucs need to address either in FA (Albert Haynesworth!) or in the draft. Chris Hovan and Jovan Haye produced 1 sack from the starting DT’s and both seemed to wear down as the season went along. Greg Peterson and Ryan Sims are more suited to rotational duty on the interior line, and to be perfectly honest at this point in Chris Hovan’s career, I think he would be better suited in the same role. Haye is a FA that I’m not sure whether or not we plan to retain. This has been a position that has been a weak link for the Bucs since Warren Sapp left and Booger McFarland was traded. It needs to be fixed.
Potential First Day Targets – Peria Jerry, BJ Raji, Ron Brace

CB
With Jim Bates coming aboard as the defensive coordinator, the Bucs will certainly be moving towards more man coverage. This is good news for Sabby Piscatelli and Tanard Jackson (and Jermaine “Flip” Phillips is he is retained) but bad news for Ronde Barber. I think Ronde will shift towards primarily a nickel corner role this season, elevating Aqib Talib to the main man coverage corner. Phillip Buchanon would be the number two corner in this scenario, but this position could certainly be augmented in the draft. I think another big physical corner (like the ones Bates had in Green Bay) is essential to the transition of this defense.
Potential First Day Targets – Sean Smith, Vontae Davis

DE
Let’s face it, Gaines Adams has been mildly disappointing, and Stylez G White had a subpar 2008 as well. Jimmy Wilkerson was a real surprise and can play all the defensive line spots, and should be counted on for an even bigger 2009. We still need to obtain a guy who can consistently get to the QB 10 times a season and not be a complete liability in the run game.
Potential First Day Targets – Everett Brown, Tyson Jackson, Michael Johnson

QB
With Jon Gruden out as the head coach, I would have to imagine (depending on who we hire as the OC, if this ever occurs) that the new brass would like to bring in a young signal caller. With Gruden here, I was fairly sure that we would always use vets at the position, but he is out, and a young signal caller will probably be a priority. We drafted Josh Johnson last season, but he still seems like a project guy to me. There is a good chance we will struggle in year one of our transition, so waiting for the Big 3 to come out next year, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow, might be the more prudent move.
Potential First Day Targets – Matthew Stafford, Josh Freeman

Dustin Staggers, Lead Blogger, The Pewter Plank