It’s day 17 of Draftmas and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed vast improvement by going 9-7 in 2016 after going 6-10 in 2015. They started the season at 1-3, but their one win was against eventual NFC Champion Falcons. It may have started out rough, but Tampa Bay rebounded from that start to have a solid season.
Jameis Winston built on a successful rookie season and had more passing yards, touchdowns and a higher passer rating last year. The offense though, was average, scoring 22.1 points per game. The Bucs did have to deal with Doug Martin getting injured again and receiving a suspension for performance enhancing drugs. He finished the season with just 421 rushing yards.
To make their offense more dynamic, Tampa Bay signed Desean Jackson to pair with Mike Evans at wide receiver. The offensive line needs to be improved, as Donovan Smith hasn’t played well in his first two seasons and J.R. Sweezy has a back injury that has and will continue to hamper him.
Run defense was sub par for the Bucs, as they allowed 1,875 yards on he ground last season. Pass defense was just as bad, ranking 22nd in the league, just like the run defense.
J.J. Wilcox was signed to address one of their biggest needs, safety. Brent Grimes is a great corner, but is aging and the only good one they have. Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy is also a fantastic player, along with linebacker Lavonte David, but the Buccaneers have a few needs to still address on this side of the ball to get to where they want to be, the playoffs.
Picks and Needs
The Bucs have seven picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. With some good selections, these players can help Tampa Bay compete for a division title.
First round: (1) No. 19
Second round: (1) No. 50
Third round: (1) No. 84
Fourth round: (1) No. 125
Fifth round: (1) No. 162
Sixth round: (1) No. 204
Seventh round: (1) No. 237
These needs are in no particular order.
Running Back- Doug Martin is often injured and has now just completed a stint in rehab following a four game suspension handed down for his use of performance enhancing drugs. He is still suspended for the first three games of this season. He was a healthy scratch last year too for a game and needs to improve to keep his job.
Defensive End- The Bucs re-signed William Gholston, but could use some more defensive ends for depth purposes.
Cornerback- Brent Grimes is aging and Vernon Hargreaves is still developing.
Targets and Thoughts
The picks here are who the Buccaneers could realistically get where they are drafting.
Pick #19: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Most thought that Cook would be gone by this point, but a lot of people have him falling due to a variety of reasons. He has fumbling issues, injury issues and some teams are worried about his off the field issues. Cook is a dynamic playmaker that could really open up the offense for Winston. They are college teammates, which will likely make Winston happy.
Pick #50: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
Tankersley has good size and talent, but doesn’t always read what the offense is doing in a timely manner. He will be available by the time the Bucs pick in the second round, so they will likely address the need by taking the best corner available.
Pick #84: DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
Walker is good at rushing the passer and disrupts passes by sticking his hands up into the passing lane. With time he can develop into a solid starter on the defensive line.
The NFC South has sent two straight teams to the Super Bowl. With the Panthers likely to rebound, the Falcons likely to stay very competitive and the Saints having a great offense, it will be tough for the Bucs. If Winston continues his development and they make the right draft choices, they can make the playoffs.
You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas here!
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