The 2019 NFL Draft is just over a month away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the fifth team looked at.
Tampa Bay’s season started off with quarterback Jameis Winston being suspended for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. While he was out, Ryan Fitzpatrick got the team off to a good start, but the team faded to finish with a 5-11 start. Now, Bruce Arians is taking over for Dirk Koetter as head coach to lead the Buccaneers.
While they led the league in passing yards last season, it was mostly because they were behind and not indicative of great quarterback play, as they only averaged 24.8 points per game. They did, however, have a group of talented receivers in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and more. The rushing offense ranked 29th in the league, featuring running backs Peyton Barber, Jaquizz Rodgers and Ronald Jones. The offensive line was decent, but could be improved. This offseason, Jackson has been traded and Fitzpatrick has moved on in free agency.
The defense ranked second last in the league in points allowed per game at 29.0 points per game. The defensive line will need some upgrades next year, as outside of Gerald McCoy, they struggled. Their pass rush was not very impressive outside of Jason Pierre-Paul, who registered 12 sacks last season. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander were a good linebacker combo for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay’s secondary was shaky at best, but is filled with a lot of young players. Shaquil Barrett has been added to help the pass rush, but Alexander has moved on to San Francisco.
2019 NFL Draft Picks
Arians will have seven picks to work with in his first draft with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
First round (one pick): No. 5
Second round (one pick): No. 39
Third round (one pick): No. 70
Fourth round (one pick): No. 107
Fifth round (one pick): No. 145
Sixth round (one pick): No. 208
Seventh round (one pick): No. 215
Offensive Guard/Center- The Buccaneers need to protect Winston at all costs and the interior of the offensive line should be the first or second area addressed.
Tackle- Demar Dotson has played well at right tackle, but Donovan Smith hasn’t been a great left tackle. If he doesn’t improve this season, they’ll need to find a blindside protector for Winston.
Running Back- Arians has been impressed with Barber and Jones is still young, but none have shown that they are lead backs in the NFL.
Cornerbacks- The young players in the secondary haven’t progressed and they need find several cornerbacks to help them slow down their opponents’ passing attacks.
Safety- The corners weren’t good, but the safeties didn’t offer much support either.
Linebacker- David is still there and Deone Bucannon was signed, but more linebacker help is still needed with the departure of Alexander.
2019 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 5: Devin White, LB, LSU
With Smith getting another chance to prove himself at left tackle, no interior offensive linemen are worth picking in the top 10 and the same thing true of corners, Tampa Bay needs to look to trade down. If they don’t, White will likely be the best player available. He is a fast linebacker that would pair nicely with David to help make linebackers an area of strength for the Bucs. His ability to cover and blitz will make him valuable as a three-down linebacker.
Pick No. 39: Garrett Bradbury, OG/C, NC State
Even if they don’t look for a tackle in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Bucs need to improve the offensive line if they are going to be successful. Bradbury is an athletic center who used to play tight end. He was named the best center in college football last season and now is likely going to be one of the first interior offensive linemen selected in the draft.
Pick No. 70: David Long, CB, Michigan
If the Bucs don’t address the corner position in the first two rounds, they’ll have to in the third round. There should still be some talented corners available. Long had an impressive combine and was a part of a good Michigan pass defense.