Team Needs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 10 Needs
1. CB - 4.0
2. LB - 3.5
3. OT - 3.0
4. DT - 3.0
5. S - 3.0
6. DE - 2.5
7. FB - 2.5
8. RB - 2.0
9. WR - 2.0
10. OG - 2.0
Quarterback - Josh Freeman did not play particularly well this past year, but this team seems content with moving forward with him. But he'll definitely need a bounce-back year if he intends to earn that big contract extension that they were looking into last off-season and endear himself to the new coaching staff. Backup Josh Johnson is a free agent, and was liked by the previous coaching staff but it remains to be see if new head coach Greg Schiano and his staff will take to him. If not, then they will be looking for a No. 2, likely to come on the open market. NEED: 1.5
Running Back - Blount is a good back, but he couldn't stay healthy and play with consistency this past year. They will want to add someone that at least can be a good third down option to platoon with him, similar to what they lost in Cadillac Williams. Despite catching 41 passes, Kregg Lumpkin left a lot to be desired. NEED: 2.0
Fullback - The team handed this position over to former defensive end Erik Lorig, and while serviceable it's likely they will bring in someone to at least compete for this spot if not outright take it. NEED: 2.5
Wide Receiver - Mike Willams production took a step backwards, and Arrelious Benn wasn't the consistent No. 2 option the team hoped for. But along with Dezmon Briscoe and Preston Parker, they have a good, young quartet of receivers. They might try to add a veteran to the mix to stabilize the unit, but they could just as easily be comfortable with allowing these young guys to grow and gel with Freeman. NEED: 2.0
Tight End - Kellen Winslow has struggled with knee issues in recent years, and is coming off one of his weakest seasons as a pro. A new coaching staff won't do him any favors so they could part ways. But if they do, they will need to find a better replacement than Luke Stocker, who is a capable blocker but middling receiver. NEED: 1.5
Offensive Tackle - Donald Penn is volatile but a capable left tackle. Jeremy Trueblood is the real problem spot here and it was surprising that the team re-signed him last summer given his overwhelming inconsistencies. Look for them to try and add depth and upgrade that spot. NEED: 3.0
Offensive Guard - Joseph is coming off a Pro Bowl year, and Jeremy Zuttah has been capable at left guard. Given his ties to Schiano, he should return as a free agent. Zuttah could kick inside to center down the road, opening the need to upgrade the left guard spot. NEED: 2.0
Center - While still a serviceable starter, Jeff Faine will turn 31 this year and hasn't played a full 16-game slate with the Bucs since his first year in Tampa in 2008. If they do part with him, it's likely an in-house candidate like Zuttah or Ted Larsen will fill in, although they could add another body as insurance if need be. NEED: 1.0
Defensive Tackle - When healthy Gerald McCoy is an up and comer and a lynchpin for their defensive success. But he missed 10 games this past year due to a torn biceps. Brian Price has flashed potential, but Roy Miller has squandered opportunities as a starter. They could try and beef up this position since the run defense was atrocious last year. It's likely a veteran in free agency will be their first option given the immediate potential and the presence of several young players already. NEED: 3.0
Defensive End - Bowers and Clayborn showed enough as rookies to think going forward they can be a solid pair of starters. Michael Bennett was a capable situational player because of his ability to play inside and out. If anything, it's likely that they will target a veteran pass rusher to bolster their rotation. NEED: 2.5
Linebacker - It's likely that new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan will look to employ bigger, more physical players on the outside than Geno Hayes and Quincy Black. Hayes is a free agent, and probably a slim bet to return. Mason Foster had his moments in the middle, but seemed overmatched too often last year. They could move him back to the outside, the position he played in college to replace Hayes. That would leave a void in the middle, an area that will be well-suited to be filled by a veteran on the open market. And given their ample cap space, money won't be a major obstacle. NEED: 3.5
Cornerback - Aqib Talib is still one of the league's most promising young corners, but he has a trial date impending from his off-field issues, and will be entering the final year of his contract. So the new coaches probably won't hitch their wagons to him quite yet. Barber could retire, but he's not expected back in Tampa, leaving them devoid at this position. Myron Lewis has done little in two years, so it's likely the new staff will approach this position as if they is little to nothing at the position. It's likely this is an area that could be addressed with a high-priced free agent as well as a higher draft pick given the question marks surrounding it. NEED: 4.0
Safety - Tanard Jackson got a one-year extension this past October, but he'll have to earn his spot with the new coaches. Sean Jones is an impending free agent, and while adequate he's only a stopgap if brought back as a free agent. Cody Grimm, Larry Asante, and Ahmad Black are three young mid-round picks that will be given an opportunity to impress, meaning they could find in-house options. But it's likely that they won't go into the 2012 season without making another addition to try and bolster competition at the least. NEED: 3.0
Kicker - Connor Barth is a free agent, but given his accuracy and youth (he'll be 26 in April), he's probably a safe bet to return. NEED: 1.0
Punter - Michael Koenen showed that moving him out of the dome would have minimal effect on his production, as he had a career year across the board. NEED: 0.0
Return Specialist - Between Sammie Stroughter, Preston Parker, and Michael Spurlock they are probably solid at this position. NEED: 1.0<< Previous Team
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