Admittedly, I don’t do much with the NFL Draft when it happens, mostly because I don’t follow much college football on the national level. So, when the Buccaneers draft someone, more often than not I say, “who?”
That said, as I look over who Tampa Bay picked over the last few days, it looks like they’ve done a decent job addressing their most pressing needs. First-round pick Vita Vea provides much-needed help up front. When I wrote about his selection the other night, I said I hoped the Bucs would address their awful secondary with the remaining picks. Well, three of their next four picks are either cornerbacks or safeties. And RB Ronald Jones could…. could be the heir apparent to Doug Martin.
We’ll see how it all plays out. But it looks like Jason Licht did pretty well, at least on paper.
After a disappointing 5-11 season, the Buccaneers need help in a lot of areas. Among the biggest needs – the defensive line and the secondary. With their first pick in this year’s draft, they addressed the former in a big way.
The key word here is…. big.
Vita Vea is a 347-pound defensive lineman from Washington. 347 pounds! The Bucs traded down from #7 to #12 (via Buffalo) to get him. Put him in the mix with Gerald McCoy and free agent pickup Beau Allen, and the recipe is there for a unit that may actually lay a finger on the quarterback. Tampa Bay was dead last in sacks last year.
So, what about the early reaction on social media? Well, it’s mixed. It seems a lot of fans were hoping the Bucs would get a stud to help in the secondary. Me? I’m okay with the pick, as long as the use their three picks in the second round to do something about the worst pass defense in the NFL. If they don’t…. well, you don’t want to know how I’ll feel.
Lovie Smith denied it. So did the players. But it’s hard to look at what happened and say the Bucs didn’t “tank” in the fourth quarter of that game against the Saints.
The way this team has played all season, they could’ve easily blown a 13-point lead under normal circumstances. But when you throw in all those backups, and call all those running plays, well, you tell me. How many passed did Josh McCown throw in the final 15 minutes? Oh, by the way, he threw a pick. And he got sacked in the end zone for a safety, which I hope is a fitting ending to his brief career in Tampa.
Anyway, it was just another creative way for the Bucs to lose their 14th game of the season. The bottom line: the Buccaneers have the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft.
If they don’t take a quarterback, then the front office needs to have its collective head examined. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: a new quarterback alone will not fix all of the problems. The offensive line is dreadful. A full-time offensive coordinator would help, too (what a concept.) Still, with a player like Marcus Mariota available, you need to grab him.
The last time the Bucs had the top overall pick, Tampa Bay drafted some quarterback named Vinny Testaverde. Vinny’s time in Tampa didn’t turn out well. We can only hope for better things when the draft rolls around.
Here’s one thing about this painful-to-watch season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are in the running for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft.
The Bucs are 2-11 right now, and are tied with the Jets, Titans, Jaguars and Raiders for the worst record in the NFL. As of this writing, Tampa Bay would own the top pick due to strength of schedule (or lack thereof.) Anyway, it’s some tiebreaker that could change between now and the end of the regular season.
The Buccaneers need a quarterback – badly. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, who was named a finalist for the Heisman trophy on Monday night, is the name that keeps popping up. If he is still available whenever Tampa Bay is on the clock, the Bucs need to grab him. But taking Mariota will not solve the problems for an offense that has been painful that has trouble just scoring 20 points in a game.
Mariota won’t do well in Tampa if nobody can protect for him. The offensive line, which was overhauled before the season, needs to be revamped again. As bad as Josh McCown has been this year, I would argue that the guys in charge of protecting the quarterback have been the biggest disappointment in 2014. Players like Evan Dietrich-Smith, Anthony Collins, Oniel Cousins, Demar Dotson have not produced. And Logan Mankins – who was acquired before the season began – has only made headlines when he gets called for holding. They are also partly responsible for the abysmal running game. Tampa Bay is 31st in rushing yards, averaging only 78 yards per game.
So for all the fans (including me) who would love to see Mariota in a Bucs uniform, I say bring it on. But let’s hope Lovie Smith and Jason Licht also draft some guys who can do damage in the trenches.