One of the biggest question marks going into this offseason was what the team would do about their poor performance on defense. The team needed more energy and realized that early on signing some new playmakers to push this defense to the next level, both on the defensive line and in the secondary.
With an improved pass rush, your team should see an improved defensive backfield and that seems to be the strategy used by the Buccaneer front office. By drafting M.J. Stewart out of the University of North Carolina at 53 and then Carlton Davis from Auburn and the SEC, ten picks later, you could tell the team has high hopes for both of these young men.
Carlton Davis has had a terrific offseason so far showing great tools and technique to work with and improve on, as well as making the jump to the professional level. While the talent he faced during his time at Auburn was very good at the college level, the jump to the professional level can be a tough task as it is on a whole other level. At 6’1, Carlton may be asked to take on the bigger receivers from divisional rivals such as Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Carolinas’ Devin Funchess who measures in at 6’5. That is a ridiculously tough task, but utilize your teammate Mike Evans, the best receiver this team has seen, and go to work, pick his brain, enjoy the competition and show why you are a professional.
M.J. Stewart, the actual second pick from the Buccaneers at 53, was praised for his versatility during his time at UNC. With Vernon possibly playing a lot more in the slot, and Carlton opposite Grimes on the outside, Stewart’s versatility made him a perfect selection for the Bucs. Besides being able to matchup on the outside with his outstanding pre-snap awareness, his footwork is going to a building block for him moving forward as he can play on the inside just as well. He will make a perfect compliment to this team and the secondary for years to come as he has great defensive awareness.
With that being said, and the popularity of throwing the football, you can expect to see these young rookie’s to get their feet wet pretty early. It’s a tough division in a tough sport, but walk away every day knowing you gave it your all, mentally and physically, and this team’s defense could make a dramatic turnaround. Stay tuned!