A month away from the 2019 NFL Draft, look for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to focus heavily on defense and positions they should target.
Depth is a serious concern in the 2019 season since the defense will use a heavy blitzing scheme, which will require more rotations than usual. While many may groan at the aspect of drafting one high, keep in mind, we don’t know if defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will see if Gerald McCoy, should he be retained, will be used on the edge when the defense goes to a 3-4. A player like Montez Sweat from Mississippi State can easily flank Jason Pierre-Paul on the other side to give opposing quarterbacks fits. Also, keep in mind that JPP as a solution might only be viable for about another 1-2 years. A series pass rushing threat is almost as good as a first-round shutdown corner.
It’s highly probable that the Bucs will trade down to an upper-mid 1st rounder and take Greedy Williams from LSU. The lack of quality depth in the secondary cost the 2018 Bucs many games, often forcing the offense to play desperate like in previous years. With MJ Stewart possibly converting to safety, that makes the position more invaluable pending free agency.
Delaware’s Nasir Adderly and Washington’s Taylor Rapp look like attractive options to bolster the secondary in the second round. The Bucs need hard-hitting and speed to cover both deep and intermediate routes. The defense was atrocious, stopping teams on third down, and either one of those options can produce the closing speed needed. Also, assuming they don’t have issues with gap assignments, they should get into the backfield with ease on blitzing or running situations.
If there was a position on defense the Bucs could produce value on late, it’s the linebacker position. Clemson’s Tre Lamar has a nose for the ball and makes efficient tackles. While he’s not a ball hawk, he’s found much success getting to the backfield for critical stops. Another possible selection who should be ready in the upper mid-first round is the versatile Devin White from LSU, should the team pass on Williams. Not only does he have closing speed, but he is also better in pass coverage. Having him, Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David to start would be a linebacker force not seen since possibly the 1990 New York Giants.