So far, Tampa Bay’s draft has worked out the way a lot of people thought it would. So, there should be some pretty transparent options on the positions the Bucs target on Day 3, right?
That’s what we think. But as we all know, we really have no clue until the pick is announced.
This is probably the weakest position on the depth chart when it comes to depth. Sure, Kevin Minter is a solid, veteran backup. However, there are basically no options behind him.
Jack Cichy is intriguing and is a great dude, but he can’t stay healthy. You can’t rely on him for a full season.
And that’s it. That’s all the Bucs currently have on their depth chart at inside linebacker.
It’s clear they have to find someone who can come in and provide depth. Look for the Bucs to target a rangy, sideline-to-sideline type linebacker who also has good athleticism. Those traits are key for what Todd Bowles likes to do on defense. He wants his defensive line to eat up blocks so his linebackers can fly around and make plays.
There’s also the fact that Lavonte David is likely around for just two more years and Devin White is on track for a big payday in a couple years, himself. There has to be a plan for the future.
Whether it’s corner or safety, it would be a good idea for the Bucs to target the defensive backfield on Day 3. Sure, they re-signed Ross Cockrell and Javon Hagan is promising, but the cornerback/safety position is like edge rusher: You can’t have too many.
Plus, Carlton Davis III and Jordan Whitehead are in the final year of their rookie deals. Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean are in the penultimate years of their deals and Cockrell is the same. Tampa Bay’s use of voidable years when signing their free agents has pushed a lot of money back, so it could catch up with the team when the time comes to re-sign these guys.
It would be a smart idea to have a quality pick come in and learn behind these guys. That way, the Bucs have a backup plan if they can’t keep everyone -or the majority, even- around.
I realize Jason Licht isn’t crazy about the defensive line class this year, but look at who’s still on the board. There are plenty of quality players, especially for Rounds 4-7: Jay Tufele, Dayvion Nixon, Bobby Brown III, Marlon Tuipulotu, Cameron Sample, and more.
Tampa Bay’s defensive line is good shape for 2021, but there are a ton of questions for 2022 and beyond. Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston -both starters- are in contract years. Steve McClendon is on a one-year deal. Vita Vea is about to get a new deal.
There’s always next year, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Bucs to go ahead and start planning for the future at this position.
Tight End/Running Back/Wide Receiver
These last positions all go in order. I grouped them together because they are essentially the same context: All have extraordinary starters and depth, however, just about all of them have limited time left with the Bucs.
O.J. Howard, Rob Gronkowski, Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette, Giovani Bernard, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown all have one year left on their contracts. Cameron Brate is getting older and more expensive each year. Mike Evans’ salary cap hit is north of $18 million each year after 2021.
As you can see, there’s a lot of fluidity when it comes to these positions. While a 2021 draft pick at one of these positions isn’t likely to see the field in 2021 unless something drastic happens, it’s not a bad idea to stock up.
Which remaining positions do you think the Bucs should target on Day 3? Let us know in the comment section below!