2013 NFL Mock Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need to Upgrade Secondary
The Buccaneers enter the draft after a 7-9 campaign that included five losses over the final six weeks. Tampa Bay watched rookie running back Doug Martin emerge as a franchise back in his first season. Vincent Jackson lived up to his big contract grabbing 72 balls for 1,384 yards and eight scores. Mike Williams proved to be a reliable second option in the receiving game. That being said, there are certainly areas of major need for general manager Mark Dominik.
Despite inconsistent play at quarterback from Josh Freeman, the Bucs offense was above average. The other side of the ball, not so much. Tampa Bay's defense ranked 29th in the NFL. Their pass defense was dead last. The Buccaneer passing defense allowed just shy of 300 yards a game. By contrast, Miami, who ranked 27th in the league in pass defense, gave up fewer than 250 yards a game.
Addressing the secondary is concern A, B, and C for Tampa Bay. Acquiring Darrelle Revis is a start, but not the entire answer. Tampa's secondary is more than one player away, in fact, based on last year's numbers they are three or four players away. At least one pick needs to be used on a player who can make an impact on the last line of defense immediately.
Quarterback is not a pressing concern now, but will become one at this time next year if it hasn't been addressed. Freeman has been very inconsistent throughout his career and unless he is good for the vast majority of 2013, paying him big money once his rookie contract expires would be a leap of faith. Drafting a second or third or late round project as a backup could work both as a possible player to use in the future, or late in the year if Freeman struggles.
One other area Tampa Bay must keep in mind is along the defensive front. Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers have shown flashes of brilliance. However, with the loss of Michael Bennett, if either of the injury prone youngsters doesn't hold up Tampa Bay will struggle to rush the passer from the outside.
Greg Schiano took over a sinking ship and produced particularly during the middle of his first year as Bucs coach. His defense needs help, and the long-term quarterback situation must be worked out before Tampa Bay can consider being a title contender. Revis starts what needs to be an overhaul of the defensive backfield, but adding more playmakers that help stop opponents passing game is a must for the team to improve significantly.