Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Top 5 Needs in 2013 NFL Draft

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Top 5 Draft Needs for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the league's most puzzling teams. They started the 2011 season 4-2, then lost 10 straight games to finish 4-12.

The 2012 season saw the Josh Freeman-led team improve and after a 1-3 start, they won five of the next six games before losing five straight and finishing the season with a 7-9 record. The Bucs finished the season in a three-way tie for second place in the NFC South.

They had one of the better offenses in the NFC led by Freeman and rookie running back sensation Doug Martin. Martin led the Bucs rushing attack and ran the ball for over 1,400 yards.

Freeman had an up-and-down season, but finished on top with over 4,000 passing yards and 27 touchdowns while engineering the NFL's 10th best passing offense.

However, the offense wasn't the problem in 2012 and it won't be once again in 2013. It's the defense that seems to be a bit spotty. The Buccaneers had the best run defense in the league last season, allowing just 82.5 yards per game on the ground. This is an impressive statistic, but the Tampa Bay secondary wasn't so impressive.

The Bucs had the league's worst pass defense and by losing some depth in the secondary to free agency, they won't be much better without a solid draft.

If the Bucs have a successful 2013 NFL Draft, they could be even more improved next season.

Connor Muldowney is a College Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Cornerback

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the worst pass defense in the NFL last season. Need I say more? I think it's pretty obvious they need some help in the secondary.

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Defensive End

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs lost a valuable asset to their defensive line to free agency this offseason and defensive end Michael Bennett. He was good for 41 tackles and nine sacks last season and will be a huge blow to the line. While they have other guys that can fill that void, a late-round choice wouldn't be a loss.

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Defensive Tackle

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Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive tackle from Utah, Star Lotulelei, could be the first round choice of the Bucs if they want to adequately fill the need of a defensive lineman. He is arguable the top defensive tackle in the 2013 draft class and could end up being just what his name implies — a star.

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Safety

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs are losing veteran safety Ronde Barber and are going to be looking at the draft or free agency to grab some help at safety. They have seven picks and it wouldn't hurt to spend one of them on a guy who can patrol the deep third for years to come.

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Tight End

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs are returning just 16 catches and 165 yards from the tight end position from last season. Luke Stocker is the only returning tight end with any production from 2012 and he may not be the guy they are looking to be their starting tight end in 2013. They may look to take Zach Ertz from Stanford with their second round pick.


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