The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been an absolute train wreck this season. Everyone knows this, and it’s painfully evident when you look at their record (0-5). Unless they dramatically turn things around, major, major changes will be coming to the franchise, starting out with finding a new head coach (sayonara Greg Schiano). After that, their focus will be on the 2014 NFL Draft, where they’ll likely have high picks in every round. What are their most pressing needs in the draft?
It all starts out with the quarterback, and this is a good year to fill that need considering this is one of the deepest QB classes we’ve seen in years. Two weeks after the Bucs cut one-time franchise QB Josh Freeman, we still don’t know what to make of rookie third rounder Mike Glennon. The Bucs, last in the league in passing, have seen a slight increase in productivity with the switch to Glennon but nothing to convince you he’s the guy to lead the franchise for the next decade.
Do they keep Glennon as the starter and pass on an elite signal caller at the top of the draft? That’s a question they’re going to have to answer by season’s end. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them target a QB in round two, with guys like Zach Mettenberger (LSU), Derek Carr (Fresno St.) and A.J. McCarron (Alabama) more than likely still on the board.
Offensive tackle is their biggest need (aside from a franchise QB), in my opinion. Sorry, but Donald Penn and Demar Dotson just don’t get me excited. This OT class, similarly to the QB class, is one of the best we’ve seen in a long time, and the Bucs will have their pick of the litter in the first round. Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), Taylor Lewan (Michigan) and Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama) all have the looks of elite blindside protectors and all will more than likely be selected in the top-10. Any one of them would instantly improve edge protection and aide a floundering ground game.
Tight end will also be a position of need, though it won’t likely be addressed in the first two rounds. Luke Stocker is out for the season with a hip injury, and even still, he’s more of a solid No. 2. Some good options that will likely be available after round two are C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa), Xavier Grimble (USC) and Ted Bolser (Indiana). All of those guys fit the trend of big, athletic playmakers who offer threats both down the seam and in the red zone.
Also keep an eye on the Bucs looking to add a pass rusher on their defensive line. Adrian Clayborn is solid, but Da’Quan Bowers has been a colossal bust and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim offers little in terms of a pass rush.
It’s still early, and there’s a lot of time left for the Bucs to try and figure things out, namely, if Glennon is their franchise QB or not. Regardless, the Bucs have some major needs throughout the team, and the 2014 NFL Draft will be a good place to solve those questions.