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NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2014 NFL Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 5 Dark Horse First-Round Targets

2014 NFL Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 5 Dark Horse First-Round Targets

Buccaneer Fans
Rob Foldy - USA Today Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have many holes to fill on their roster. While players like WR Mike Evans and OLB Khalil Mack have been the dominant names rumored to called when their selection is made in three weeks, the following five players could also be under consideration if you really pay attention to how Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht are structuring the team.

5. Eric Ebron, TE, UNC

Eric Ebron
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

5. Eric Ebron, TE, UNC

Eric Ebron
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

The Bucs' offense struggled last season due to a lack of pass catching options outside of Vincent Jackson. And with the trade of Mike Williams, many expect the selection of a receiver at No. 7 to be a forgone conclusion, but don’t be surprised if Ebron is taken here. The most athletic TE in the draft, Ebron will give whoever is the Bucs QB an instant security blanket in the middle of the field.

4. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
Gary A. Vasquez - USA Today Sports

4. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
Gary A. Vasquez - USA Today Sports

Barr is still raw as a defender after only having played on that side of the ball for two seasons, but the athleticism he possesses is something you cannot deny. Pairing him with Lavonte David would give the Bucs a pair of athletic linebackers which is needed to make the Tampa 2 successful. He is also big enough at 6-foot-5, 255-pounds to play rush end on third down situations, so the Bucs have to be intrigued by his versatility.

3. Jake Matthews OT, Texas A&M

Copy of jake matthews
Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports

3. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews
Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports

They signed Anthony Collins in free agency to play one tackle position but who do they have anchoring the other side? Jamon Meredith and Demar Dotson are serviceable, but Matthews would be a definite upgrade to the position that would solidify the offensive line for years to come. The Matthews' name carries a pedigree within the NFL that few other football families have been able to match, and this would be a good, safe pick for the Bucs.

2. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron donald
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

2. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

Depth is always a good thing, and even after drafting Akeem Spence last year in the 4th round, the Bucs could look to add at the position. The three-man rotation would be the foundation piece to re-establishing the dominating defensive line that hasn't been seen in Tampa since the 2002 Super Bowl season.

1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha'Sean Clinton Dix
Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports

1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports

Dashon Goldson, who was brought in under Mark Dominik's management, has had issues with personal foul penalties and adjusting to the new targeting rules of the NFL. That could be reason enough to cut bait with the troubled-but-talented safety that may not even fit Lovie Smith's defensive scheme. Clinton-Dix has better range in space and will allow former Crimson Tide teammate Mark Barron to play more in the box where he is comfortable.