Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What the Buccaneers say they need

On reviewing some notes from the middle of last season, I came upon a list of needs from a source close to the team.  A few weeks later, another source within One Buccaneer Place gave me a similar list.  Matching up the lists gives the following list of where the Buccaneers may be watching as the 2012 NFL Combine approaches.

Need #1: Cornerback
Both sources had corner at the top of the list, with the departure of Ronde Barber in the near future (neither said this was the season, but both felt the playing career could stop in the next few years).  Other reasons include the inability of Aqib Talib to have a quiet offseason.  Finally, the team believes there is talent on the roster for this position, but wants more fuel on the fire.

Need #2: Offensive Linemen
The current set of offensive linemen have played mostly intact for the past four years, which is spectacular.  However, C Jeff Faine is entering his tenth offseason and three of the other four starters up front are entering thier seventh offseason (tackles Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood and guard Davin Joseph).  The team needs to continue developing young linemen like G Ted Larson and T Derek Hardman so when these veterans complete their careers there are ready and able replacements available.

Need #3: Quarterback
This one surprised me.  It appears the Buccaneers are of the opinion with the new roster limits that carrying a third quarterback will soon be a thing of the past in the NFL.  In that spirit, a top-flight backup becomes that much more important.  QB Josh Johnson could start for other NFL teams and may get his chance during the free agency period this year.  Tampa Bay may try to grab a rookie signal-caller in the middle rounds to backup Freeman for the next several years, hoping the young player will be able to step in right away if needed.

Need #4: Linebacker
Both Geno Hayes and Quincy Black spent time out of the starting lineup this season because of poor performance on the field.  The team believes Dakota Watson is making strides along with Mason Foster.  Drafting a third young linebacker means there is a talented next wall of players ready to step forward if the group does not perform up to the expectations of the new coaching staff.

These needs may have changed since midseason, but I believe the reasons here still apply.  I would expect the Buccaneers to address these positions in some way during the 2012 offseason.

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