Raheem Morris, staff in full draft mode
With this week's mini-camp in the books, there is but one focus in the front office of the Buccaneers: the draft.
Morris was already thinking about it only moments after the mini-camp ended Thursday, noting some of the positions the team will consider come April 25-26. There's little mystery about what areas the Bucs are focusing on.
"We've got obvious needs," Morris said. "We want some defensive tackles. We addressed a lot of our needs, obviously, in (free agency) on offense. We feel good about some of those positions. But in the draft, you're thinking D-tackles, you want to add corners, you want to add some players at those positions."
With the Bucs' run defense and pass rush lacking in 2008 -- particularly during the defensive collapse in the last quarter of the season -- the emphasis is on upgrading the whole front line. That includes drafting help for the position but also getting more out of players already on the roster.
"I should say defensive line (as a whole)," Morris said. "We want depth at all those positions."
Asked about the pass rush, he added, "Great d-linemen, that's what they do. Warren Sapp, you didn't have to talk to him about pressure. That's what he did. Simeon Rice, you didn't have to talk to him about pressure. That's the kind of character this d-line has had. We have to generate that. The only way you win games is if it starts up front. We all know that."
The Bucs will have some defensive-line options at pick No. 19. They could include Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry, Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson and Tennessee DE Robert Ayers.
Though there's much speculation about Boston College behemoth DT B.J. Raji's stock falling he reportedly failed a drug test at the Scouting Combine, don't get your hopes up. Raji could conceivably experience a slight drop, but a precipitous fall that leaves him on the board when the Bucs pick is very unlikely -- provided he doesn't have any other skeletons we're unaware of.