Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NFL draft: defensive linemen

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Defensive line

As the Bucs seek a return to their dominating defenses of the late 1990s and early 2000s (including their Super Bowl season of 2002), the line is the place to start. Tackle Gerald McCoy and newly signed end Michael Johnson spent the first week of team meetings watching footage of Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice, hoping to create the same pressure and dominating reputation.

Draft facts

When: Thursday (Round 1), 8 p.m., ESPN, NFL Network; Friday (Rounds 2-3), 6:30 p.m., ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network; Saturday (Rounds 4-7), noon, ESPN, NFL Network

Where: Radio City Music Hall, New York

Bucs picks (round/overall): 1/7, 2/38, 3/69, 5/143, 6/185, 7/221

Bucs watch party: Thursday, Raymond James Stadium. Gates C & D open 6 p.m.

First-round order: 1. Texans, 2. Rams (from Redskins), 3. Jaguars, 4. Browns, 5. Raiders, 6. Falcons, 7. Bucs, 8. Vikings, 9. Bills, 10. Lions, 11. Titans, 12. Giants, 13. Rams, 14. Bears, 15. Steelers, 16. Cowboys, 17. Ravens, 18. Jets, 19. Dolphins, 20. Cardinals, 21. Packers, 22. Eagles, 23. Chiefs, 24. Bengals, 25. Chargers, 26. Browns (from Colts), 27. Saints, 28. Panthers, 29. Patriots, 30. 49ers, 31. Broncos, 32. Seahawks

Who the Bucs have

Gerald McCoy, DT (6-4, 300): Defensive leader is in line for an extension with his contract up after the upcoming season. Steps into the Warren Sapp role as "undertackle," the catalyst for defensive pressure.

Michael Johnson, DE (6-7, 270): Major free agent signee had 11½ sacks in 2012 but only 3½ in 2013. In line to be the team's best pass-rusher since Simeon Rice.

Clinton McDonald, DT (6-2, 297): Started the Super Bowl for the Seahawks and should step in next to McCoy as the starting nose tackle. Had 5½ sacks in 2013 after none over his first three seasons.

Adrian Clayborn, DE (6-3, 280): Moves to left end with Johnson's arrival, but the team didn't pick up his option for 2015.

William Gholston, DE (6-6, 281): Broke out with 22 tackles over the last five games of 2013 (his rookie season). Can help inside at tackle as well as be the top backup at end.

Akeem Spence, DT (6-1, 307): Likely pushed out of the starting lineup by McDonald after 14 starts as a rookie in 2013. Solid third tackle had 29 tackles last season.

Da'Quan Bowers, DE (6-4, 288): Just seven tackles and one sack last season. If the team drafts an end, he could be battling for a roster spot.

Top five draft prospects

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (6-6, 266): The likely top overall pick (right) has been much anticipated since his helmet-popping hit during the January 2013 Outback Bowl.

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (6-1, 285): Stock has risen steadily into the middle of the first round and, perhaps, top 10. Led Division I-A with 28½ tackles for loss in 2013.

Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame (6-5, 304): Big, versatile end who had 20½ sacks in 28 career starts. Could play inside but likely a powerful end in the NFL.

Tim Jernigan, DT, Florida State (6-2, 299): Strong and tough against the run. Emerged as a starter in 2013 (junior season) while recording a team-high 11 tackles for loss.

Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame (6-2, 331): Huge run-stuffer had surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee in November but is another dominant interior lineman expected to go in the first round.

Under the radar

Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg (6-6, 252): A basketball star who played one season of Division II football, he's a midround prospect who could get a look at tight end as well. Impressed scouts at the East-West Shrine Game.

Free agency

The Bucs made a splash, signing Michael Johnson (five years, $43.75 million, $24 million guaranteed) and Clinton McDonald (four years, $12 million, $4.75 million guaranteed) to start around Gerald McCoy.

Best guess

The Bucs have been linked to a few 3-4 outside linebackers who could transition to 4-3 ends such as UCLA's Anthony Barr. But that seems unlikely at No. 7. It wouldn't be surprising if they used their second-round pick (No. 38) on a pass-rusher such as Stanford's Trent Murphy.

NFL draft: defensive linemen 05/04/14 [Last modified: Sunday, May 4, 2014 9:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …