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Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL draft: Strengthening defense starts at tackle

TAMPA — The dismantling of the 2008 defense began where breakdowns of any sort are most damaging: at the core. The Bucs were beaten at the point of attack, which in the NFL is the trenches.

The injury-riddled, outmanned line was exposed as the Bucs' final four opponents — Panthers, Falcons, Chargers and Raiders — amassed eye-popping offensive totals during a stretch of losses that cost them a playoff berth. Watching opponents average nearly 400 yards of offense in a monthlong span was something rarely seen in these parts.

With the draft nearly upon us, it's time to look at several positions that will command much of the Bucs' attention.

Defensive tackle is as good a place to start as any.

Breaking down the Bucs' needs

First in a five-part series analyzing the positions commanding the Bucs' attention during the draft:

. Today: Defensive tackle — Boston College's B.J. Raji, left, heads the class.

Tuesday: Cornerback

Wednesday: Linebacker

Thursday: Receiver

Friday: Quarterback

NFL draft

When: 4 p.m. Saturday (rounds 1-2); 10 a.m. Sunday (rounds 3-7)

TV: Saturday — ESPN (4 p.m.), ESPN2 (9 p.m. to conclusion); Sunday — ESPN (10 a.m. to conclusion)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL draft: Strengthening defense starts at tackle 04/19/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:05pm]
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