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Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to address defense on Day 2 of NFL draft

Bucs coach Raheem Morris, left, and general manager Mark Dominik discuss their options during 
the first round. Today, they plan to rebuild a defense that struggled down the stretch last season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Raheem Morris, left, and general manager Mark Dominik discuss their options during the first round. Today, they plan to rebuild a defense that struggled down the stretch last season.

TAMPA — With their future quarterback now in hand, selecting Kansas State's Josh Freeman with their first-round pick Saturday, the Bucs say they intend to address their defensive needs in today's rounds.

The Bucs have six picks starting with the third round (81st overall) and likely will start filling holes and adding depth to a defensive unit that allowed 123 points and 1,544 yards during the season-ending four-game losing streak.

"We've got needs all over the place," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said.

"We're trying to develop competition."

The Bucs will have some choices in addressing the defensive line, secondary and linebacker spots. Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson is available as are DTs Roy Miller (Texas) and Jarron Gilbert (San Jose State) and Vanderbilt CB D.J. Moore.

QB carousel: By drafting Freeman, the Bucs now have a logjam at quarterback with Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich, Brian Griese and Josh Johnson, whom the Bucs drafted in the fifth round last year.

Morris said they will take only four to training camp, so one will be the odd man out.

He said he did address the possibility of drafting a quarterback with McCown, who signed a two-year extension this offseason, and said both McCown and the recently signed Leftwich are "jacked up" about the opportunity.

Morris said he told McCown, "I'm going to create a competitive environment. I'm not handing you anything. Worse-case scenario, at the 19th pick I take a quarterback. I said worse-case scenario for you, you're Drew Brees and you become our starter and in a couple years I got to trade you, and I get value for you and you get value for yourself."

Quotable: Former coach Jon Gruden was a fan of the Bucs picking Freeman and made light of his reputation of seemingly never having enough quarterbacks.

"People make fun of me for collecting quarterbacks," Gruden, an NFL Network analyst, said during the broadcast. "But that's the hardest position to find. You got to admit, he is one big, good-looking athlete. I wish I was in that war room to congratulate all of them."

Meanwhile, in Cleveland: With the second-round pick the Browns acquired from the Bucs for TE Kellen Winslow, they selected Georgia WR Mohamed Massaquoi (50th overall).

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to address defense on Day 2 of NFL draft 04/25/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 26, 2009 7:52am]
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