Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers players most affected by draft

You can learn a lot about the Bucs' self-evaluation by examining their draft.

Four of their first five selections were defensive players, no surprise considering Tampa Bay gave up a franchise-worst 494 points, was last in rushing defense and allowed 30 touchdown passes last season.

"We wanted to become a much more physical football team with this draft — that was the main concern, and I think we did that," general manager Mark Dominik said. "We also wanted to become a smarter football team with this draft, and I think we did that. And we wanted to create a lot of competition with this draft, and I think we did that."

Let's focus on the competition that was created by this draft. For each of the seven players selected by the Bucs, there is at least one existing player who potentially will be affected.

Round 1 (seventh pick overall)

Pick: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Buc affected: Ronde Barber .

Adding a player such as Barron further justifies the release of Tanard Jackson. It might also end the experiment of playing Barber, a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback, at safety, allowing him to return to his natural position. Cody Grimm has performed well at free safety, but season-ending injuries in each of his first two years create questions about his durability. He will get a chance to pair with the Bucs' first-round pick. Larry Asante and Ahmad Black have an uphill climb. Competition for strong safety is over, fellas. All hail the Red Barron.

Round 1 (31st Pick overall)

Pick: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

Buc affected: LeGarrette Blount

Martin reminds coach Greg Schiano of Ravens and former Rutgers running back Ray Rice for his ability to play all three downs. He is an effective route runner, has good hands and can pass protect. Unless the Bucs missed on Martin, he will be the starting tailback. But he had at least 20 rushing attempts only 13 times in 38 career games at Boise State. It takes two running backs to be effective running the football in the NFL, and the powerful inside running of Blount will be used, especially late in games. This should be a nice tandem.

Round 2 (58th overall)

Pick: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

Buc affected: Mason Foster

David is most effective as an outside linebacker, where he can run and hit. That might also be the best spot for Foster, but it's more likely he will either remain at middle linebacker or move to strongside linebacker. Tampa Bay considers David the best linebacker in coverage in the draft, so he'll also remain on the field in nickel passing situations. That means either Foster or Quincy Black will leave the field on third down.

Round 5 (140th overall)

Pick: Najee Goode, LB, West Virginia

Buc affected: Quincy Black

At 6 feet, 244 pounds, Goode is powerful enough to play inside, but coverage is not his strong suit, meaning he's a two-down linebacker. In the Bucs defense, that means he plays either the middle or strong side. Since you would prefer the middle linebacker to remain on the field on passing downs, look for Goode to get a shot to compete with Black, who did not live up to his five-year, $29 million contract last season.

Round 6 (174th overall)

Pick: Keith Tandy, CB West Virginia

E.J. Biggers

Tandy made a big impression on Schiano when his Rutgers team faced West Virginia. Tandy has good skills in zone coverage and could develop into a slot defender. He projects as a possible safety, but the Bucs will give him a shot to compete at cornerback in his first training camp. Biggers has had mixed results as the Bucs' third defensive back and has given up a lot of completions.

Round 7 (212th overall)

Pick: Michael Smith, RB, Utah State

Buc affected: Mossis Madu

Smith is a burner, with legitimate 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash. He's also a productive running back who was stuck behind a better player (Robert Turbin) at Utah State. Smith averaged 7 yards per carry and eclipsed 100 yards rushing his last two games. He's a change-of-pace runner who also could help on special teams and be a No. 3 tailback.

Round 7 (233rd overall)

Pick: Drake Dunsmore, TE, Northwestern

Buc affected: Erik Lorig

Dunsmore is more of a receiving tight end than a blocker, but the Bucs want to work with him as an H-back and in-line blocker. He was the Wildcats' second-leading receiver, so he isn't likely to be used in short-yardage situations as the third tight end initially. But with some work, and the limited snaps the Bucs will be in a two-back, I-formation set, Dunsmore could develop into that fullback role in a pinch.

Comments
O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

Add another to the long list of Bucs players and coaches excited about first-round pick Vita Vea: offensive line coach George Warhop.Warhop said the 347-pound defensive tackle from Washington kept showing up as he looked at tape on Pac-12 offensive l...
Published: 05/19/18
Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

TAMPA — At least he stopped short of calling them soft. That's not a word you ever want to use when describing an NFL player, much less the entire offensive line. That would be a tough pillow to swallow.But it's clear George Warhop didn't like ...
Published: 05/19/18
Pop Warner to honor Bucs’ Gerald McCoy as ‘Inspiration to Youth’

Pop Warner to honor Bucs’ Gerald McCoy as ‘Inspiration to Youth’

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be honored at Pop Warner's annual "All-American Scholars Banquet" in Orlando with the national sports organization's "Inspiration to Youth" award.McCoy, who has been to six straight Pro Bowls, is the first-ever...
Published: 05/18/18
Land O’Lakes grad Shaheed Salmon gets contract with Bucs

Land O’Lakes grad Shaheed Salmon gets contract with Bucs

Most appropriately named player on the Bucs roster? Undrafted rookie Shaheed Salmon, a linebacker from Land O'Lakes who has quickly shown the ability to fight against the current and get to where he wants to go.Salmon, 22, wasn't drafted and didn't h...
Published: 05/18/18
Mike Evans, Jameis Winston among top 25 players under 25, Pro Football Focus says

Mike Evans, Jameis Winston among top 25 players under 25, Pro Football Focus says

Mike Evans and Jameis Winston are two of the 25 best young players in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.In the website's Top 25 Under 25 list, Evans ranks 11th and Winston ranks 20th. Evans is the highest-ranked receiver, and Winston is the hi...
Published: 05/18/18
More praise for Bucs WR Chris Godwin: ‘I see him as a starter’

More praise for Bucs WR Chris Godwin: ‘I see him as a starter’

Perhaps no Bucs player is drawing more consistent praise from coaches than second-year receiver Chris Godwin, who emerged in the second half last year and got his first career touchdown on the Bucs' final pass of the year to beat the Saints in the se...
Published: 05/17/18
George Warhop on Donovan Smith: ‘You have something here that’s special’

George Warhop on Donovan Smith: ‘You have something here that’s special’

A year ago, Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop was unwavering in his support for left tackle Donovan Smith, and on Thursday, he again made it clear he considers the fourth-year player among the best at his position."I don't think I'd take anybod...
Published: 05/17/18
Bucs OC Todd Monken to Jameis Winston: ‘Let’s not try so hard’

Bucs OC Todd Monken to Jameis Winston: ‘Let’s not try so hard’

Jameis Winston doesn't lack for leadership qualities, but sometimes he can go over the top. Whether it's eating Ws before games, picking fights with opposing defensive backs or playing hurt, the Bucs quarterback can put added pressure on himself.Bucs...
Published: 05/17/18
Jameis Winston: Most underrated quarterback of 2017?

Jameis Winston: Most underrated quarterback of 2017?

To the casual observer, Jameis Winston had a disappointing 2017 season. He missed three games because of a shoulder injury, and in the games he did play in, the Buccaneers had a 3-10 record.Did Winston regress? No. In fact, he might have been th...
Published: 05/17/18
Vernon Hargreaves has the starting right cornerback job in the Bucs base defense. For now.

Vernon Hargreaves has the starting right cornerback job in the Bucs base defense. For now.

It's Vernon Hargreaves' job to lose. He will begin the off-season as the Bucs starting right cornerback and move to the slot when the team goes to five defensive backs in their nickel package."We told everybody that we want everybody to come in with ...
Published: 05/17/18