Feeling Drafty #20: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

April 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , )

Josh Freeman has become one of the most exciting QBs in the NFL, earning Tampa Bay Team MVP

It’s kind of shocking if you think… wait a second, I already did that one.

But still, it fits.  Last season, the Buccaneers had the #3 overall pick.  At the start of last season, according to espn.com, the Bucs didn’t have a top 25 quarterback, a top 40 running back, or a top 55 wide receiver.  This season, they were one win away from making the playoffs, and had the last pick of any non-playoff team.  Over the course of this season, as if out of thin air, the Bucs’ offense developed into an exciting, high-octane offense.

Josh Freeman is my new favorite quarterback in the NFL.  He can rally his team, and lead them to a come-from-behind victory more times than not.  He also found a new favorite target, Mike Williams (although with the comeback of Seattle’s Mike Williams, it has gotten a bit confusing).  Even though he wasn’t even the first receiver taken by Tampa this season (that honor goes to Arrelious Benn), he made the biggest impact on the team, going for nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.  And don’t forget about LeGarrette Blount, he kind of came out of nowhere, too (aka the Titans practice squad).  But, he ended the season with 1,007 yards and six touchdowns.  If these three players can improve their game just a little bit, this offense will be incredibly hard to stop, along with TE Kellen Winslow Jr.

So, obviously the needs are on defense, right?  Maybe.  But, the depth at running back and wide receiver isn’t good.  But, I have learned that if you still have needs, depth can wait until later rounds.  They can probably find talent in the third round or so.  But, they have needs at defensive end, linebacker, and safety, so that will be focused on in the first few rounds.

Adrian Clayborn overcame Erb's Palsy, and is primed to be a solid mid-to-late first round pick. Right where Tampa Bay sits.

Since they lack a good pass rusher, they might as well go defensive line, and since the picked up two DTs with their first two draft picks last season, they should probably work on the ends.  I think that the best fit for them is Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn.  Clayborn is an unusual prospect.  He had a bit of a lackluster season, but that’s only when you compare it to his awesome ’09 season.  He’s one of those players who’s good at everything but not great at anything.  However, he did run a good 40 yard time at the combine, and was a 2010 consensus All-American.

Well, that does it for the teams that missed the playoffs.  Tomorrow, we’ll cover the Kansas City Chiefs, the first playoff team (besides New England’s first pick).  We’re on the home stretch of the Feeling Drafty series, and it’s been fun.  See you in KC.

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