Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
RE: Jason Pierre-Paul
LE: Carl Nassib
NT: Vita Vea
3T: Gerald McCoy
MLB: Deone Bucannon
WLB: Lavonte David
SLB: Devante Bond
LCB: Vernon Hargreaves
RCB: Carlton Davis
SCB: M.J. Stewart
FS: Justin Evans
SS: Jordan Whitehead
Defensive Line: Last year’s D-Line rebuild didn’t go as planned; despite Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, Vea and Beau Allen’s high-profile additions, the Bucs finished 21st in sacks (38) and allowed the NFL’s eighth-most yards per rushing attempt (4.7). Tampa Bay will transition to more 3-4 looks under new DC Todd Bowles, calling Pierre-Paul and McCoy’s scheme fits into question.
Secondary: The Bucs are long on youth but short on production in the defensive backfield, which is Bowles’ area of specialty. The 2018 Bucs permitted an NFC-high 8.2 yards per pass attempt and the third-most touchdown passes in the league (34). No member of Tampa Bay’s projected first-team secondary should be locked into a starting job entering Week 1.
Running Back: Other arguable needs include linebacker after Kwon Alexander’s departure, guard where Benenoch incredibly gave up 10 sacks last season, and quarterback with Winston due $20.9 million in his make-or-break contract year. Dynamic running back play would give Arians’ offense a new dimension; Barber is a two-down plodder, and Ronald Jones was a predictable second-round flop.
Bucs 2019 Draft Picks
1 (5). LB Devin White, LSU - I know this wasn’t one of the top needs mentioned by Evan, but it continues to gain steam. If you look at Todd Bowles’ history, he’s valued talent, speed and range among his off-ball linebackers. White and David could form one of the best duos in the NFL. I know Deone Bucannon was added, but he is a liability in some parts of the game and was brought in for a small sum of money. Ed Oliver certainly would also make sense as an upfield interior disruptor.
2 (39). EDGE D’Andre Walker, Georgia - It can be difficult to find edge rushers outside of round one. Walker has plenty of stand-up experience and consistently wins with a jab, dip and bend on the outside to take a direct line to the quarterback. It might seem simple, but edge players with Walker’s get off combined with the tight lines he takes to passers are often productive.
3 (70). WR Emanuel Hall, Missouri - The Bucs traded away one of the better vertical threats in the game in DeSean Jackson. In his previous stops, Bruce Arians has valued downfield playmakers, even in the mid-rounds. John Brown, J.J. Nelson and Chad Williams come to mind. Emanuel Hall is one of the best in this class, acting as a vertical shot safety blanket and averaging over 20 yards per reception for his career.
4 (107). DL Armon Watts, Arkansas - Zach Allen earlier in the draft would be a nice hybrid edge/iDL who could succeed for Todd Bowles. Watts is a player flying a bit under the radar, but the more you watch, the more you like. He has a nice swipe move to release beyond interior blockers and also gets skinny through trash to make plays.
6 (208). OL Oli Udoh, Elon - A massive right tackle in college who might work as depth at that spot or shift inside. Moves very well for his monstrous 6-foot-6, 323-pound frame.
7 (215). RB Darwin Thompson, Utah State - A dynamic big-play threat with contact balance in a smaller frame.