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Despite the presence of superstars like Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy, and Darrelle Revis, the Buccaneers’ new management still has plenty of work to do. Mike Glennon showed enough to warrant a further look, but he wasn’t good enough to convince anyone that he’s definitely worth building around. The Bucs also lack depth, and the front seven is far too reliant on McCoy and David.
1. Defensive end
Tampa Bay struggled to generate pressure on the quarterback in 2013, tying for 23rd in the NFL with 35 sacks. Their top two sack artists were not even defensive ends, but linebacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. With a defensive-minded coach in Lovie Smith taking over the reins, upgrades on the defensive side of the ball will be paramount. The hallmark of Lovie Smith’s defenses with the Bears was the ability to create turnovers, which starts with pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line. A pass rusher will be high on the wish list for Smith and the Buccaneers.
2. Wide receiver
The Bucs have studly Vincent Jackson, but lack depth after him. Mike Williams played in just six games in 2013, before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury. His contract structure won’t make the Bucs feel committed beyond 2014, and Williams hasn’t proved that he’s anything more than a decent No. 2 receiver. The team’s second-leading receiver in 2013 was a converted tight end, Tim Wright. Tiquan Underwood flashed some big-play ability, but he remains more of an occasional deep threat rather than a sturdy, reliable pass-catcher. A steady presence opposite Jackson will make the Tampa Bay offense much more dangerous.
Make no mistake about it; the Bucs will pick a quarterback at some point in the 2014 draft. The question is where that selection will come. Mike Glennon may have done just enough to retain the starting job, but a new coach and new GM may want their own choice to line up under center for Tampa Bay in 2014 and beyond. Do the Bucs trade up and/or use their top pick on a quarterback of the future? Or, do they wait until the later rounds to take more of a developmental prospect? Stay tuned to find out.