Buccaneers have draft needs beyond the obvious


TAMPA, Fla. – Just about every Tampa Bay fan I hear from has the first three rounds of the draft figured out for the Bucs.

They’ll take a quarterback (likely Jameis Winston) with the first overall pick. They’ll follow that up with either an offensive lineman or a defensive end in the second round. Whichever one of those positions isn’t addressed in the second round will come in the third round.

That’s totally logical because the Bucs want a franchise quarterback and they have big needs on the offensive line and at defensive end. There is a very good chance the Bucs address those three positions with their first three picks.

The Bucs will use the first pick on a quarterback. But it isn’t certain that they’ll follow by addressing offensive line and defensive end. There are a few other positions that could come into play if the value is right. Let’s take a look.

Safety. The Bucs unloaded Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson because they didn’t fit the Tampa 2 system. They have Bradley McDougald set as one starter. But as it stands right now, Chris Conte and Major Wright will compete for the other job. Conte and Wright have experience in the Tampa 2. But they are far from elite talents and could be better suited to backup roles. Don’t rule out the Bucs drafting a safety in the second or third round.

Linebacker. The Bucs are in great shape with Lavonte David on the weak side and Bruce Carter in the middle. Danny Lansanah is adequate on the strong side. But the Bucs could seek an upgrade if they see someone they like early in the draft. Remember, coach Lovie Smith got his start as a linebackers coach.

Slot receiver. The Bucs want to give Winston every possible chance at success. They’re in good shape at most of the offensive skill positions. But they could use a slot receiver who can stretch the field and take some defensive attention away from Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. It also wouldn’t hurt if that slot receiver is also a return man.