Looking up and down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster it’s hard to imagine a team with this much talent would be winless at this point in the season. The Buccaneers problems have been more about a toxic locker room and poor coaching than talent on the field.
However, there are several glaring needs that management must address in the offseason. The first is to figure out if Mike Glennon is the long-term answer at the quarterback position. Glennon has nine more games to build off his solid start.
The biggest surprise so far is how well Glennon is taking care of the football. He is averaging over 45 passing attempts per game but has only thrown three interceptions. Throughout his college career, Glennon struggled with turnovers and had a tendency to force the ball into coverage.
So far, he hasn’t done enough to guarantee himself the starting job next season but he’s on the right track. This is why the Buccaneers might pass on taking a quarterback early in the 2014 draft. Instead they can focus on other positions like defensive end and offensive tackle.
Tampa Bay is in the mix to land a top 3 pick in the 2014 draft where they could target South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney. The Buccaneers’ defensive line has only managed to record a total of seven sacks this season– with Adrian Clayborn leading the way with three.
Clowney would give the Buccaneers a consistent pass-rush threat off the edge. An improved pass rush combined with Tampa Bay’s talented secondary would make this defense one of the best in the league.
If they miss out on Clowney, the Buccaneers could look to upgrade at the left tackle position with someone like Michigan’s Taylor Lewan or Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews. Both would represent an upgrade over Donald Penn.
Meanwhile, Penn could then shift over to the right side effectively improving two spots along the line. The Buccaneers have talent in place at the wide receiver and running back spots so ensuring the offensive line is in order would be the next best option.
Of course the Buccaneers can address these and other issues in later rounds. There really isn’t many mid-round options at the left tackle position but someone like Syracuse’s Sean Hickey would be someone to keep an eye on. Virginia Tech’s James Gayle, Missouri’s Michael Sam and Kony Ealy are pass-rushers who the Buccaneers could consider in the second-round range.
Even if the Buccaneers feel Glennon is the long-term answer at the quarterback spot they need to bring in a capable backup. The Josh Freeman situation should also have taught them that signs of promise don’t always lead to long-term success.
LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Miami’s Stephen Morris are two quarterback prospects that would make sense for Tampa Bay. Both have upside and could be a legitimate option should Glennon fail to succeed.
FYI—The Buccaneers will be surrendering their third-round pick to the New York Jets for the Darrelle Revis trade.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mock:
1st Round- Jadeveon Clowney
2nd Round- Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami
4th Round- Zach Mettenberger
1st Round- Taylor Lewan
2nd Round- James Gayle
4th Round- Zach Mettenberger