Given that the Bucs season is officially over, it’s only natural that draft talk resurfaces. I wish we had a few more weeks to divulge on this topic while focusing on the post-season. Oh well. Maybe this is the one that gets them over the hump.
Buc Nation seems to have concluded our two biggest needs are Offensive Line and Wide Receivers. An overwhelming majority tend to lean toward the Offensive Line. Although I think that it is definitely a need, I don’t think it trumps Wide Receivers at this point.
My biggest reason, J.R. Sweezy.
We picked him up last off-season in an effort to replace Logan Mankins and to bolster this unit, specifically for the running game. Unfortunately, he never played or even practiced due to a back injury. Now I am not as pessimistic as most are in relation to this event. I am also more confident in his skills than a lot are led to believe. There is a reason eight other teams reached out to him for his services.
Whether you believe it or not, Sweezy is a mauler in the run game. He was an integral part of the success in Seattle when they won the Super Bowl in 2014. I’m sure you are all familiar with Marshawn Lynch, yes J.R. was a big reason for his success that year.
Now let’s assume he does return to form. Our Offensive Line is now looking like this: Donavan Smith at Left Tackle, J.R. Sweezy at Left Guard, Joe Hawley or Ali Marpet at Center, Ali Marpet or Kevin Pamphile at Right Guard, and Demar Dotson at Right Tackle. Although that is only one change from last year, we all saw the difference when Logan Mankins left.
On the other hand, our Wide Receivers would include Mike Evans, Adam Humphries, Russel Shepard, Freddie Martino, and Josh Huff. Now which unit do you think needs the upgrade?
It’s essential for the team to target Offensive Linemen this offseason. I’m just saying they are not as big of a need at this point as weapons for Jameis are. Yes he spent all season running for his life and I’m sure management intends on addressing that, but I’m confident we wouldn’t be discussing the draft today if our receivers were more experienced/skilled to get separation to make plays and instead we would be contending in the playoffs.
The Bucs have roughly $70 million to work with this offseason and currently lead the league in cap space. There may be even more once we cut some overpaid players. All of their needs can be addressed and then some.
It’s going to be an extremely exciting off-season in Tampa.