Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came out of the 2016 NFL Draft as winners, filling several of the team’s needs on the cusp of offseason minicamps.
After adding the likes of OLB Robert Ayers, OG J.R. Sweezy, and CB Brent Grimes over the last several weeks in free agency, the Buccaneers continued their strong offseason by adding several key players in the draft.
The secondary was a concern for Tampa Bay as the draft approached. The Buccaneers alleviated some fears of lack of depth in the defensive backfield when they took Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves with 11th pick. Hargreaves will compete right away for a starting job at the corner position for Tampa Bay. His quickness and overall athleticism makes up for his somewhat lack of size — 5-10, 204 pounds. Hargreaves is known for his impressive footwork in and out of breaks, leading him into a very good position on the ball. He is solid in man or zone coverage, and has very soft hands for a defensive back. In short, he is exactly what you are looking for in a first-round cornerback.
Finding more help to rush the passer was important heading into the offseason, which led to the signing of Ayers. You can never have too many guys who can get to the quarterback, though, which led to Tampa Bay drafting Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence with the 39th pick in the second round.
Spence gives the Buccaneers a player with a good motor who doesn’t tire out easily. His versatility allows Spence to play the conventional defensive end position with his hand in the dirt, or he can play in a two-point stance as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. He has speed off the edge and does a good job shedding blocks, giving him a nose for the football.
Tampa Bay made headlines when they took Florida State kicker Robert Aguayo. Though many poked fun at the pick, the Buccaneers saw Aguayo as a franchise kicker. With the league permanently moving the extra-point attempts back, having an accurate kicker with a strong leg has never been more important. Aguayo is arguably the best kicker in NCAA history, making his selection in the second round not such a bad thing.
Tampa Bay continued to add depth in the secondary with the selection of North Carolina Central cornerback Ryan Smith with the 108th pick, added offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch out of UCLA at 148 and finished out the draft with Oklahoma linebacker Devante Bond with the 183rd pick.
Looking at the value the Buccaneers got in the 2016 NFL Draft, especially in the first two rounds, the team is heading into offseason workouts with a much better roster than they had a year ago.
Lucas Davis is a Tennessee Titans Analyst for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @LDsportswriter You can also follow the SPOT’s Tennessee Titans Twitter feed at @spot_titans and LIKE the SPOT's Tennessee Titans Facebook page here.