PewterReport.com has somewhat gone against the grain in our last three mock drafts by forecasting Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins, a defensive tackle, to Tampa Bay instead of the usual defensive end prediction. But that doesn’t mean we’re short-selling the importance of the pass rush or ignoring the Bucs definite need of an upgrade in that area.
Rather, it’s an indication that pressure on the quarterback can also come from the interior part of the defensive line, even if that just means opening a lane for the edge rusher to burst through. Take it from general manager Jason Licht.
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo: Cliff Welch/PR
“You can (create pressure) and the goal defensively is always to affect the quarterback,” Licht said Thursday. “You usually think of the front four doing that, but there are other ways. I know it was just one game, but if you watched the Super Bowl last year – Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware had their share of success there, but really the interior pressure had a big, big effect on that game, so there are other ways to do it. We all want a great defensive end, or two, or three, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.”
In this draft especially, multiple defensive ends like Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner, to name a few, could fly off the board early. The Bucs may feel it’s best to take their top rated tackle over their third or fourth rated end. One thing for certain, though, is that Tampa Bay won’t pigeonhole itself into any decision with the ninth overall selection.
Licht said they’re preparing for any situation, player- or trade-wise, and aren’t ruling out any strategy at this point.
“The way I assess it is, it is what it is and you have to work around it,” Licht said. “There are a lot of good players in this draft. We have to prepare to take a player there, we have to prepare to – a situation of moving back; we have to prepare for situations that might come up where we’re enticed to move up.”
No matter which spot Tampa Bay picks – first round through seventh – Licht’s confident in the overall talent of the 2016 draft. Which bodes well for the Bucs, as late-round gems – like former fourth-rounder Kwon Alexander – are the picks that separate the good teams from the great.
“This is a very good draft,” Licht said. “The more that we dig into it and the more meetings we have and the more tape we watch – it’s very deep at certain positions. A lot of positions. There are a lot of good players to be picked.
“There are always the flashy players, the players that everybody knows about,” Licht continued. “But there are a lot of deep tracks on an album that you don’t know about now that someday you’re going to know, like Kwon Alexander. We just want to hit the right ones, so we’re doing a lot of work on those guys.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Thanks ZS, I think you pointed out the difference between PR’s and LL’s views and showed how close they are too.
I see us staying put at 9. If we go offence there I see us moving up to bottom of first or top of second to get a DE or Corner.
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