PewterReport.com continues its daily feature previewing the upcoming NFL Draft with position-by-position analysis. PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook analyzes what the Bucs have currently on their roster at each position and Trevor Sikkema provides a comprehensive overall ranking of the top players at that position going into the draft. Scott Reynolds makes his projections for Tampa Bay with PewterReport.com’s Bucs’ Best Bets – one early round pick, and one from the later rounds.
WHAT THE BUCS HAVE AT DEFENSIVE TACKLE Along with their edge versatility, the Buccaneers have surrounded their franchise defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy, with his strongest supporting cast yet going into 2017. The addition of defensive tackle Chris Baker in free agency cannot be understated. He was a Top 20 defensive tackle last season, and for the price the Buccaneers got him at, the addition should be praised all around. Though the team did lose Akeem Spence to free agency, they’re expect to add more size in the draft. As of right now, they’re solid in the front, but could use some depth.
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former starting nose tackle Clinton McDonald returns and is capable of playing either as McCoy’s backup at the three-technique position or behind Baker at nose tackle. He provides the Bucs with more pass rush potential than run-stuffer Sealver Siliga, who is 330 pounds, but moves well. Tampa Bay also has DaVonte Lambert, who is in his second season, as a reserve.
WHAT THE BUCS NEED AT DEFENSIVE TACKLE Size is what the Buccaneers need. Adding Baker was a good start, but the Bucs really need to add another 300+ pound defensive tackle or nose tackle to shore up what they have as a run stopping unit and in gap control. The speed on this team is reserved for the edge players, and, at times, using them in stunt blitzes or as inside linemen themselves (as we’ve seen with Robert Ayers).
Knowing that, it’s easy to see that getting bigger on the inside is more needed than drafting any kind of finesse defensive lineman. The Bucs might get another 330-pound run-stuffing defensive tackle later in the draft to challenge Siliga for the backup spot behind Baker.
Click the next page to see the Top 15 projected defensive tackles in this class.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: email@example.com