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 SAFETY Many fans were surprised to see the Buccaneers bring back free agent safety Chris Conte over Bradley McDougald, who eventually signed with Seattle. Conte, like most on Tampa Bay’s defense, had his early season struggles in Mike Smith’s scheme, but turned the corner and ended up having a solid 2016 campaign. Conte finished the year with 69 tackles, five pass breakups and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown against the Bears.
Bucs S Chris Conte – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Late in the season Conte was injured and backup Keith Tandy had an opportunity to showcase his talent – and Tandy delivered. So much, in fact, that he most likely heads into the offseason as a starter. Tandy started five games in 2016 and tallied 56 tackles, nine pass breakups and four interceptions.
The Bucs replaced McDougald with former Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox, who will compete for a starting role beginning this offseason. Wilcox notched 49 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception for the Cowboys in 2016.
Isaiah Johnson is currently the only other rostered safety.
WHAT THE BUCS NEED AT SAFETY With only four safeties on the roster the Bucs at the very least need depth. Tampa Bay could actually go safety early, even possibly at No. 19. The good news for Tampa Bay is this class of safeties is deep and even if they don’t draft one in the first round, a down-the-road starter can still be found later in the draft. The Bucs will also most likely add additional bodies via the post-draft free agent frenzy that takes place Saturday evening.
Click the next page to see the top projected safeties 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
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.