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.
The series began with quarterbacks, followed by running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive tackles, offensive guards and centers, defensive ends, defensive tackles, and now linebackers.
WHAT THE BUCS HAVE AT LINEBACKER
Plenty of other NFL teams would love to have the talent at linebacker that Bucs Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander possess. Both are outstanding playmakers who had very good seasons for Tampa Bay in 2016, with Alexander leading the way with 145 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. David didn’t produce the outstanding tackle numbers from his weakside position that Alexander did in the middle, but still made an impact, particularly after the Bucs defense found their footing following the bye week. David finished with 87 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception.
Unfortunately, after those two, things are a little thin. The Bucs are hoping that Devante Bond, who missed all of 1016 with an injury, can step in and fill the role voided by strongside starter Daryl Smith who was not re-signed this offseason. Adarius Glanton will push Bond, and even Alexander told the media recently that the battle between the two should be a good one to watch this training camp.
Other reserves include former CFL player Jeff Knox and Cameron Lynch.
WHAT THE BUCS NEED AT LINEBACKER
The Bucs could be looking to add some more depth at linebacker in this draft, although few expect it to happen early. The SAM linebacker was only on the field for around 35-40 percent of the defensive snaps in 2016 under coordinator Mike Smith, and in games against the pass happy NFC South it was even less some games.
Don’t look for Tampa Bay to go linebacker early, but there most likely will be at least one added on Day 3, and also a handful of undrafted free agents brought in for potential depth as most likely either Bond or Glanton will line up next to Alexander and David in the season opener against the Dolphins.
Click the next page to see the top projected defensive tackles in this class.