PewterReport.com analyzes the top players in the 2019 NFL Draft with its position previews. Taylor Jenkins previews the defensive end position with a comprehensive look at what the Bucs have and what they need off of the edge, a detailed list of this year’s top defensive ends, and Scott Reynolds offers up the annual PewterReport.com Bucs’ Best Bets – one early round pick, and a pick from the later rounds.
What The Bucs Have At Defensive End
The Bucs got good production from their defensive ends last season, with Jason Pierre-Paul becoming Tampa Bay’s first double-digit sacker since Simeon Rice in 2005, and Carl Nassib emerging as a pleasant surprise and bookend opposite Pierre-Paul with a career-high 6.5 sacks. After those starters, though, the Bucs lack experience and depth at defensive end.
The next two ends on the roster at the moment are Noah Spence and Will Gholston, both of whom have more experience under their belt than their production would suggest. Spence has had a career thus far that’s been riddled with injuries and under-performance, and this year could be his last chance to prove he belongs. As for Gholston, he earned a second contract with the Bucs since being drafted in 2013, but has largely been a non-factor, especially as a pass rusher. Gholston should fit better in Todd Bowles’ scheme, however, as a versatile player who can be a base 3-4 five-tech defensive end or defensive tackle if needed.
Then there is a slew of young players. The remaining defensive ends currently on the roster are Demone Harris, Hunter Dimick, Farrington Heguenin and Pat O’Connor, who all have just one year in the league with limited snaps.
What The Bucs Need At Defensive End
Before the 2019 season starts the Bucs will likely be looking to bring in a defensive end to mold and plug in to make an impact sooner rather than later.
Pierre-Paul and Nassib will be outside linebackers in Bowles’ 3-4 scheme and edge-rushing defensive ends when Tampa Bay goes to a four-man front in nickel defense. Spence projects better to a stand up outside linebacker and a lack of depth at the position the Bucs will likely need to take advantage of a very deep class of defensive linemen to bring in a base 3-4 defensive end to fit their new defensive scheme and join Vita Vea as part of the defensive line’s core for the future.
This year’s PewterReport.com’s 2019 Draft Previews + Bucs’ Best Bets and Draft Videocast are presented by Edmonson Electric & Security – the official smart home and security company of PewterReport.com.
Watch Pewter Reporters Scott Reynolds, Mark Cook, Taylor Jenkins and Matt Matera, as well as other special guests, live on-air via PewterReport.com from the team’s headquarters at One Buccaneer Place beginning on Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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