Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [full archive here].
Season Recap – The Buccaneers surprised many this season, as the league’s youngest team finished the season 10-6. Quarterback Josh Freeman took major strides in his second season and finished with a 96 quarterback rating. GM Mark Dominik has done a great job of bringing in the right personnel, especially last years draft where 10 rookies became starters. This young team will be a year older and is expected to be a top competitor in 2011.
1. Defensive End – Dominik did a good job of fixing the defensive tackle need with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, but now he must fix the outside. The Bucs ranked 30th in the league in sacks with only 26. Getting pressure on the QB is very important as seen through Super Bowl participants Green Bay and Pittsburgh who finished first and second in sacks, respectively. The Bucs could use two new starters on the outside. There should be a capable D-End available for the Bucs in the first round. Ryan Kerrigan or Adrian Clayborn would be nice additions.
2. Outside Linebacker – Quincy Black is a free agent, which leaves only a group of young depth players on the roster. Dekoda Watson played well as a rookie and might have one of the positions secured, but Tampa Bay has to add another OLB. Bruce Carter will be the best OLB available in the second round.
3. Inside Linebacker – Barrett Ruud has fallen off the map and is scheduled to be a free agent. He likely won’t be resigned because the Bucs have to take care of some other players first. Tampa Bay can find a new starter in free agency or through the draft. Free agent MLB Stephen Tulloch would fit perfectly in the Tampa 2 defense.
4. Strong Safety – Preferably, Tampa Bay can find an upgrade over Sean Jones who is an average starter. Tanard Jackson may not play football again, due to his multiple suspensions regarding substance abuse. Tampa Bay will be in the market for a star safety to lead the defensive backfield. Ahmad Black, out of Florida, is an interesting option.
5. Offensive Tackle – Jeremy Trueblood and James Lee are scheduled to become free agents, but both played poorly in 2010. Protecting QB Josh Freeman is the number one priority for Tampa Bay, and settling the RT position is a need this offseason.