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Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: NFC South

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: April 15, 2020, 3:15 pm ET

The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Notable Offseason Additions: QB Tom Brady, G/T Joe Haeg

Starting Offense

QB: Tom Brady
RB: Ronald Jones
WR1: Mike Evans
WR2: Chris Godwin
WR3: Justin Watson
TE: O.J. Howard
LT: Donovan Smith
LG: Ali Marpet
C: Ryan Jensen
RG: Alex Cappa
RT: Joe Haeg

Starting Defense

DE: William Gholston
DE: Ndamukong Suh
DT Vita Vea
OLB: Jason Pierre-Paul 
OLB: Shaq Barrett
MLB: Lavonte David
MLB: Devin White
CB: Carlton Davis
CB: Jamel Dean
SCB: Sean Bunting
S: Mike Edwards
S: Justin Evans

Team Needs

Hartitz’s Analysis

Running back: Yes, Tom Brady called Ronald Jones "Ron." Also yes, RoJo has largely disappointed through two years, particularly in the passing game. The Bucs have already said they're hoping to add a receiving-friendly back at some point, meaning it's unlikely we see Jones inherit a full-time role anytime soon. It'd be shocking if Tampa Bay doesn't use a draft pick on the RB position. One can wish that coach Bruce Arians would consider pounding the table for someone like Matt Breida or Duke Johnson.

Secondary: The Buccaneers are a bottom-five defense in spending at both corner and safety. They've drafted four CBs in the top-three rounds since 2018, with Jamel Dean (PFF's No. 12 overall CB) and Carlton Davis (No. 31) outplaying Sean Bunting (No. 51) and M.J. Stewart (No. 77). Dean and Davis alike deserve credit for their improvement, but the corner depth as well as the safety group as a whole remains an issue. The Bucs were a bottom-five defense in DVOA and yards per game vs. TEs in 2019.

Defensive line: The Bucs managed to retain each of Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Jason Pierre-Paul. Still, none were signed to long-term deal, and the defense will be without the likes of Carl Nassib and Sam Acho in 2020. This defense quietly finished 2020 as the league's No. 5 overall unit in DVOA.

Buccaneers' 2020 Draft Picks

Norris’ Options

1 (14). OT Tristan Wirfs, Alabama - There’s a reason why the Patriots prioritized staff one of the best offensive line coaches in NFL history and consistently invested draft picks at all five positions - building a talented and cohesive offensive line provides the quarterback time to operate inside the structure of an offense. While the Bucs are solid at a few spots, solid might not be good enough. Wirfs has experience on both sides of the line and could develop into the best blocker from this class.

2 (45). RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU - It is clear the Bucs need a passing down back. I tend to side with the team adding one with NFL experience, as that should instantly elicit trust from Tom Brady. But if the draft is the route chosen, there is no better option than CEH - a back out of a pro style system who was already asked to motion out wide or in the slot and create separation on his own, to the tune of 55 receptions in a single year. Plus, he’s outstanding between the tackles as well.

3 (76). S K’Von Wallace, Clemson - The Bucs secondary underwent an amazing transition towards the end of last season, and much of the positives fell on the shoulders of young players. Jamel Dean could be on a special trajectory. But the safeties seemed to consistently be the weak link. Wallace was the leader of Clemson’s defense and could eventually fill the same role on an NFL team.

4 (117). EDGE Jabari Zuniga, Florida - With much of the defensive front on short term deals, it would not be surprising to see the team attack the position even earlier. Zuniga’s best snaps might be in front of him, as he learns to channel great athleticism into pass rushing consistency.

4 (139). OL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin - Now for interior line help. Biadasz is a former defensive lineman who switched to center and immediately started there for the Badgers. It’s not a stretch to think he could also operate at guard.

5 (161). iDL Raequan Williams, Michigan State - Vita Vea continues to develop. Suh is on a short deal. After that, the team is very thin. This is a depth selection for a player who lined up across the defensive line.

6 (194). WR Darnell Mooney, Tulane - Jason Licht always has his eye on a late round receiver target. Justin Watson. Scotty Miller (breakout?). Mooney might be that this year thanks to his vertical playmaking and ball skills.

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