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The Buccaneers finished the 2013 season with lots of holes to fill. With a 4-12 record, many will argue that almost everyone can be replaced and in just a few days, some of college football’s best players will be performing in front of many scouts, coaches, and team exceutices at the annual NFL Scouting Combine. It’ll be the first step for TampaBay to set up some success for the future — primarily at a couple key positions on offense.
There was a lack of explosiveness from the wide receiver position last season. With Mike Williams lost for most of 2013 due to injury, it was difficult for the Bucs to get anything going in the passing game with Vincent Jackson virtually left to do it all. A few guys that could change that include Clemson standout receiver Sammy Watkins or Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin. Both have displayed good hands with the ability to separate themselves downfield and have good size. Other talented wideouts include Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, LSU’s Odell Beckham, Jr., and Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, all can be options later in the first round or top of the second.
Issues across the offensive line were also evident. With veteran Carl Nicks being lost for almost the entire season due to the MRSA infection and an injured toe, the Bucs played a few different names throughout 2013 at left guard. Aside from the inconsistency at that spot, the line saw veteran right guard Davin Joseph at times struggled as well as center Jeremy Zuttah and the tackles Donald Penn and Demar Dotson. At the seventh spot, either one — if not both — of the top tackles Greg Robinson (Auburn) and Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) can be available. Other linemen, especially in the interior, will still have good value in the second round.
Some will ask about the quarterback position and rightfully so. Mike Glennon didn’t ‘wow’ the masses, but he was not horrible either. Quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles will be at the combine and may (but probably not) be available for the Bucs to pick unless they trade up. However, for the draft, quarterback shouldn’t be a high priority. Unless they feel the need to draft the best player available.
Tampa Bay is more likely to address the offensive side of the ball with the seventh overall pick in May and they could already have an idea of who they may be leaning towards heading into the combine later this week. Thiis opportunity will just give them either more of a reason or less of a reason to put that said player at the top of their boards.