Steven Means to the Buccaneers: How Does OLB Fit with Tampa Bay?

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Steven Means to the Buccaneers: How Does OLB Fit with Tampa Bay?
Photo courtesy of BuffaloBulls.com

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, clearly content with the upgrades they've made to their porous secondary, have used Day 3 of the NFL draft to upgrade the other half of pass defense: rushing the passer.

After taking DT Akeem Spence (No. 100 overall) and DE William Gholston (No. 126 overall) in the fourth round, Tampa Bay selected Buffalo DE/OLB Steven Means with the 147th overall pick in round five.

Means (6'4", 254 lbs.) put up very good numbers in his career at Buffalo, tallying 18.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss in four seasons. He has very good speed, running a 4.6 40-yard dash at his pro day, and has shown a general nastiness when rushing the passer.

 

Role

Means is likely to play a sort of hybrid end-linebacker position with the Bucs, as the addition of Gholston in round four gives the Bucs nine defensive ends, which is clearly more than they will enter the season with.

The Bucs have a need at outside linebacker after releasing Quincy Black earlier in the offseason, and Means' greatest chance of making the team will be at that position. With his quickness and nastiness, Means has the ability to be used as a pass-rushing hybrid linebacker, and for the time being, that appears to be the route Tampa Bay is going with him.

 

Early Projection

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With just 50 sacks over the last two seasons combined, the Bucs need to improve their ability to get after the quarterback if they truly want to improve their league-worst pass defense. Gholston is not a pure pass-rusher, and the health concerns for Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers give Means an opportunity to show the coaching staff what he is capable of. 

He is a very raw defensive player and will need a lot of coaching to develop as a complete linebacker, but if used in the right situations and packages, he has the potential to make a little noise in 2013.

 

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