Tampa Bay Buccaneers Day 3 2014 NFL Draft Primer
Well, you can't say Lovie Smith isn't willing to focus on the offensive side of the ball.
After taking WR Mike Evans in the first round, Tampa Bay added two more offensive playmakers in TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and RB Charles Sims.
The skill positions on offense look much improved, but needs at guard, linebacker and nickel corner have still not been addressed heading into the final day of the draft.
Here's everything you need to know about the Bucs as we look toward Day 3 of the NFL draft.
Day 2 Recap & Analysis
Who would have thought that three picks into Lovie Smith's first draft as the Bucs' head coach, he'd have added three offensive skill position players?
After taking the towering Mike Evans to play receiver across from Vincent Jackson, the Bucs kept a good thing going by taking another massive pass-catcher in Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins at the top of the second round. The pick gives Tampa Bay three top targets who are 6'5" or taller, which should help improve their effectiveness in the red zone.
Jason Licht and his crew followed up that pick with quite the head-scratcher as the Bucs drafted West Virginia RB Charles Sims at No. 69 overall in the third round. Even though Sims is an extremely well-rounded back with plenty of outstanding traits, Tampa Bay's backfield is already stocked with three talented runners, all of whom are 26 years old or younger.
Updated Team Needs for Bucs
It's shocking that the Bucs haven't addressed the guard position with any of their first three picks. They're either banking on one to fall to them on Day 3 or they're confident in Carl Nicks and Jamon Meredith as their starters.
It seems like Lovie Smith was indeed telling the truth when he said the Bucs have no plans to trade Mike Glennon, but I still don't agree with the idea. Tampa Bay is missing their fourth-rounder, so getting one in return for Glennon would be wise. With the likes of Aaron Murray, A.J. McCarron and Zach Mettenberger all still on the board, I'd deal Glennon and find a better fit for Jeff Tedford's offense.
This is more of a depth need than a spot where the Bucs need to find a starter, but finding a young, athletic linebacker to add to the mix with Jonathan Casillas and Dane Fletcher should be on the radar for Day 3.
The Bucs will likely play plenty of nickel sets against some very pass-happy teams in 2014, so getting a corner who fits what Lovie Smith's defense needs in the slot/nickel role would make a lot of sense.
New defensive line coach Joe Cullen wants to build a strong, deep rotation along the front four. Tampa Bay should be on the lookout for the best value at either end or tackle and snatch up some depth in the draft's later rounds.
Top Day 3 Targets
1. David Yankey, G, Stanford
He's not likely to be around when the Bucs finally pick again at the top of the fifth round, but if they're able to move up somehow, Yankey should be at the top of their wish list.
2. E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
There are plenty of great corners still left on the board at this point, which means Gaines could get pushed down to the Bucs' fifth-rounder. If he's there, he'd be a perfect fit as a slot corner in the Tampa 2.
3. Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana
Four-three outside linebackers tend to slip on draft day, and this year seems to be no exception. Tripp is a tough, hard-working defender who would fit right into the Bucs' rotation at Sam linebacker with Jonathan Casillas and Dane Fletcher.
4. Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State
If they can't get their hands on Tripp but still want to grab an athletic playmaker at linebacker, Smith might just be their guy. He's extremely undersized at just 218 pounds, but he could be brought along slowly while he bulks up, making an impact on special teams in the meantime.
5. Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
The Bucs have a solid rotation at defensive tackle on paper, but things get real thin if there's an injury to that unit. Reid is a monster in the middle who would be a valuable addition to the interior rotation.
6. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Again, I'm still not sold on Mike Glennon as the Bucs' future franchise quarterback. A Tampa native, Murray is coming off an ACL tear, but the all-time passing leader in SEC history has the intangibles and football IQ to be a steal if the Bucs are willing to take a chance in the later rounds.
7. Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
It's not like the Bucs need another offensive skill player in this draft, but Bryant's rare combination of size and straight-line speed might be tough to pass up depending on how far he falls.
8. Zach Kerr, DT, Delaware
Another space-eater from a small school, Kerr would be a great depth addition to the interior of the Bucs' front four.
9. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OL, McGill
Projected to be the top overall pick in the CFL draft, the Canadian prospect is raw but versatile, and he would be a valuable depth piece on an offensive line unit that has suffered plenty of injuries in recent years.
10. Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
Another perfect fit at nickel corner, Lawson is undersized but has the right skill set to excel as a slot defender in the Tampa 2.
What Are the Experts Saying?
B/R's Matt Miller: California DT DeAndre Coleman (fifth round), Alabama CB Deion Belue (sixth round), Wyoming QB Brett Smith (seventh round)
I like the positions addressed with these three picks, as Miller has the Bucs addressing the depth at defensive tackle as well as the need for a nickel corner. Smith is an interesting pick at QB, who has been called a "poor man's Johnny Manziel". He'd be a developmental prospect, but he has a knack for making plays.
WalterFootball.com: LSU LB Lamin Barrow (fifth round), Purdue CB Ricardo Allen (sixth round), Marshall OT Garrett Scott (seventh round)
Barrow to the Bucs just makes too much sense, considering the team met with him at both the combine and the Senior Bowl. Allen would be a solid fit as a nickel corner, and Scott would be given the chance to provide depth to the Bucs' solid tackles.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds: Purdue OT Kevin Pamphile (sixth round), Bloomsburg DE Larry Webster (seventh round)
Reynolds has the Bucs taking Pittsburgh State WR John Brown in the fifth round, but he's already off the board. Pamphile would be valuable as long as he can slide in and play guard, while Webster is one of the most raw prospects in the draft and might have a better future at tight end.
Four Predictions for Day 3
1. Deal a Running Back
After spending a third-round pick on Charles Sims, the Bucs simply have too many horses in the stable at running back. They should parlay one of their young ball-carriers into a Day 3 pick, if possible.
2. Defense Takes Over
After spending their first three picks on the offensive side of the ball, I expect the Bucs to use at least two of their three remaining selections on defensive players. A nickel corner and depth at both linebacker and on the defensive line are all areas that need to be addressed.
3. Stand Pat at Quarterback
If the Bucs were going to replace Mike Glennon with a rookie quarterback, they wouldn't be waiting until the fourth round to do it. Even with names like Aaron Murray and A.J. McCarron still available, I expect Lovie Smith to stay true to his word and keep Glennon as the team's future QB...for now.
4. Don't Stick with Original Picks
After staying at their original draft spot in the first three rounds, don't be surprised to finally see some movement from the Bucs on Day 3. Players could be involved, but in any event, I think we'll see Tampa Bay picking in a different spot at least once in the final few rounds.
Updated Bucs Mock Draft
Fifth Round, 143rd overall: Dakota Dozier, G, Furman
There are still plenty of decent guard prospects on the board, meaning a solid value like Dozier could fall into the Bucs' lap at the top of the fifth round. Dozier is yet another small-school tackle prospect who projects as a guard at the next level and could give Tampa Bay valuable depth behind Carl Nicks and Jamon Meredith.
Sixth Round, 185th overall (from BUF): Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
Lovie Smith needs to find a potential nickel corner at some point in this draft, and Lawson could be their chance to grab a good fit in the later rounds. His lack of height (5'9") wouldn't hurt him as much in the slot, and his instincts and comfort in zone coverage would make him a solid option here.
Seventh Round, 221st overall: Ronald Powell, OLB, Florida
Depth at linebacker should be a priority on the last day of the draft, and the Bucs should have plenty of prospects available who would present a good fit. Powell is a raw player with great athleticism who just needs to improve his consistency in order to reach his potential.
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