The Buccaneers finished the season 11-5 as the NFC South Champions, only to lose in the 1st round of the Playoffs to Washington. The Buccaneers are finally back on the right track since winning Super Bowl 37. The main reason for the Buccaneers success comes from the relationship between GM Bruce Allen and Head Coach Jon Gruden. GM Bruce Allen who is considered the top salary cap manager in the league has fixed the Buccaneers salary cap woe’s that GM Rich McKay left behind. GM Bruce Allen has final say on player personal (Lynch, Sapp and McCardell), however Allen consults closely with Gruden before any decision is made. Coach Jon Gruden is the instrument that has restructured the Buccaneers into a power offense that turns ordinary quarterbacks into fantasy Studs ( Rich Gannon, and Brad Johnson in 2002). Of course you can’t talk Buccaneer football with out mentioning Monte Kiffin’s Number 1 defense.
If the Buccaneers are going to repeat as the NFC South Champions and possibly go to the Big Game, here is what needs to happen:
Building Blocks: RB Cadillac Williams: WR Joey Galloway: LB Derrick Brooks: CB Ronde Barber: DE Simeon Rice: QB Chris Simms: K Matt Bryant: DT Chris Hovan:
Need to Improve: WR Michael Clayton: Offensive Line:
Game Plan: The Buccaneers are one strong draft from returning to the Super Bowl. The Bucs could deal away one of their fifth round picks since they have two, they also lost their sixth round to the 49ers for the Tim Rattay trade last season. However, the Bucs were rewarded 3 more picks from the NFL. The Buccaneers need WR, OT, DE, CB, and DT during this draft.
Top Targets: #1 Wide Receiver, Yes I said WR, sure we have Galloway, who was outstanding and had his best season yet, but the fact is he is old and could retire within the next couple of seasons. Michael Clayton, who was a star rookie faded last season due to injuries and you never know how he will bounce back. 3rd Receiver Ike Hilliard is also getting up there in age and is normally injury prone. Sure we have Edell Shepherd and Mark Jones, and Shepherd has the speed to replace Galloway, but does he have the size to be an every-down receiver. There is a lot of mock drafts out there that have WR Sinorice Moss, the younger brother to Santana Moss falling into the Bucs hands with the 23rd overall pick. Some idiots have said
“To start out we can toss out the idea of drafting a receiver in the first
round. Maybe if Matt Millen was running the team this would be a viable option,
but the Bucs don't need to spend another first round pick on a receiver.”
Well let me tell you something, if you know Coach Gruden at all, you should know that he would never pass up a playmaker like Moss. You must think about the future and Galloway and Clayton sure does sound nice for the next 5 years, but the fact is Galloway is closing in on retirement. So Moss and Clayton sounds great.
Tampa could really use a #3 option to add depth and they could easily find a solid lineman in the 2nd round. It’s said they love Davin Joseph and he could be realistically available for them in round 2. Another thing to look at is Jon Gruden is a disciple of Mike Holmgrem and the general philosophy they follow is draft the best player available.
#2 Offensive Tackle/Guard, sure the Buccaneers have made some off-season moves at this position by bringing in Guard Toniu Fonoti, and by signing offensive tackle Torrin Tucker, a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet. Lets just say for a second the Cowboys allow Tucker to leave, and the Bucs have resigned sorry ass Kenyatta Walker, we still need help at this position if the Bucs really want to be a power house team. Last Season Rookie Dan Buenning and Anthony Davis was the only bright spots on the line. If the Bucs are able to draft OT Marcus McNeil Auburn, who is Cadillac’s old blocker or Eric Winston from Miami. With a talented tackle like Winston, the holes will be larger for Cadillac to drive through. Winston is coming off a serious knee injury, but seems to have recovered well and is an equally adept run and pass blocker. Gruden likes tough players and Winston clearly fits the bill while filling a hole for the Bucs.
#3 Defensive End, Greg Spires and Simeon Rice are both over 30, and Dewayne White, a special teams stud is waiting in the back ground, but many feel he is not an every-down end. The Bucs could afford to find a nice DE in the later rounds of the 1st day or even perhaps during the 2nd day of the draft.
#4 Cornerbacks, again this position is aging. Sure Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly and Juran Bolden form a great trio, but they are 30+ . The Bucs could use this draft to find a CB to start developing. Of course this could happen in the later rounds. Then next years draft we could find another CB.
#5 Defensive Tackles, we are looking good up front with the Bucs resigning Chris Hovan, and Booger restructuring to remain a Buc. However, Ellis Wyms struggles against the run. Anthony Bryant, the 2nd year 6-3, 337 lbs Dt could fit in nicely. He is said to remind people of Green Bays Gilbert Brown. However the Bucs could still draft a good DT in the later rounds.
We are looking good at LB and do not need to daft at this position:
With Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles being the old guys, the Bucs still have Marquis Cooper, Ryan Nece, Wesly Mallard, Antoine Cash, Jermaine Taylor, Barrett Ruud, and they just added veteran Jamie Winborn from free agency. Winborn is a former San Francisco 49er and Jacksonville linebacker, a second-round draft pick in 2001.
The outlook for the Buccaneers is great in fact, most sports writers are now picking the Bucs as a possible NFC Team to be in the Super Bowl.