Secondary A Critical Need

February 9th, 2012

Without any upgrade to the secondary, it is a very real possibility Myron Lewis will be a starting cornerback for the Bucs this fall.

Amid all the rumors and guesses people have about who will join Greg Schiano on his first coaching staff with the Bucs, one thing remains certain for Joe: the Bucs secondary needs a great deal of help.

This is not lost on the crowd, which has the Bucs secondary as a unit of top concern for the Pewter Pirates.

It’s not clear if Ronde Barber will return, and Aqib Talib’s future is uncertain, too, so there could be major changes on the way at this spot. Those two have been the Bucs’ top corners, and the Bucs don’t have any other players at the position who they think are ready to be full-time starters. Corner will be a priority early in the draft. … Sean Jones, who has started every game at strong safety since the Bucs signed him before the 2010 season, is due to become an unrestricted free agent and he may not fit into the team’s plans. The Bucs are looking for an upgrade here – both vs. the run and in coverage. Jones simply didn’t make many plays, and his performance declined over the course of last season.

Let’s be honest here: It’s quite possible the Bucs will have an completely new secondary come August. Joe doubts Ronde Barber will be back — nothing more than a hunch. Even if — a key if — Aqib Talib escapes both jail time and the court of NFL warden commissioner Roger Goodell, is he really worth all the drama? Schiano may not want any part of him.

Then there are the safeties: Tanard Jackson, after a fine first game, sure looked like he had been out of the league for a year and with one more slip up and he is gone for good. Jackson sure didn’t look like a capable NFL starter the final two months of the season. And yes, Jones may very well be gone too.

So it’s possible that the starting lineup, without any additions, come August will be E.J. Biggers, Myron Lewis, Cody Grimm and Corey Lynch.

This just reinforces Joe’s point that the Bucs need to get their mitts on Mo Claiborne, the studly talented corner out of LSU.

59 Responses to “Secondary A Critical Need”

  1. Stevek Says:

    FA to fill CB/Secondary needs.

    This draft should be about our plain a$$ vanilla offense.


  2. Stevek Says:

    If Morris Claibourne is gone, then we have to take Richardson. I want a difference maker that can touch the ball 20+ times, and is a finely tuned receiver/blocker for Freeman.

    You want it to be about #5? The. Draft him Richardson. Batman needs a Robin.

  3. Bulldog Says:

    Joe, I drink my first cup of Fresh Ground Colombian with you. But seeing the same girl twice in a row is disappointing.. You having a hard time with your calendar girl search ? chuckle chuckle

  4. Bobby Says:

    Have to agree. I see the Giants getting it done with defense and an undrafted FA back and I think “We can probably get it done with Blount and someone besides Richardson” so give me Claiborne.

    Richardson would be my third choice after Claiborne and Blackmon. Actually, if we can’t get Claiborne or Blackmon I hope we trade down (if we can) and take a good LB in the middle of the 1st round or get Kendall Wright.

  5. Big007hed Says:

    My god that lineup you listed is worse than the secondary for a college team…. Lewis and Biggers are just god awful and Lynch is a great special teamed and nothing more, Grimm is the only one I wouldn’t mind as much, I would prefer an upgrade but he is serviceable. Claiborne would be a huge upgrade even if Ronde and Aqib come back

  6. Fatmosh Says:

    Man, those people that said last year we didn’t need Jonathan Joseph sure look dumb.

  7. Dave Says:

    I agree on Claiborne unless Blackmon is there.

    They also need to graba Safety and a CB in Free Agency.

    I do think Gaitor showed promise as a rookie.

    As far as TJax, I expected rust but did not expect him to give up. Hopefully an offseason and coaching changes gets him back to where he was… and I think it will.

  8. Meh Says:

    Kalil > Claiborne > Trade Down > Blackmon > Martin > Reiff > Richardson > Kirkpatrick > Kuechly

  9. jvato24 Says:

    Joe, Lynch is a FA as well. So you can cross him off that list. Lynch is a hell of a backup and has even made game saving plays off the bench. Gotta respect that.

    Claibourne would be nice to have but still jeep a top end FA to pair with him. Even the best CBs aren’t usually probowlers their first season

  10. bucfanjeff Says:

    Tough choice regardless because their are various ways we can address problem areas. I think Richardson is a RB worthy of a top 5 pick, and that is rare. We’re in a good spot regardless and stand to get an elite pick, however it plays out, and we’re in need of such talent. Trading back may push us out of picking elite players, because this years draft prospects just don’t appear that deep in 1st round worthy talent.

  11. Macabee Says:

    Right on, Bobby. I think the Bucs look at trading down in any case. If Cleveland takes RGIII and Richardson is still there, they will covet Richardson as a replacement for Hillis. The combine will help them determine just how much better Claiborne is than Kirkpatrick, Janoris Jenkins, Dennard, or Minnefield. If he’s a once-in-a-decade CB, they’ve got to take him, otherwise they could use another couple of premium draft picks and Cleveland has the extra picks to pay.

  12. Paul W. Says:

    Best case scenario: Bucs trade down and get a handful of good draft picks to someone desperate for Richardson or Blackmon.

    Worst case scenario: I just can’t justify picking up a WR in that slot when they can find one who fits the speed bill later in the draft or FA. Please don’t draft Blackmon, not because he isn’t great talent, but because there are gaping holes elsewhere on the team.

  13. Occassionally Right Says:

    I agree with you on our first pick, Joe. I really don’t see how it cannot be Mo…unless he is taken before we get an opportunity.

    “Mo” just sounds like a Buccaneer name that would go down in the history books too 😉

    If we cannot get Mo, I could see us taking Dre at #5. It’s a little early, but I don’t see Schiano wanting to risk losing out on the guy. Dom might try to trade back a couple picks, but that’s risking someone else taking Dre.

    But I REALLY want Mo. We need him here BAD.

    Another comment from the article:

    “…they could also use an upgrade at left tackle — Donald Penn really struggled against speed off the edge at times last season.”

    I love Penn…but I’m glad someone is calling him out. If they don’t get a LT to replace him, they need to give him help. Both our Tackles are in need of help/replacement, though Penn can be saved.

  14. Occassionally Right Says:

    “Stevek Says:
    February 9th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    FA to fill CB/Secondary needs.

    This draft should be about our plain a$$ vanilla offense.


    You might want to take a good look at the Free Agent cornerbacks before you make that suggestion.

  15. Josh Says:

    I think Grimm has the chops for strong safety if he is healthy. They signed Jackson through 2012 hopefully with a full offseason he will be ready as well.
    I think they should supplement the defense with free agents with middle linebacker, corner and a tackle and use the first two rounds for offense. Flip the script from the last few years and balance the team. Offense needs more dynamic talent not leaders, and the defense needs leaders and experience.

  16. jLM Says:

    Draft Claiborne because he is needed. Hope that Talib can stick around. Get a numer 1 receiver and a stud LB in FA. Draft a Lamar Miller or LaMichael James to compliment blount.

  17. Capt.Tim 2.2 Says:

    We do not have one NFL calibre starter at LB or in the secondary. Ronde Barber was the only one, and IF he doesn’t retire, he shouldn’t be forced to try and do the work of 7 men- like last year!
    Our Back 7 are the worst in the league. Foster proved too slow at MLB, but would probably be good at his natural position- Strong side!

    Haven’t seen any back up that is ready to become a dependable starter, although Watson, Asante, and Haywood definitely did some good things

    We didn’t address our horrible secondary or LBers last off season. If our new coach is to stand a chance, we must address it this year. We will never stop other teams from running or passing with those horrible players. Just like I said last year!!

  18. eric Says:

    I understand the free agency period starts March 13.

    Lets see if our group takes a “wait and see” approach untill the “second tier” or gets serious and gets some real players to help the team. They should be working on that and targeting some key guys right now, IMO.

    That will go a long way in determining if they are committed or just up to their same old BS.

    And, if they are serious, it will impact whether they go secondary with the number five draft pick.

  19. Jared Says:

    Joe, good article. I like these more than coaching speculations. Thank you.

  20. knucknbuc Says:

    First of all Sean Jones if not the worst was one of the worst SS’s in the league last year. He has no distinguishable skills once so ever so he will be easily replaceable. Hell I would of wanted Devin Holland starting over him last year if he didnt end up on IR. Tjack just needs a full offseason and I have a feeling hell be a much improved tackler and coverage guy next year. CB position needs a fa corner grimes, or carr from kc would be big additions another draft pick 2nd round. Hopefully Talib doesn’t get suspended and ronde comes back and I think gaitor will improve and our secondary would at least be respectable. Im still of the mind to draft Trich and let him and Blount pound the crap outta teams so we have 2 gamechangers on offense. That’s what this team needs GAMECHANGERS.

  21. BigMacAttack Says:

    I hope the Bucs can trade down too. I like Upshaw and Hightower which may be gotten a little later in the first. If Blackmon is still on the board at 5, he’d be my pick, but he’ll be gone. He is the best pick in the whole draft, next possible Megatron. I wasn’t impressed with Claiborne against Bama and don’t think he is worth a top 5 pick right now, Richardson either. I only see the Bucs trading back if RG3 is still on the board at 5. I would also consider trading up to get Blackmon as well.

  22. Capt.Tim 2.2 Says:

    Worst Defense in the league. Regularly gave up 48 points a game . So we have to draft

    A RB?

    Guess we need another guy sitting on the bench, watching the oppostition walking up and down field on our defense

    We fo need a RB and WR with Speed also. But our back 7 are everyone so bad, we’ll never win with them

  23. eric Says:

    For example looks like S. Jackson and his 1100 yds, 9 td’s and 18ypc will be on the market.

    Be a good addition to our run the ball and go deep philosophy?

    Fill that hole and on to secondary.

    Perparing my annual FA drumbeat narrative. Hope I have more people onboard this time………..

  24. Architek Says:

    Looking at that list for a starting secondary scared the heebee-jibee’s out of me. OMG, that would be the worst starting NFL secondary in history.

    I would love Claiborne.
    I would love Richardson.
    I’m ok with Blackmon (need to see his speed).

    Truth is, I don’t care who we draft at that spot because we need HELP all over this team. The FA selections will tell us about what the draft will have in store. Dominik is on the hot seat so expect the Bucs to attempt to wheel and deal. The biggest question is – IS IT ALL ABOUT #5?

  25. jimmy Says:

    Another reason to draft Claiborne: We go up against Drew Brees, Matty Ice and Cam Newton twice a year each.

    Mo Claiborne is a no-brainer.


    CB > OT > LB > WR > RB

    1st round is for long term value. For every Adrian Peterson there are a ton of bomb 1st round RBs.

  27. Big Picture Guy Says:

    We might need 3 or 4 new CB’s this offseason. I love T-Rich, I think he’s a beast and will be a great success in the NFL, but he is a luxury we can’t afford.

    You can find RB’s anywhere, but you can’t find lockdown CB’s anywhere. Claiborne is my top choice no matter who is still on the board.

    To those hoping the bucs will trade down: GOOD LUCK!!! Anyone trading up, is going to trade to #2 for RG3. I’m not sure there is anyone worth trading up for to get to the #5 pick, that teams couldn’t just sit tight and let the draft unfold.

    If it is debateable if T-Rich is worth a #5 pick, he certainly isn’t worth a team giving up 2 number 1 picks and an additional mid rounder to get to our spot and draft him. Enjoy your fantasy world.

  28. eric Says:

    Wonder if anybody told Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, etc. about this…………….

  29. jvato24 Says:

    Draft BPA regardless of needs for this year. Atleast with the 1st round pick. Draft BPA long enough and we will have multiple Pro Bowlers .. Not just the best guy for our deepest need.

    Blackmon is good, but he is not Megatron. Completely different player. Much smaller and not as fast. But has some TO like qualities and I would take him.

    I doubt the Browns covet Richardson. Mike Holmgren is a pass first guy and their RB who replaced Hillis, Ihedigbo or something had some good size and good numbers, look for yourself.

    I like Upshaw too but we should only take him if we are going to a 3-4.

  30. jvato24 Says:

    I wouldnt be too bummed if Richardson was the pick, but he is not a great value. He runs similar to Ahmad Bradshaw and he was a 7th round pick.

    SHelf life of maybe 5-7 years …

  31. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Drafting for need gives mediocre players. Grab the best Athlete we can get at our pick, or trade down for more picks.
    We need help everywhere, in case no one has noticed.

  32. Chris FWC Says:

    Just sign Biggers to a long term deal. LOCK HIM UP! lol

  33. mjmoody Says:

    I certainly won’t be disappointed if Mo is the pick. But if a trade down is possible, Chase Minnifield, could help with Josh Norman or Stephon Gilmore in the later rounds for depth. Carlos Rogers as a lower tier FA for some veteran leadership and a hard push for either Carr, Finnegan, or Grimes as a top tier FA pick up. Harrison Smith would be nice in round 2 for the S position. If you miss Mo, keep a keen eye towards Xavier Rhodes for next year.

  34. SensibleBuc Says:

    Grabbing Trent Richardson is the easiest decision we could ever make.

    1) He’s an elite player. Mo Claiborne is a very good player. Justin Blackmon is a very good player.

    2) Blount is one-dimensional. His constant coming out of the game for Kregg “Lights Out” Lumpkin is a simply damning indictment on what type of player he is. With Rah & the coaching staff fighting for wins/their coaching careers I’m sure they wanted to play him more but didn’t want #5 to end up in a body bag.

    3) The free agent & draft pool for corners is deep. Brandon Carr, Carlos Rogers, Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes, & Richard Marshall are all in their primes and are relatively attainable. By my count there are 5-7 1st round-level talented corners including Claiborne, Kirkpatrick, J. Jenkins, Minnefield, Trufant (Washington), and my boy Gilmore from my alma matter.

    4) The free agent & draft running back pool is weak in terms of attainable players & depth respectively. Rice, Lynch, Foster, & Forte are all going back to their respective teams leaving us with Mike Tolbert/Mike Bush as the top guys. I’ll pass on an older FA because the older backs get, the more likely they are to breakdown/be not be as productive. There’s a huge drop-off of talent after Trent Richardson. We need two big physical explosive backs to help #5.

    5) I can foresee us emulating the NY Giants filling up the offense w/elite talent at the skill positions and letting Schiano go to his strength and “coach up” the defense.

  35. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    I don’t see a lot of smart debate against the Bucs taking Claiborne. Drafting for need and talent, regardless of the pick spot, Claiborne is the inevitable choice.

  36. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:


    How about the fact that this team has no play makers and you’re talking about a position that won’t touch the ball more than 5 or 6 times all year long?

    I don’t mind drafting “shutdown” corners at all…..but there’s a whole host of positions that I would look to fill first. RB, WR, RT, OLB, MLB would all be positions that can make a larger impact on a team than CB

  37. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ TheProsUseAdvoCare

    That simplistic thinking has gotten us in trouble in the past (see Adams, Gaines 2007 Draft).

    We need to add elite talent to this team and Richardson is the more sure thing out of the two. Plus, there are many more good corners out there than good RBs.

  38. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ CreamsicleBananaHammock

    Exactly. Build your team from the inside out and front to back. Unless Claiborne is going to return punts and kicks too then and elite RB is going to have a bigger impact on the game.

  39. Paul Says:

    Myron Lewis..He looks like a twig in that photo. How’s he going to jam a receiver with those noodles! He clearly doesn’t hit the weight room and isn’t committed, like 1/2 the roster…

  40. jvato24 Says:


    I am just not sold Richardson is an elite talent. Compare his highlights to Adrian Peterson in college. Not even close IMO.

    I just dont like the value of Richardson in the Top 5. I like to watch him play and think he is pretty good. But he seems almost too bulky. I actually think he was a better RB in 2010 over 2011 when he wasnt as big.

    I feel Richardson is a similar player to Ahmad Bradshaw and he was a 7th round pick. I just feel we can get a good talent at RB in the 2nd Round.

  41. mjmoody Says:

    There’s so many holes I just don’t see a bad pick at 5 (or trading down) but just to be devil’s advocate: Sticking with the run is a luxury teams with good defense are allotted. If down by 14 will Richardson still see the ball, or the field? How good is his pass pro? Did the Niners get deep into the playoffs on Smith’s arm or Gore’s legs? I only ask because I enjoy the debate.

  42. Jonny Says:

    Okay clowns, now tell me which possible 7th rounder in 2012 is going to be almost as good as Ahmad Bradshaw. There is so much hit and miss involved with late round RBs, for every guy that makes the roster, there are 3-4 backs that are cut/demoted to the practice squad. Passing on a talent like Richardson if he is the clear cut BPA at where we pick would be madness.

  43. deminion Says:

    i know this isnt the sexy pick but if kalil somehow falls to us u gotta take a hard look at him, i like claiborne but ive grown tired of trueblood

  44. Northend Says:

    Beef up 2/3 the secondary with free agency (Ross,grimes,rodgers,etc)draft claiborne,jenkins or dennard 1 of the 3 to put in with mack and biggers.get 1 new stud safety in leron landry to pair with tjax assante and grimes.get 1 new stud lb,and 1 solid vet lb (lofton,tulloch,beason, )pair with young drafted stud-brown,burfit,kuelchy and a solid not overpriced lineman and i think on d we are all set with 3-4 fa pick ups and draft picks

  45. jvato24 Says:

    Hey Jonny Clown … Do the math before you call people clowns .. Arian Foster lead the lague last year undrafted … Legarette Blount had over 1000 yards undrafted … Fred Jackson was on his way to 1000 yards this season before getting hurt.

    I dont think the Bucs should use a 7th on a RB just making a point there can be value in the later rounds for RB.

  46. BucFan20 Says:

    I am with you in a way but, the whole draft is one big crap shoot. Everyone keeps thinking draft this one or that one because he is a star. In college maybe but how many get to the NFL and are a bust. GMC can’t stay on the field and neither can Grimm. how many others have we drafted that were the next great star? Not easy to find the next Barber, Lynch, Sapp etc… So with you I look more to proven talent to help raise this ship to float and sail .again.

  47. Bobby Says:

    Look, I used to love the idea of Trent Richardson coming to the Bucs. However, let’s just look at the two teams in the Superbowl. Did any of them have a Drew Peterson like RB??? We have Blount. If we brought in Doug Martin as a complimentary back to him we would have a good tandem and we wouldn’t waste a #5 pick on a luxury that we really DON’T NEED. Good defense wins Super Bowls. Yes, you need a good offense too but if I remember correctly every TD scored was through the air.

  48. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ jvato24

    When the worst criticism you have is, “Compare his highlights to Adrian Peterson in college,” I’ll take that (no offense). Total packages like AD or Megatron are the only types of guys who are elite then I guess Trent doesn’t make the cut…

    However, Trent at least has elite traits (Terrell Davis-type vision, MJD/Ray Rice-type balance) that simply can’t be taught. Combine that with physical tools (375 power clean, 475 bench, 600 lb squat, 4.4 40 time), ability to be a playmaker in the pass & return game, and rushing production in an offense w/no QB against 8 in the box defenses I’d say he’s an elite guy.

    Was he too bulky? Probably. Is that an imminently fixable problem? Absolutely. Losing some mass/bulk did wonders for Montee Ball and I’m sure his agent is telling him that if he can bust out a 4.3 40 like AD he’ll be able to raise his stock even more.

  49. SensibleBuc Says:


    “Good defense wins Super Bowls.”

    So says the Giants’ 27th, the Patriots 31st, the Packers 32nd, and the Saints 24th ranked defenses.

  50. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ mjmoody

    Per BSPN Insider on Trent Richardson:

    “Shows good awareness in the passing game for a young player. Productive pass catcher early in career. Shows reliable hands as a receiver out of the backfield. Shows good burst up the field and has the straight-line speed to run away from defensive backs if he catches a crease with momentum. Has experience split out wide and working in the slot but is still developing his route running skills. Knows his assignments in pass pro and is more than willing to mix it up. Has his head on a swivel. Is aggressive when picking up the blitz. Does a nice job of staying low as a blocker and also mixes in occasional effective cut blocks.”

  51. SensibleBuc Says:


    “Sticking with the run is a luxury teams with good defense are allotted. If down by 14 will Richardson still see the ball, or the field?”

    To answer your question, yes. Unlike Blount Force Trent is fully functional in the passing game. We can actually throw screens and 5 step drops w/him in the game.

    Second, You’re asking the wrong question. A balanced offense (equally explosive in the run game and the pass game) will keep us in every game. The Saints offense is a prime example: #1 in passing yardage & #6 in rushing to make up for their crappy 24th ranked defense.

    The question you have to ask yourself is, which Buc unit is closer to being elite? Offense or defense? Which unit does the league favor in the rulebook?

  52. bucfat Says:

    we need so much work on our D.

  53. jvato24 Says:

    If we draft Richardson I wont complain as I like him as a Player and what he could do for the Bucs offense, I am just not sure it would be the best value.

    At the same time Im not sure how much better Claiborne or Blackmon is.

    If we end up with any 3 of those guys I feel we will be a better team.

  54. jvato24 Says:

    After watching Doug Martin play, I would be estatic to land him in the 2nd round if we dont get Richardson.

  55. Becks Says:

    We either draft Claiborne or Blackmon. Blount is a capable back, no need to go out in the first round and draft another one when we can get someone like LeMichael James in the 3rd to be our 3rd down/ pass receiving rb. also whats the point in drafting a rb with a top 5 pick if we cant stop the other team from scoring. If / When we are down 21 we wont be running it anyways…

    DRAFT MO!!!!!!!

  56. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ jvato24

    What’s the better value when they are drafted?

    1st Rd – Trent Richardson
    2nd Rd. – Minnifield/Gilmore (1st Rd talents) or Lavonte David


    1st Rd – Morris Claiborne
    2nd Rd – Doug Martin

    You know the right answer 🙂

  57. Bulldog Says:

    Standford Routt released by the other pirates..He worth a look ?

  58. jvato24 Says:


    I would be happy either way for the most part. To be honest it is very hard to evaluate CBs … When you watch a game on TV they arent even in the picture for the most part.

    I wish there was a place to watch coach film on NFL or college. WHy does that have to be hidden. I pay $300 for the ticket .. I should get to some coach film damnit .. haha

  59. Derek Says:

    lets hope jones wont be back he was pathetic last season and it was clear he gave up