Going After A Defensive Linemen?

April 15th, 2014
Joe expects DL Will Gholston to play a key role this fall.

Joe expects DL Will Gholston to play a key role this fall.

Joe wonders how many Bucs fans were thrown out of bars across the Tampa Bay area when they hurled beer at TVs after watching opposing quarterbacks have so much time in the pocket to throw. These QBs could have clipped their toenails and not been sacked.

Poor Gerald McCoy. He may be the best defensive tackle in the game and he got absolutely scant help trying to breathe on a quarterback. So when Bucs coach Lovie Smith took over, he wasted scant minutes (seconds?) in beefing up the defensive line. As a result, Joe thinks the defensive line is just fine.

But in breaking down what the Bucs’ needs in the draft next month, Evan Silva doesn’t seem overly moved by Lovie’s moves on the defensive front. The Rotoworld.com NFL analyst believes the No. 3 need of the Bucs, behind wide receiver and guard, is still defensive line.

The Bucs’ defensive line improved in free agency, adding Michael Johnson to book end Adrian Clayborn, and ex-Seahawk Clinton McDonald to replace NT Akeem Spence next to Gerald McCoy in sub-packages. This team still needs one-gap penetrators and rotational edge rushers. Lovie’s pressure-oriented defenses have always been at their best with up-front depth at end and tackle.

Joe likes Silva’s work but he believes Silva may be overlooking one person, and that is Will Gholston. Not only is Gholston versatile in that he can play tackle or end, the few times Gholston was turned loose last year instead of playing “Ring Around the Rosie” with all the silly Billy Sheridan stunts, Gholston did well getting quarterbacks on the ground.

In addition, Gholston really improved, maybe more than any player on the Bucs roster from September to December. He started off inactive in early games, and before the end of the season, Gholston was playing regularly and starting.

Imagine how much more Gholston can improve with a coach like Lovie this season?

No, Joe thinks the defensive line will be fine. And don’t be surprised if Gholston plays a key role in the improvement of the pass rush.

27 Responses to “Going After A Defensive Linemen?”

  1. William Says:

    Agree. Gholston will make Joe praise on “Rockstar” Dominick again.

    Visiting offenses will stackup on Tight Ends when playing Tampa. Buccaneer Defense will rise again!

    Shaw is coming to Tampa.

  2. zam Says:

    shouldn’t QB on that list? Probably even #1?

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I could still see us picking defense at 7…..
    Clowney (not there)
    Mack (maybe not there)
    Barr (probably there)

    My choice is Sammy @ 7……if three other positon players & 3 qbs are chosen in the top 6…then he will be there.
    The position players are Clowney, Mack & Matthews or Robinson….the QBs would be Manziel, Bortles & Bridgewater…..we have two teams that may trade up for QB….Minn & Tenn.
    So….Sammy could be there!!!

  4. BucsfaninChina Says:

    The bucs really do need an every down 1 gap to play next to McCoy. Until there is an actual threat at the position and not a speeding pothead whose only benefit is to be the strongest player in the weight room, Gerald is gonna be seeing double teams. Really hope Gholston is that guy. Justin Ellis would also be a nice late round pickup for the one gap.

  5. Snook Says:

    Let’s not forget about Steven Means either. Joe Cullen mentioned his name in the recent video on the main site. Hopefully he can be another solid contributor on the line as an edge rusher. Sounds like Cullen is going to lean on rotating guys in and out. That drives competition.

  6. Captain Stagger Says:

    Donald….dark horse @ 7

  7. Macabee Says:

    I saw a mock yesterday for the first time with Aaron Donald taken in the top 5. With a draft so deep in WRs, if the top 6 teams decide to pick a QB later, I will be quite happy to see Donald in pewter or whatever color the new unis are!

  8. tmaxcon Says:

    Don’t be surprised if real coaching helps Steven Means too. Not saying he is the next Simeon rice but a rotating contributor is possible and exactly what they need. Lovie has had success with some smaller De.

  9. Matt Says:

    Gholston will surplant AC by mid-season. I dont think AC will ever be anything more than a solid rotational player after the knee injury and Erbs palsy condition. Gholstons problem at MSu was poor pad level and inconsistent effort. He got remarkably better as the season progressed with both. I was actually shocked at how quick he is and how fluid his hips are to be able to break down and tackle a smaller more athletic player.

    With Gholston and MJ huge wing spans those throwing lanes are really small now. It is no exaggeration to say Gholston has Pro Bowl potential (from a numbers stand point). MJ and GMAC will flush QBs out of the pocket and Gholston will be there to clean up.and put up the numbers (sacks and FF).

    I would like us to use our 1st and 2nd rounder on our oline and a WR but if they took a swing on Dominick EASLEY in the 3rd, I wouldn’t be upset. He has the quickest first step of any interior lineman since John Randle. Ugh, the 2 knee injuries bother me but he is born to play in Lovie’s defense.

    I just dont want the rich to get richer and EASLEY ends up with SF or SEA. Seattle was deep enough to draft Jesse Williams last year and let him heal for an entire year. He’s going to be a terror this year. So of course we buy McDonald (rotational player) at retail price and they will replace him with an equal or better player at wholesale price (same with SF and Goldson and Eric Reid).

    Who thought the NYG needed JPP when they drafted him?? We can never have too many rushers.

  10. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Donald plays same position as McCoy…

  11. bucrightoff Says:

    Wouldn’t mind trading back and getting Anthony Barr. A pure speed rusher would be nice.

  12. passthebuc Says:

    @Joe. Having been a very successful salesman and negotiator before retirement I have seen every tactic used to set up the next move. You are setting up one of your next columns to pray for Johnny. No wonder you can’t land a Rachael. But it is spring and hope springs eternal.

  13. Macabee Says:


    In the meet the coaches series on Buccaneer.com, D-Line coach, Joe Cullen gave a shout out to Steven Means and his ability to come off the edge. So, I would not be surprised!

  14. BucsfaninChina Says:

    @Matt I would LOVE the Bucs snagging Easley. Dude can play anywhere on the line and I have been more impressed with his tenacity and quickness every single play much more than Clowney. Two torn ACLs are scary, but I dont think there will be any rush in throwing him into action. I love this quote from him: “I mean, I tore my ACL in 2011, [and] I got faster in 2013. So when I get back from this ACL, it’s going to make me nothing but faster.” He will be a beast somewhere.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    You had a question the other day about how I thought Watkins would drop to us at 7…..I answered it above…..still not likely, but possible.

  16. Architek Says:

    The DLine will be solid with adding a DT and DE to the rotation. I am sure the Bucs are not done at all but I am even more critical of the offense right now because we removed the slow Mattress Giant and overhauled the overpaid/underwhelming OL.

    Taking Donald at #7 is a bold but risky move given other gaping holes we have. Now it would sweet if we trade down and get him while getting picks but while I am the cheerleader of the be patient club – we absolutely must nail the draft in order to solidify this hole riddled roster (thx Dominik).

    All I really know to be facts are the draft is loaded with WRs and you can get a qb outside the first round. That said, I am all for Donald or more DL help IF the holes are filled responsibly.

  17. tmaxcon Says:


    Yeah, I noticed that this morning. Sammy is my favorite player in the draft. I hope you are correct.

  18. MTM Says:

    The defense improved immediately when Sheridan/Schiano left the building and Lovie was hired. But shouldn’t QB be the # 1 priority in the draft.

  19. Couch Fan Says:

    Nope WR or OT should be.

  20. Tom Says:

    If the Bucs wanted a 1st round talent to add to the Dline, i’d like to see them trade back and scoop Timmy Jernigan. Arguably the best player on the NC team

  21. brandonbucfan Says:

    If Sammy isn’t there..trade down get another pick (rd3?) Take top WR on the board. Benjamin Cooks Lee will all be there. Depending on how the QB’s are falling take one with our No2 OR if we have to take our new extra pick and move up. Then take an OG (pleasse!!) in Rd3 and I will be a happy camper! Let’s hope L&L know how to maneuver in the draft!

  22. Vikinghorn-ey Says:

    It all starts with the OF & DF lines. Boring ? You can have all the star playmakers in the backfield, but it won’t make any difference without a line. Draft guards and pass rushers and throw in a WR in the 3rd.

  23. MegaDaveUK Says:

    Good point

  24. Gt40bear Says:

    Agree that D-Line is improved but you can’t ever have too many pass rushers…especially in the Florida heat.

  25. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    William… if Joe praises Rockstar for his savvy… should he hate Lovie and Licht for undoing every move the Rockstar made?

    If problems happen… will Joe them tear L and L a new one come this Fall?

  26. Bill Byrne Says:

    Offensive line and defensive line…then everything else will take care of itself. Good comments Joe!!!

  27. Phillip Says:

    GMC McDonald Donald all play the same exact 3 tech DT… I guess people don’t understand it really is mind boggling… Or hey we can bench MJ Gholston Clayborn Bowers Means Spence all because we want to have 3 of the same players…

    I’m not saying don’t grab another DT or DE just don’t do it in the 1st round when you need them to play this year(except QB I prefer the sit and wait approach).. Doesn’t represent “VALUE”