Defense Could Use Depth

March 8th, 2021

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

While the Bucs just had one of if not the greatest defensive effort in Super Bowl history, that doesn’t mean the Bucs are absolutely loaded with talent.

Sure, the starters are excellent if the Bucs are able to bring back all of the free agents. But as Scott Smith of pointed out recently in a mailbag feature, the defense is thin once you get past starters.

For example, the defensive line really has no backups that could step up and start 16 games without a dropoff. Yeah, this Rakeem Nuñez-Roches, also a pending free agent, started most of the season when Vita Vea was injured, but his impact was limited. We saw in the final two games how Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul went wild when Vea returned.

If Suh leaves, Joe has already floated the name of Leonard Williams. And 35-year-old defensive tackle Steve McClendon (265 snaps in 2020) also is a free agent that may need to be replaced.

If Lavonte David takes the money and runs to another team, Joe hopes Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht goes after Missouri’s Nick Bolton.

And as Smith points out, the Bucs could also use another cornerback for depth.

So depending on how free agency shakes out, the Bucs could adding a bunch of new defenders by the time the draft ends.

14 Responses to “Defense Could Use Depth”

  1. Chris Thomas from Heaven Says:

    LSU LB Jabril Cox if Nick Bolton is gone. I’m sure Devin White wouldn’t mind that.

  2. windbaggery Says:

    Leonard Williams would be a nice addition, plus a DT pick in the first 3 rounds.

    Gotta have an edge rusher from the draft… And a backup MLB in the mid rounds. If we lose David, the MLB pick could be in the first 3 rounds.

  3. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Keep DLine and OLine built up. The Bucs are dominant on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Keep them both strong. GO BUCS!!!!

  4. Buczilla Says:

    Even if we resign Shaq we should be drafting an edge rusher this year and every year within the first four rounds until the end of time.

  5. MadMax Says:

    Just me…heres my draft board for the first round…

    Zaven Collins
    Pat Freiermuth
    Travis Etienne
    Jackson Carman

    we lose our 2nd rd pick in a trade up if we’re serious about Collins….then we land DT Darius Stills bottom of the 3rd.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    “The defense is thin once you get past starters.” Truer words were never spoken. But our starters stayed healthy for the most part all season & gave us beastly numbers in terms of not just ‘snaps’, but also ‘production’ while on the field. And especially in the playoffs.

    The Super Bowl is classic example of that. Our defense had 75 defensive plays. Look at the various position groupings & snaps per player:

    INTERIOR DLINE: Total – 141 def snaps (roughly equivalent to 2 players)
    o Vea … 31 def snaps
    o Suh … 48 def snaps
    o Gholston … 26 def snaps
    o McLendon … 23 def snaps
    o RNR … 13 def snaps

    OUTSIDE LBs: Total – 150 def snaps (equivalent to 2 players)
    o JPP … 67 def snaps
    o Shaq … 62 def snaps
    o Nelson … 18 def snaps
    o Gill … 3 def snaps

    INSIDE LBs: Total – 150 def snaps (equivalent to 2 players)
    o LVD … 75 def snaps
    o White … 75 def snaps

    Reality of our SB win IMO is that we got incredible pressure on Mahomes from our Front-6 (2 interior, 2 outside, 2 LBs) & pretty much had 5 Secondary players on the field the whole game (kinda like a 2-4-5?). Vea & Suh got enough breaks to stay fresh & kept the pressure on (kudos to Gholston, McLendon & RNR for that BTW) while JPP & Shaq stayed on the field a bunch (over 85%), and LVD & White (100%) never came off.

    The fact that our starters played like beasts continuously throughout the game is a testament to the individual players of course. But it’s much more than that IMO. Also a testament to how well Todd Bowles managed his players during the SB (and to the game-plan of course). And also a testament to our offense. They won the TOP, allowing our defense plenty of rest in-between series. No turnovers, thus keeping our defense from having to compensate in each series for lousy starting field position. And of course for scoring lots of points, limiting several of the Chiefs’ offensive options. COMPLEMENTARY FOOTBALL at its’ finest.

  7. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    @Defense Rules, its worth repeating: ““The defense is thin once you get past starters.” Truer words were never spoken”

    Joe had an article just a couple of days ago about “no obvious needs”. funny, but the first thing I thought of was the serious lack of depth in the D front 7, especially with so many FAs.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our obvious needs will be obvious after FA.

  9. PassingThru Says:

    Great in theory, but in actual practice where is the money coming from?

    The salary cap forces teams to construct teams with flaws. There are two ways to build around depth: 1. Build around positions with dollar constraints (starter plus backup dollars). That means you have to sacrifice some starter quality, like allowing certain quality free agents to walk. 2. Draft or sign around players with positional versatility, which means not getting the best LT, but someone who can play either G or T (or DT/OLB or X or Y WR but you ge the idea). That means accepting some compromise in not taking a player who is clearly better suited as a specialist.

    This team is realistically tapped out if they re-sign their top free agents. There isn’t money for that depth. Most cheap vets want to start, only the ancient hangers-on will settle for a depth role at the league minimum.

    My idea of depth is accepting the “built in obsolescence”. You do your best to develop around starters, then draft the best clay: Players who might be groomed into versatile roles. In this draft it means grabbing a developmental tackle who can play swing T, and might be able to replace Smith in a year. And a G with rough edges who can be developed into a C/G. I’d like to keep Smith and Jensen, but the money may not be there in a year. Grabbing a OT in the 2nd/3rd and a OG in the 3rd/4th. You get depth, you take what the draft is giving you (those are deep positions of talent in this draft), and you get potential cap flexibility later.

    In an ideal world, the first round pick will be someone who can replace either Shaq or JPP, or Shaq/David (depending on frame and talent) if either Shaq or David walk, and hope that the draftee is good enough clay to be molded into that versatility.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    @PassingThru: good take.

  11. Swampbuc Says:

    PassingThru nailed it.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    PassingThru … I wholeheartedly agree; excellent take. Love the term ‘built in obsolescence’.

  13. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    I like DT Christian Barrmore from Alabama for depth. Lb Bolton from Missouri would be a great pick.

    Kyle Trask QB Florida in the 2nd for depth.

  14. BuccoDav Says:

    Look at Joe lobbying for a LB… I thought LB’s were old school, not worth spending a 1st round pick on.