A new head coach and a top ten pick in the 2019 NFL Draft have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans excited for next season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are as perplexing of a team as there is in the NFL. They looked poised to make a playoff run with some defensive upgrades during the 2018 offseason. A solid showing in last year’s NFL Draft was supposed to set the team up to to compete with New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina in a tough NFC South. Adding Jason Pierre-Paul, Vita Vea, Ronald Jones, Carlton Davis, Beau Allen, and Ryan Jensen was supposed to bring toughness and a better front on both sides of the ball.
That did not happen. Instead Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games of the season. His backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick, played well enough in his absence that it brought questions to light whether Winston is the right quarterback for the long-term success of the franchise. Winston was the starter for nine of 16 games and appeared in 11 after battling some injuries.
Defensively the team struggled mightily. It is impressive how bad the defense had to be with an offense setting passing yardage records on the other side of the ball. Bad defense and turnovers from the quarterback is what failed this team. Ultimately it led to the firing of the coaching staff.
New coach Bruce Arians returns to the sidelines after sitting out a season. He is bringing a talented staff with him headlined by former New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator.
Dirk Koetter wasn’t the only person leaving the Buccaneers this offseason. Tampa Bay has to now make-up for the losses of linebacker Kwon Alexander, wide receivers Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson and back-up quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Free agency was active going both ways though. Tampa brought in former first round pick at receiver Breshad Perriman to give them a speed element after the loss of Jackson. Earl Watford was signed on the interior offensive line to provide some depth. Blaine Gabbert was brought in to replace Fitzpatrick backing up Winston. Finally Shaquile Barrett was the best acquisition, coming in to give them some pass rush off the edge.
Now they have to look toward the 2019 NFL draft and their fifth overall pick. This mock draft, done using The Draft Network’s mock draft machine and predictive big board, will show how they can capitalize on that pick to get back into the playoffs. There are no trades in this draft only the teams selecting in their respective slots.