Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ranking the Team's Biggest Needs

Caleb AbnerContributor IIIDecember 27, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:   Eric Wright #21 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs from Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are out of the playoff hunt, which means it is time to start looking toward the offseason. 

It's time to predict what roster changes the Bucs will make.

Last offseason, Tampa went big in both free agency and the draft, inking 2012 stars Vincent Jackson, Mark Barron, Doug Martin, Lavonte David and Carl Nicks before we even hit the summer.

In the hope that the club will repeat its willingness to open the bank account this year, we have ranked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' biggest positional needs for the offseason. 


1. Cornerback

This one is a no-brainer. 

Since Aqib Talib has been shipped away to New England and free-agent signee Eric Wright hasn't really excelled in his short time in Tampa, the team must be on the lookout for cornerback talent.

Seriously, we're talking about the NFL's 32nd-ranked pass defense. 


2. Pass-rushing defensive end

The Bucs don't have much of a pass rush, unless you're impressed with the league's third-lowest sack total.

To fix this problem, the club should add a defensive end who specializes in rushing the quarterback. 

More pressure on opponents means less time for receivers to get open. The run defense is so strong as is that the Bucs do not need to worry about the prospective pass-rusher's possible one-dimensionality. 


3. Offensive tackle

The offensive line should be great. Entering the preseason, the starting lineup consisted of LT Donald Penn, LG Carl Nicks, C Jeremy Zuttah, RG Davin Joseph and RT Jeremy Trueblood, with the only weak spot being the right tackle.

Well, since then, they've lost former Pro Bowlers Nicks and Joseph to injury, and Trueblood has been benched in favor of Demar Dotson.

This leaves Penn and Zuttah as the only remaining starters.

Once everyone gets healthy, the talent is there, except at right tackle. The Bucs could move Penn, whose season has been very hot and cold, to the right side and replace him with a more consistent LT. Another option would be to leave him be and add a more experienced RT than what they currently have in Dotson.

Either way, the tackle position has to be addressed.