As I wrote earlier in the week, D-line help and especially the DE position is the No. 1 need on the Bucs defense. A close second in terms of need is the DB position. The Bucs had trouble covering receivers one on one last year. Brent Grimes was the only DB that you would call a good cover guy. Grimes is 34 years old and is not sure he will be back to play for the Bucs in 2018. Grimes was by far and away the best DB on the team and it wasn’t even close.
Vernon Hargraves who was highly touted coming out of Florida, has been a major disappointment in his first two years. Hargraves was believed to be a Jalen Ramsey type player when he came out and his play cannot even compare to Ramsey’s. Hargraves was moved from the outside to the inside last year mid-way through the season because he struggled in his coverages.
This is the third year coming up for Hargreaves and this will be a make or break season for him. This is the time for Hargraves to step up and be the player the Bucs thought they were getting in 2016. If Grimes does not come back that will put more pressure on Hargraves.
There a couple of DB’s the Bucs could take with that 7th pick. The best on the board is Minkah Fitzpatrick out of Alabama. Fitzpatrick is 6’1 202 and has the ability to play anywhere in the backfield similar to Jalen Ramsey of Jacksonville. Fitzpatrick is most comfortable at free safety, but the Bucs could use a player of his skill set anywhere in the defensive backfield.
Fitzpatrick is an excellant cover guy and very seldom will a receiver get behind him. His one liability is his tackling. He is not a very strong tackler and poor tackling was a problem on the Bucs defense last season.
Derwin James of Florida State is another safety the Bucs could target at No 7. James is a strong defender in the box, but has limitations as a cover guy. Can play man coverage against TE’s, but struggles covering slot receivers consistently.
Josh Jackson of Iowa is the top rated corner in the draft. It would be somewhat
a reach to take him in the top 10, but all Jackson did in 2017 was make plays. Eight picks on the season, three of those in the biggest game of the season against Ohio State. Eighteen passes broken up and 48 tackles. Jackson has decent speed and is a very athletic corner.
As the draft gets closer, I believe Jackson’s stock will rise and he could slide into the top 10. If the Bucs are going with a DB in the first round, a play maker like Josh Jackson should help the defense get back to respectability in 2018.
The Bucs most pressing needs are on defense, that is why I think this draft has to defense have for the Bucs. OL and RB are also positions of need for the Bucs on the offensive side of the ball and coming up I will look at some offensive lineman the Bucs could target in the draft.