Deez Bucs 2023 Off-Season Battle Plan23 min read
WELCOME TO A NEW ERA OF BUCS FOOTBALL!
That’s what this is. A new era. The next chapter in the franchise’s history. Tom Brady has officially retired “for good” this time. They have a new offensive coordinator in Dave Canales. A new offensive system is coming in. The team is moving on from some players and going all in on others. It’s an exciting and frightening time for Bucs fans. We don’t know what to expect from this off-season or the upcoming regular season. For the first time in a few years, this team is surrounded by question marks. No high expectations. No Super Bowl aspirations. Just questions. Can the Bucs overcome their salary cap situation and put together a competitive roster? What will the new offense look like? Will Kyle Trask be the starting quarterback? Can Todd Bowles finally succeed as a head coach? We will have to wait a while for the answers to most of those questions. As for right now, all we can do is speculate and make educated guesses. That’s what building an off-season battle plan is all about. Maybe not necessarily trying to figure out what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to do, but more so the steps that I would take to improve the team if I was the general manager.
It’s that time of year. The NFL Combine just took place in Indianapolis. NFL free agency starts next week. The NFL Draft is right around the corner. But before all of that stuff starts, the battle plans have to be released. This is mine. I’ll sift through the Bucs salary cap situation, how they can improve it, which of their free agents should be brought back, which free agents should be brought in and who I would draft in April. I want to preclude this by stating that I’m not a salary cap expert. I don’t know all the ins and outs of the salary cap or all the different ways to manipulate the numbers. In fact, I’m terrible at math altogether. So when I start talking numbers, they’re going to be simple round numbers that are easy to calculate and wrap our heads around. I’m sure there will be many different ways the Bucs can manipulate their cap number, but this is my battle plan, so my numbers are what they are. With that being said, let’s get started.
BUCCANEERS SALARY CAP NUMBERS
When Tom Brady officially filing his retirement papers with the NFL already, the Buccaneers will now be forced to take on the full $35 million of his remaining contract this year instead of spreading it out over the next two years. That means they are around $57 million OVER the cap, depending on which website you use ($57.2 million according to Spotrac.com or $56.5 million according to OverTheCap.com). For the sake of this battle plan, I’m just going with the $57 million number to make it nice and even. Tampa Bay has a lot of work to do to not just get under the salary cap, but to give themselves some room to make moves in free agency as well. That process has already started with them making the public statement that they will be releasing running back Leonard Fournette, tight end Cam Brate and left tackle Donovan Smith. Those weren’t surprise moves. But it is the first of many that the Bucs will have to make to get cap compliant. There are many ways NFL teams can improve their salary cap numbers. Releasing players is a start. They can restructure contracts. They can extend contracts. I’m doing it all in this battle plan. The Bucs will have to do the same. Maybe they won’t to the extent that I am, but they will definitely have to do a ton of creative work to get themselves cap compliant and give themselves some spending money for free agency.
BUCCANEERS PLAYER RELEASES
It’s already been announced. It’s happening. Leonard Fournette is going to be released by the Buccaneers by the start of free agency. After they finished in the bottom of the league in rushing and he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry for the season, it was inevitable. With the emergence of rookie Rachaad White and the $3.5 million savings in salary cap, it’s a no-brainer decision for me and for the Bucs.
He had his worst season as a pro in 2022, finishing ranked as the 68th ranked tackle in the league according to ProFootballFocus.com. He had the second most penalties by any offensive lineman with 12 for 100 yards and he finished with the most yards nullified by penalties in the entire league (111 yards). The next closest was 94 yards by the Seahawks Abraham Lucas. Smith’s release would free up almost $10 million in cap space right now. If they put him in as a June 1 designation, it would save them over $15 million. It also creates an opening at one of the most important positions on their team. My solution to that, would be to move the young Pro Bowler Tristan Wirfs from right tackle to left tackle. The new void at right tackle would be filled by 2022 rookie Luke Goedeke, who struggled heavily with his transition from right tackle, where he played in college, to left guard. Moving him back to his old college position would benefit him and the team next season. He got the start at right tackle when Wirfs was injured in Week 18 versus Atlanta and ended up earning his highest rating of the season from PFF (ProFootballFocus). With Smith’s inconsistent performances over the years and the cap savings, this move is also a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.
Even though he was almost automatic from inside of 50 yards, he was just 2 of 7 from 50+ yards in 2022. Todd Bowles has already made the statement that the Bucs need to be better scoring points from beyond 50 yards in 2023, so the writing may be on the wall for Succop. His release saves the team $3.75 million in cap space, so in my battle plan, he’s gone.
As I’m literally writing this battle plan up, the Bucs released Cam Brate, who was the second longest tenured player on their roster. After missing 7 games in 2022 with concussion issues and taking pay cuts in each of the last three seasons just to stick around in Tampa, Brate’s value to the franchise just doesn’t match the hit to their salary cap. The emergence of 2022 rookie tight end Cade Otton makes this decision a bit easier for Tampa Bay and for me. They save $2 million by releasing him now. With a June 1 designation, the number would be closer to $4 million.
TOTAL POTENTIAL SAVINGS : $19.25 million ($28 million with June 1 designations)
The difference between contract restructures and contract extensions is simple. Restructures change the way a current contract is paid out, while an extension is when a team adds years and money on to an existing contract. Both are useful ways for teams to create cap space where there was none. The Bucs will have to do that with as many players that are willing to do so in order to create enough cap space to make any moves this off-season. Luckily for them, they have plenty of candidates to choose from on their roster. The numbers I’m using for this section are numbers that I’ve seen from other writers and salary cap analysts when talking about how Tampa Bay can create some cap savings. It’s unlikely the Bucs will make all of these moves, but for my battle plan, it’s all happening.
Mike Evans (restructure)
Evans has worked with the Bucs in the past restructuring his contract to free up cap space, so I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t do it again. He’s set to make a base salary of $13 million in 2023 with a dead money hit of about $23 million. Another restructure could potentially free up about $9 million in 2023 cap space, so that’s what we’re doing here.
Carlton Davis III (extension)
Davis is the only starting cornerback on the roster right now, with Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting becoming free agents. He’s due just over $18 million for 2023 with a dead money hit of $15.7 million. With just two years left on this contract, the Bucs could give him an extension through 2026, which could potentially free up another $10 million for 2023.
Russell Gage (restructure)
I was going to release Gage until I saw the Bucs new offensive coordinator’s press conference. He seems to like Gage and thinks he will thrive in the new offense. So, I’ve decided to do a restructure instead. He’s set to make just over $12 million for 2023 and 2024 with a dead money hit of almost $9.5 million this year. A restructure of the next two years could potentially free up about $4.5 million for 2023.
Shaq Barrett (restructure)
There’s a big question mark surrounding Barrett this year. He’s 31-years old coming of a significant Achilles injury, so there’s a possibility of him being less effective when he comes back. He’s due to make over $21 million this year with a dead money hit of nearly $23 million. Next year, he’s set to make $23.6 million with a dead money hit of just over $16 million. A simple restructure could save about $6.5 million in cap space for 2023, even if it does push a little bit of money down the road.
Vita Vea (restructure)
Even though he just signed a 4 yr/$71 million extension last year, the Bucs could still restructure his contract, if he’s willing to do so. He’s got a HUGE cap hit of $15.6 million for 2023 with a dead money hit of $22.6 million. A restructure would add more dead money over 2024, 2025 and 2026, but it could free up almosy $9 million in cap space for this year.
Ryan Jensen (restructure)
Jensen is under contract through 2024, with 2025 and 2026 being voidable years. He’s due to make $15 million in 2023, with a dead money hit of $19 million. He’s also going to make $15 million for 2024, but the dead money isn’t as bad at just $7.5 million. A restructuring of his current contract could free up about $5.5 million for this season.
Chris Godwin (restructure)
This one has to happen. Godwin is due to make $23.75 million for 2023 with a dead money hit of a whopping $35 million. He’s under contract through 2026, but those last two years (2025/26) are voidable years. A restructure would allow the Buccaneers to free up about $14 million for this year, which is badly needed.
Devin White (extension)
The Bucs exercised White’s fifth year option of his rookie contract, which will pay him $11.7 million for 2023. If they replace that with a new contract extension, it could free up anywhere from $2.2 million to around $10 million in 2023 cap space.
All of the moves I’ve made here results in the Bucs creating about $88 million in cap space. If you subtract the $57 million they were already over, they’re left with about $30 million in cap space to work with in free agency.
BUCCANEERS FREE AGENTS
Lavonte David : Re-sign to a 2-yr/$15M deal
Both the Buccaneers and David have mutual interest in getting a deal done that will keep him in Tampa Bay to finish out his career. However, after making nearly $15 million in 2022, he’ll certainly have to take a substantial pay cut in order to do so. If he doesn’t re-sign, then he counts for about $11.5 million in dead money over the next three seasons. A new contract could lessen his 2023 dead cap hit from $6.9 million to just $2.3 million, a savings of $4.6 million this year. At 33-years old, he probably only has one or two years left in him, so a 2-year deal would be mutually beneficial for both of them.
Will Gholston : Re-sign to a 2-yr/$6.5M deal
Gholston carries a dead cap hit of $2.4 million going into 2023. He made $4.5 million in 2022, so he’s going to have to take a pay cut if he wants to stay in Tampa. If he would agree to re-signing for $3 million, then his 2023 cap hit would be about $3.6 million, which is only $1.2 million more than his dead cap hit if he doesn’t play.
Rakeem Nunez-Roches : Re-sign to a 2-yr/$7M deal
He made about $3.25 million for 2022, but I’m not sure the Bucs could afford any more than that for him this year. At 29-years old, he could be a candidate for a multi-year deal, which could help the Bucs kick a little money down the road with bonuses.
Carl Nassib : Re-sign to a 1-yr/$2M deal
I’d really like to re-sign Anthony Nelson, but I think some other team will offer him more money than the Bucs will be able to and he’ll be gone in free agency. Nassib is a pretty good consolation prize. In 2022, he played in 13 games and finished with 23 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 6 QB hits and 3 passes defensed. He made about $1.5 million last season, so giving him a decent little pay bump to $2 million might keep him in Tampa for another season.
Sean Murphy-Bunting : Re-sign to a 3-yr/$12M deal
The Bucs only have two cornerbacks currently under contract for 2023 in Carlton Davis III and Zyon McCollum. Two of their top three corners are becoming free agents in Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting. They can only afford to re-sign one of them and Dean will probably be out of their budget anyway. I would try to re-sign SMB to a sensible contract, if he would agree to it. After making just under $900K in each of his first four seasons, $4 million a year sounds like a nice pay raise to me. We’ll see if SMB agrees.
Mike Edwards : Re-sign to a 3-yr/$10M deal
The Buccaneers only have two safeties under contract right now in Antoine Winfield Jr. and Nolan Turner. With Edwards, Keanu Neal and Logan Ryan all hitting free agency, the Bucs won’t be able to bring all of them back. However, they should be able to re-sign two of the three. They may let Edwards test his free agent market, but he may not like what he finds. Even after making $2.75 million in 2022, getting a pay raise to about $3.5 million a year wouldn’t be too bad. He comes back to Tampa Bay to take his rightful place next to Winfield for the next few years on a multi-year deal.
Keanu Neal : Re-sign to a 1-yr/$1.5M deal
He made about $1.25 million last season on a one year deal, so I’m giving him enough of a pay bump to $1.5 million, which should keep him here in Tampa where he’s finally found a home in Todd Bowles system.
Pat O’Connor : Re-sign to a 1-yr/$1.5M deal
He’s been in Tampa Bay for 5 seasons where he’s been productive in the Bucs d-line rotation and a valuable special teamer, so it makes sense to bring him back. A league minimum deal for $1.2 million should keep him around.
Nick Leverett : Re-sign to a 1-yr/$1M deal
He ended up taking over the starting left guard spot from rookie Luke Goedeke last season and will likely be in the competition for it again next year.
Dee Delaney : Re-sign to a 1-yr/$1M deal
With the Bucs lack of depth at cornerback right now, it would make sense to bring him back on a league minimum deal.
Gabbert served his purpose here in Tampa Bay teaching Bruce Arians sytem to Tom Brady. Now that Brady is gone and a new offensive system is coming in, his services are no longer needed.
Even though he signed with the Bucs for the league minimum last year, I don’t see it happening again. At 32-years old, he’s the oldest of the Buccaneers safeties and the least likely to return of their three free agents safeties.
As much as I’d love for Dean to stay in Tampa, I just don’t see them being able to afford him at $15+ million a year. Especially with them already paying Carlton Davis III that kind of money.
As much as I’d like to bring “Nelly” back, I think he’ll leave for greener pastures in free agency.
I’m letting him go into free agency as of right now, but if he’s still available come training camp, he’s a guy that I would bring back to compete for a roster spot.
Rumor is that he wasn’t going to make the roster last season, but he ended up getting hurt and missing the season anyway. At this point, I’m moving on from Stinnie.
I’ve been trying to get rid of Wells for years in my battle plans, but the Bucs keep him around for some reason. I think this is the year he’s finally gone.
I love me some Scotty Miller, but his time in Tampa Bay is coming to an end. Some team, somewhere that needs a speedy wide receiver will pay him and he’ll be on his way out of town.
Rudolph was probably the most disappointing free agent signing for the Bucs last season. He only played in 9 games and had 3 catches on 5 targets in 2022, so I don’t see a reason to re-sign him.
He just didn’t have the production that was needed out of the backup pass rusher position. The Bucs can probably find someone better in the draft to slip into that rotation.
He’s been in Tampa for two seasons, but he only played in 8 games and had 8 carries for 28 yards in those games. It’s pretty safe to say that his time here is done.
He’s also spent the last two seasons in Tampa Bay, but he’s only played in 17 games total. The Buccaneers will be looking to get younger with their wide receiver group, so I don’t see him returning, unless they have a couple of injuries early on.
The Buccaneers thought that he was healthy and ready to go when they signed him last off-season, but apparently he wasn’t. He missed 7 games due to injury in 2022, and I don’t see any reason the Bucs would bring the 34-year old receiver back.
Like many of the Bucs free agent signings last season, Hicks missed a bunch of games due to injuries in 2022. He played last year for $4.9 million and has a market price of about $5.5 million going into free agency. At 33-years old, I don’t see the Bucs paying him that kind of money when they could find someone younger and cheaper.
Cam Gill (restricted)
He’s another guy I’ll let hit free agency, but if he’s available at the beginning of training camp, I’ll bring him back in to compete for a spot.
AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
QB Jacoby Brissett : Sign to a 1-yr/$5M deal
Jason Licht and Todd Bowles have both said that Kyle Trask is the man for next season, as of right now. However, they will sign a veteran free agent who can compete with him for that starting job. Brissett makes sense here because his market value heading into free agency is only about $5.5 million, which the Bucs can afford, and he’s a quarterback with a similar style to Seattle’s Geno Hayes. The Buccaneers new offensive coordinator Dave Canales did wonders for Hayes in Seattle, so he might be able to do the same for the journeyman Brissett.
QB Drew Lock : Sign to a 1-yr/$1.5M deal
It’s likely the Bucs would bring in two new quarterbacks to fill up that room for training camp, so why not bring in a guy that already knows the system in and out. Lock was the backup QB in Seattle and worked with Dave Canales last year, so he could take on Blaine Gabbert’s role as the teacher in that room. He played last year for $1.45 million, so if the Bucs can get him to come to Tampa for $1.5 million to reunite with his old coach, then it’s a win-win for everyone.
RB Rashaad Penny : Sign to a 1-yr/$1.5M deal
Penny spent 5 seasons in Seattle, playing in just 42 games in five years. Even though he’s battled injuries for most of his career, he has been effective when healthy averaging over 5 yards per carry. He made about $5.2 million last season in Seattle, but he won’t get anything close to that in free agency. If he’ll come down to Tampa and reunite with his former coach Dave Canales for about $1.5 million, then I’ll bring him in to add some veteran leadership in the Bucs young running back room.
DE Dante Fowler Jr. : Sign to a 1-yr/$4M deal
The Buccaneers pass rush last season was lacking, especially after Shaq Barrett went down with his achilles injury. After letting Anthony Nelson go in free agency, Tampa Bay needs to replace him with something better. Even though Fowler has played for four different teams over his 7 year career, he’s also had 221 tackles, 41 sacks, 68 QB hits and 51 tackles for loss, while missing just 5 games. He made just under $3 million last season with the Cowboys and his “market value” according to Spotrac.com is about $7 million, but if he’ll come to Tampa for a little less money then I’ll take him.
ILB Deion Jones : Sign to a 1-yr/$2.5M deal
One of the positions the Bucs need to address this off-season is inside linebacker. I already re-signed Lavonte David, but the depth behind him and Devin White just isn’t there. Right now, if one of those two goes down with an injury, they’re looking at either KJ Britt or JJ Russell coming in to replace them. That won’t cut it. They need a solid veteran as a reserve. Jones is that guy. He spent the first 6 years of his 7 year career in Atlanta and 2022 with the Browns. He’s played all three linebacker positions and totaled nearly 700 tackles, 46 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 23 QB hits in that time. He made about $1.3 million last year in Cleveland, so if I can bring him in here for about $2 million, then I will gladly give him a little pay bump to have that kind of insurance policy at linebacker.
TE Josh Oliver : Sign to a 1-yr/$2.5M deal
After the release of Cameron Brate and not re-signing Kyle Rudolph, the Bucs could use a veteran addition to their tight end room. Oliver was a third round pick by the Jaguars in 2019 where he played two seasons before being traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2021. He’s primarily a blocking tight end, but he saw a little bigger role in the Ravens passing game last season, finishing with 14 catches for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the offense that Dave Canales is bringing in, the Bucs will be in “12-personnel” (2-tight end set) quite a bit. Adding another veteran, blocking tight end to the group would be smart this off-season, even if they are planning to draft one in April. He just finished up his rookie contract, so hopefully I can lure him to Tampa with a $2.5 million “prove it” deal.
Rd.1 Pk.19 : ***TRADE ALERT***
Like Jason Licht, I want more picks in this draft, so I’m looking to trade this 19th pick. The Kansas City Chiefs answer the call and agree to give us their 31st pick of the first round, their 63rd pick of the second round AND their 226th pick of the seventh round.
Rd.1 Pk.31 (from Chiefs) : WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
Career stats: 48 games, 200 catches, 3,056 yards, 29 td’s, 15.3 ypc
The Buccaneers offense hasn’t been the same since 2021 when Antonio Brown walked out of the Jets stadium mid-game. They’ve been missing that quick twitch slot guy to go along with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Flowers is that guy. TheDraftNetwork.com calls him an “explosive and dynamic threat that generates big plays“. He’s an outstanding route runner that uses changes in speed and tempo to confuse defenders. Once the ball is in his hands, watch out! His run-after-catch is impressive using a variety of video game-like moves to evade tacklers. He’s just the type of player that could give the Buccaneers offense a much needed boost. Some experts have given him a player comparison to the Seahawks Tyler Lockett, who played for the Bucs new offensive coordinator Dave Canales in Seattle.
Rd.2 Pk.50 : ***TRADE ALERT***
The Bucs have a ton of holes to fill on their roster, so another trade here would net them some more picks in this draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who move up six spots by give the Bucs their 56th pick, their 120th pick in the fourth round and their 200th pick in the sixth round. Tampa Bay replaces the fourth round pick that they were missing and now have 12 picks in this draft.
Rd.2 Pk.56 (from Jax) : TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
2022 stats: 15 games, 28 rec, 454 yds, 2 td’s, 16.2 ypc
The Buccaneers new offense under Dave Canales will be running more “12-personnel” (2-tight end sets) than they did in their old offense. After releasing Cameron Brate and not re-signing Kyle Rudolph, they now have second year players Cade Otton and Ko Kieft, along with newly signed free agent Josh Oliver on the roster. No doubt the Bucs will carry four tight ends this season, so they’ll need to add another guy in the draft. Why not grab one of the best dual-threat tight ends available? Washington comes from the best college program in the country and he killed it at the NFL Combine running a 4.6 forty, while showing off some great hands and some nasty blocking on the sled. He’s already an expericed blocker and an under-rated pass catcher. Pairing him up with Otton gives the new Buccaneers offense bookend dual-threat tight ends, which could give Canales’ playbook endless possibilities.
Rd.2 Pk.63 (from Chiefs) : OLB Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State
2022 stats: 14 games, 46 tackles, 11 tfl’s, 8.5 sacks, 9 QB hits, 2 ff’s
With question marks surrounding Shaq Barrett’s return from his achilles injury and the final verdict still out on Joe Tryon’s potential, the Bucs pass rush could use an injection of young talent. The addition of Anudike-Uzomah does just that. He’s a versatile pass rusher that can play on the edge as an outside linebacker or he can slide inside and rush from the 3-4 defensive end position. He’s a freakish athlete, with great functional strength and a relentless motor. The Bucs situation is perfect for him. Adding him to the pass rush rotation would allow him to develop into the eventual replacement to Barrett as the starter.
Rd.3 Pk.82 : CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
2022 stats: 14 games, 45 tackles, 3.5 tfl’s, 4 int’s, 4 pd’s
Losing Jamel Dean in free agency hurt, so the Bucs need to find a corner in this draft to compete for the other starting job opposite Carlton Davis III. Brents’ size and length is a problem for receivers. His physicality at the line of scrimmage is disruptive. He can play press-man or zone and he’s a sure tackler from that cornerback position. The best case scenario is that he earns that starting role and allows Sean Murphy-Bunting to return to his slot-corner position. Worst case, he adds some much needed depth at corner behind Davis and Murphy-Bunting.
Rd.4 Pk.120 (from Jax) : ILB Dee Winters, Texas Christian
2022 stats: 15 games, 79 tackles, 14.5 tfl’s, 7.5 sacks, 7 pd’s, 1 int
He’s a versatile player that moved from safety to linebacker and flourished at TCU. He was a team captain and he’s a high character and leadership guy, which the Bucs always like. He has solid instincts and was a productive tackler. His best abilities, as a linebacker, is probably his blitzing and his coverage. He has the speed, athleticism and quickness to play the “money-backer” position in Todd Bowles defense, which would free up Antoine Winfield Jr. to play more of his free safety position.
Rd.5 Pk.153 : OL Richard Gouraige, Florida
I need to add to the offensive line depth in this draft because I couldn’t afford to do so in free agency. Gouraige offers position flexibility across the line at all four positions. He’s got the length to play tackle and the mass to play guard. He’s highly effective as both a run blocker and pass protector. The versatility to play guard AND tackle is appealing to me and will add solid depth to the Bucs o-line.
Rd.5 Pk.174 : RB Camerun Peoples, Appalachian State
2022 stats: 9 games, 593 ru. yds, 5 td’s, 5.9 ypc
After releasing Leonard Fournette and not re-signing Giovani Bernard, the Bucs still need to add another player to the room, despite signing Rashaad Penny in free agency. I was looking for a bigger, bruising back that would compliment the other backs in the Tampa Bay backfield. Rachaad White is 6’/215lbs. Ke’Shawn Vaughn is 5’10″/215lbs. And Rashaad Penny is 5’11″/220lbs. At 6’2″/220lbs, Peoples is a little bigger than the others with a different running style. He has excellent vision, balance and patience while running the football. Adding him to this new Buccaneers running back room would really round this group out well and give new offensive coordinator Dave Canales a nice selection of solid backs to choose from next season.
Rd.6 Pk.179 : DE Yaya Diaby, Louisville
2022 stats: 13 games, 37 tackles, 14 tfl’s, 9 sacks
I’m continuing to rebuild that Buccaneers defensive line into something that should be feared around the league. Diaby has the size and athleticism to add some versatility to the inside of that line and his natural upper-body strength allows him to utilize speed-to-power moves as a pass rusher. He has strong, heavy hands that are disruptive against offensive linemen. Although he’s still growing as a pass rusher and run defender, his potential as both is through the roof. Adding him to the interior d-line rotation would help solidify the Bucs defensive front.
Rd.6 Pk.194 : S Trey Dean III, Florida
2022 stats: 12 games, 81 tackles, 4.5 tfl’s, 4 pd’s
Dean was a versatile defensive back at Florida, starting his college career at cornerback and transitioning to safety. He’s another guy that could fill in at that “money-backer” position in Bowles defense with his ability to play the run as well as cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. He’s a physical tackler that will lay the wood on opposing ball carriers. He would add nice depth to the Bucs safety room, as well as their special teams unit.
Rd.6 Pk.200 (from Jax) : WR Justin Shorter, Florida
2022 stats: 9 games, 29 rec, 577 yds, 2 td’s, 19.9 ypc
The Bucs got their new speed receiver in the first round with Zay Flowers, so now it’s time to add some size to that group. Currently, Mike Evans is the only receiver on the roster that’s over 6’1″ tall. Shorter is 6’4″ with a HUGE catch radius. He’s not a polished route runner, but he’s a smooth runner with good speed. His big frame and 35″ vertical give him an advantage in 50/50 jump balls and make him a formidable redzone target. With Evans being 6’5″, it gives the Bucs new offensive coordinator Dave Canales two big receivers to play around with in the redzone where Tampa Bay struggled last season.
Rd.7 Pk.253 : OT Javon Foster, Missouri
With the Bucs solidifying their starting tackle positions, they need to add some depth now. Adding a big bruiser like Foster will help. His draft profile on TheDraftNetwork.com says that he’s an “impact blocker” with good power, functional strength and a solid anchor. He has heavy, violent hands with vice-like grip strength, so once he gets his hands on a defender, it’s usually game over. He’s an aggressive blocker with a finisher’s mentality and he adds some versatility playing both tackle positions at Missouri.
Rd.7 Pk.226 (from Chiefs) : NT Keondre Coburn, Texas
2022 stats: 13 games, 29 tackles, 4 tfl’s, 2.5 sacks, 2 ff’s
I’m using this extra seventh round pick from the Chiefs to add some beef to the d-line. Literally. At 6’2″/350lbs, Coburn is a big hunk of beef with the unusual combination of strength and power and a quick first step. He’s an absolute run-stuffer in the middle of the defense and he can be disruptive with his pass rush. His size and strength, combined with a high effort/non-stop motor should be appealing to the Bucs who lack size on their interior d-line.
FINAL DRAFT RESULTS
Round 1 – WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
Round 2 – TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
Round 2 – DE/OLB Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State
Round 3 – CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
Round 4 – ILB Dee Winters, Texas Christian
Round 5 – OL Richard Gouraige, Florida
Round 5 – RB Camerun Peoples
Round 6 – DE Yaya Diaby, Louisville
Round 6 – S Trey Dean, Florida
Round 6 – WR Justin Shorter, Florida
Round 7 – OT Javon Foster, Missouri
Round 7 – NT Keondre Coburn, Texas
PROJECTED 53-MAN ROSTER
QB- Kyle Trask, Jacoby Brissett, Drew Lock
RB- Rachaad White, Rashaad Penny, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Camerun Peoples (R)
WR- Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Zay Flowers (R), Devin Thompkins, Justin Shorter (R)
TE- Cade Otton, Ko Kieft, Josh Oliver, Darnell Washington (R)
OT- Tristan Wirfs, Luke Goedeke, Brandon Walton, Javon Foster (R), Richard Gouraige (R)
G/C- Ryan Jensen, Shaq Mason, Nick Leverett, Robert Hainsey, John Molchon
DL- Vita Vea, Will Gholston, Logan Hall, Raheem Nunez-Roches, Yaya Diaby (R), Keondre Coburn (R)
OLB- Shaq Barrett, Joe Tryon, Carl Nassib, Dante Fowler Jr, Felix Anudike-Uzomah (R)
ILB- Lavonte David, Devin White, Deion Jones, Dee Winters (R)
CB- Carlton Davis III, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Zyon McCollum, Justin Brents (R), Dee Delaney
S- Antoine Winfield Jr, Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal, Trey Dean III (R)
ST- Jake Camarda, Zach Triner, Jake Verity