2023 NFL Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The biggest question in Tampa Bay is obviously whether or not quarterback Tom Brady will return for his 82nd season under center. If he leaves for another team in free agency or finally retires, the Bucs will have a huge void at quarterback. But this is a team with a lot of talent, and I can’t see them tearing it all the way down just yet. I believe Tom will move on and the Bucs will push for their new quarterback in free agency, choosing to spend their draft capital on building around their core.
Top Draft Needs: OT, EDGE, CB
For starters, let’s protect this new quarterback. While Tristan Wirfs is a stud at right tackle, the left side is in need of an upgrade. Donovan Smith is just not very good. Smith had 12 penalties this year, second most in the NFL, as he attempts to stay competitive in matchups where he’s clearly overmatched.
Outside of that, I believe the Bucs should and will focus their efforts on the defensive side of the ball. The secondary is likely to be decimated by free agency departures. Cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are set to be free agents, as well as safeties Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal, and Logan Ryan. Both Dean and Edwards would be big losses, but even if they are able to bring them back, the Bucs need to invest in secondary depth.
Tampa Bay should also look to draft another EDGE. Shaq Barrett is 30, coming off a torn Achilles, and could miss the start of camp. On top of that, Anthony Nelson and Carl Nassib could also depart in free agency. Keep an eye on an off-ball linebacker too. Lavonte David has been one of the best to do it in this generation, but is 33 years old and set for free agency. I believe the Bucs will retain his services, but they could look for David’s eventual successor in April.