A look at the Buccaneers heading into the 2011 NFL Draft; Tampa Bay has the 20th pick in the first round.


Record – 10-6, in a season where they started strong at 3-1 and finished with a 3-1 record over the last quarter of the season. In beaten, they were 4-4.

Finish – they were third in the NFC South, finishing 3 games behind Atlanta.

Playoffs – tied with the Giants as the teams with the best regular season records that did not make the ’10 playoffs. Last time they were in the post-season was 2007 and it goes back to Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season since they won a game in the playoffs. They beat the Raiders in that game 48-21.


Offense – averaged 335.1 yards per game; that ranked them No. 19 among NFL offenses. The Bucs scored 35 offensive touchdowns, topped by rookie WR Mike Williams with 11 scoring catches. Rookie LeGarrette Blount led the team in rushing with 1,007 yards on 201 carries and six TD runs. TE Kellen Winslow Jr. caught more passes than anyone with 66 for 730 yards. Williams had 964 receiving yards on 65 catches and those 11 TDs. QB Josh Freeman had 25 TD passes vs. 6 INTs, throwing for 3,451 yards and finishing with a 95.9 passer rating.

Defense – gave up 332.7 yards per game; that left them No. 17 in fewest yards allowed around the league. Opponents scored 35 touchdowns. Overall, the Tampa defense forced 28 turnovers and had 26 sacks. CB Aqib Talib led the team with 6 INTs and DL Stylez White topped the sackers with 4.5 sacks.

Special teams – K Connor Barth missed five of his 28 FG attempts, but was 16 of 16 inside the 40-yard line. Punting was handled between three punters topped by rookie Robert Malone. The return game was handled by WR Michael Spurlock, averaging 6.9 yards on punt returns and 25.7 yards on kickoff returns with an 89-yard return for a TD. Coverage units gave up a 102-yard TD return on a kickoff.


1. Defensive end. Tampa Bay finished next to last in the NFL with 26 sacks last year. There is simply no question that they must find a pass rusher of some sort off the edge. That’s especially important for Morris and the way he wants to play defense, morphing from 4-3 to 3-4 depending on the situation. Getting the QB on the ground has to be a priority.

2. Outside linebacker. The Bucs need a playmaker on the edge and that counts DE and OLB. Last year’s starters in Geno Hayes and Quincy Black didn’t get it done. They need somebody who is going to get after the quarterback but hold his ground against the run game.

3. Safety. The safeties on the Tampa Bay roster have issues, as Tanard Jackson has dealt with off-field problems and Cody Grimm finished his season early with a broken ankle. More than a free safety type, they need a strong safety who can step up into the box in run situations.


They won a Super Bowl with players picked by Tony Dungy, and the duo of G.M. Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden were not able to get much done in the NFL Draft during their six seasons in charge.

That’s changed in the last two drafts that were run by GM Mark Dominik and head coach Rasheem Morris. The Bucs have picked up a growing handful of very talented players, led by Josh Freeman. They need to keep that string going in the ’11 Draft.

2006 – Only two of the 10 players selected remained on the roster at the end of last year and both were backups.

2007 – Limited impact from this class on the Bucs, with only LB Quincy Black and S Tanard Jackson getting any playing time.

2008 – They had 3 starters out of this draft class with CB Aqib Talib (1st), C Jeremy Zuttah (3rd) and LB Geno Hayes (6th).

2009 – First draft for Dominik and Morris and they found four starters so far from the group of six players, including Freeman (1st) and all the way to WR Sammie Stroughter (7th).

2010 – They hit on the first five, who all made contributions during the seasons before some of them ended up on the IR list. They got production out of a pair of seventh-round picks in S Cody Grimm and LB Dekoda Watson.


If they are serious about improving the level of talent on the edge of the defense, then they are going to zero in on DE or OLB. The various bodies left at those spots include DE Cameron Jordan and OLB Justin Houston. THE PICK – DE CAMERON JORDAN.

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