Bucs Should Pass on Draft's Linebackers

Justin Pawlowski believes the Bucs should pass on drafting a linebacker in this year's draft.

Earlier on Tuesday, I posted a breakdown of my top 10 middle linebackers in the draft this year. For each prospect, I gave reasons why the Bucs should and should not draft each player, but do the Buccaneers have the luxury to select a middle linebacker in this draft.

The Bucs might still have needs at defensive end and along their offensive line, but I'm always willing to upgrade a specific position if the right player falls into my lap. Unfortunately, I don't view any of this year's draft-eligible linebackers as luxuries worth taking.

I have not been blown away with the linebackers in this year's draft class. Eric Kendricks seems to be the favorite of most, but I still don't view him as a dominant difference maker at the position. For me, Kendricks is a safe player who will play the position well for a long time. I just don't think he's worth a high 2nd round pick for a team with bigger needs and likely better players on the board.

Stephone Anthony might end up with better potential over the long haul, but like Kendricks, he'll likely be drafted much higher than the Bucs should be willing to take him.

My favorite linebacker in this class is Miami's Denzel Perryman. I absolutely love his intensity and physical play. I also think his liability in coverage is overblown. Perryman won't be the best in coverage, but his talent in other areas make up for any liability in coverage. With that said, Lovie Smith will likely not invest a 2nd round pick in Perryman either.

As for the rest of this draft, I just don't view players like Ben Heeney of Kansas, Ramik Wilson of Georgia, or Bryce Hager of Baylor as worthy of even later round picks. I'd rather the Bucs attack deeper positions later in this draft rather than reach on average linebackers.

In conclusion, the Bucs should head into next season with Lavonte David, Bruce Carter, and Danny Lansanah as their starting linebackers. They should look to improve at linebacker in future years of the draft, but not this year.

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