The Buccaneers don't just need to improve their pass rush, they need to at least just add bodies. As of right now, the Bucs have just Jacquies Smith, Will Gholston, Larry English, and Lawrence Sidbury as their defensive ends.
The Bucs could get a little boost if they end up with George Johnson from the Lions. There was a discrepency with Johnson's offer sheet from the Bucs, so we won't know if the Lions will retain Johnson or if he ends up with the Bucs for 11 more days. The good news is that we will know before the draft.
If the Bucs do not end up with Johnson, it might mean doubling up at end in the draft.
I've been very high on Owa Odighizuwa out of UCLA. He has a ton of raw ability and big time potential. Odighizuwa is a pure 4-3 end who plays with good power and speed. He reminds me of Ziggy Ansah when he entered the draft a few years back. Odighizuwa is on the fringe of being a first round pick, but might fall into the Bucs lap at the top of round 2.
If you come to BucsBlitz.com regularly, and as insiders you should, you know I'm high on Miami DE Anthony Chickillo. As much as I'd love to see the Bucs get Chickillo in the 4th round, logic is telling me he ends up as a 3rd round pick. Ideally, I'd love to see the Bucs grab another position of need with the top pick in the 3rd round, but then maybe trade their 4th round pick and an additional pick to move into the late 3rd round and grab Chickillo.
Chickillo is loaded with talent and just needs a defense that allows him to attack. Being local from Alonso High School, only adds to the intrigue in selecting him.
While I believe Odighizuwa and Chickillo can step in and compete for a starting role immediately, there are some players in this draft who I think could develop into some very good players.
Danielle Hunter has some of the worst film in this draft, but his best days may be ahead of him. His physical traits are and testing numbers are outstanding. With good coaching, and a willingness to be coached, Hunter could become an elite pass rusher, but that risk is just too much of a risk for where the Bucs are right now. Plus, I think Hunter gets drafted on his potential much earlier than he should go.
Za'Darius Smith of Kentucky may be drafted in a much safer spot to take a risk. Smith is a big defensive end who plays with power. He has versatility to play inside or outside. I see Smith as a 4th round pick in this draft. If the Bucs drafted Odighizuwa and Smith, and paired them with who they already have on the roster, defensive end goes from a position lacking numbers to a position with depth.
Overall, I see the Bucs taking just one defensive end in this draft, since they have needs at so many other positions. I think George Johnson ends up with the team and becomes a starter. I think the Bucs will realistically look to grab an end in the 4th round. Names like Za'Darius Smith, Anthony Chickillo, and Arkansas Trey Flowers are all names to remember for the Bucs in the late 3rd to early 4th round area.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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