Countdown to Cannons: Melton's Impact

With 30 days to go, we countdown the days until the Bucs' 1st preseason game, and discuss a different Bucs player at length every day.

We've pointed out numerous times over the last couple of weeks that the Bucs defense started to come together in the 2nd half of last season. Statistics across the board showed the improvements that had been made. Hell, the Bucs may had even found a pass rusher in Jacquies Smith.

The Bucs will return a majority of that defense from 2014 for another year under Lovie Smith in 2015. The corner stones of that defense include Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, but one newcomer could take the defense to another level.

The Bucs spent a majority of free agency attacking free agents with experience in Lovie Smith's type of defense. While I do feel Bruce Carter will be a big upgrade at middle linebacker, the addition of Henry Melton could be the addition that vaults the Bucs defense into the top 10.

Melton, 28, has recorded at least 5 sacks in three of the past four seasons. The one season he didn't achieve that mark was in 2013 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury, an injury he was still recovering from at the beginning of the 2014 season.

"Henry used to be a running back, defensive end and now he is a defensive tackle," Lovie Smith said of Melton's versatility. "He can play three-technique, nose guard, five-technique, six-technique, whatever you need. He’s that type of guy. It’s rare to find that kind of guy. We have a couple guys in the room like that. A guy of his caliber and his talent that has a Pro Bowl under his belt is going to be huge for us.”

Melton is an impact playmaker. He will get to the quarterback and either sack him or force turnovers. As much as we all like Gerald McCoy, we can all agree that McCoy's biggest weakness has been the creation of impact plays in the 2nd halves of games. If Melton adds that dimension to this defense, there is no doubt in my mind that the Bucs defense will make a triumphant return to the upper-echelon of the NFL.

31 Days: Murray's Big Leg

32 Days: Bell Brings Speed to Bucs Offense

33 Days: Glennon in His Proper Role

34 Days: Murphy Bonding with Young Bucs

35 Days: Masifilo Will to Do Anything to Stay

36 Days: More Focus on Fatinikun

37 Days: Verner's Quiet But Productive

38 Days: Big Hitting Swearinger

39 Days: Stocker Emerges as Top Blocker

40 Days: The Ambassador of Kwon

41 Days: Competition for Koenen

42 Days: Kadeem Edwards' Growth is Key

43 Days: Vincent Jackson's Importance

44 Days: Jacquies is Underrated

45 Days: McDonald Believes Bucs D is Close

46 Days: Questions on the Blindside

47 Days: Carter Is the Defense's Glue

48 Days: Tandy's Versatility Keeps Him Around

49 Days: Gholston's Year to Reach Potential

50 Days: Conte Brings Experience to Bucs Defense

51 Days: James in Short Yardage

52 Days: Mike Jenkins' Return from Injury

53 Days: Logan Mankins' Impact

54 Days: Lavonte David's a Star

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