Bucs Named One of Most Improved Defenses

The Bucs were named by NFL.com as one of the most improved defenses in the NFL this off-season.

It was no surprise heading into this off-season what the Bucs main objective had to be, and it's no surprise with what Jason Licht did with his roster now that the meat of the off-season is over.

Jason Licht and the Buccaneers main objective this off-season was to be specifically selective in addressing the defensive side of the ball. While they didn't go after the top defensive players in free agency and refrained from trading up for the top defensive players in the draft, Jason Licht can be happy that he likely walked away from this off-season with at least 5 new key contributors to his defense.

Along the defensive line, the versatile Robert Ayers will be strength to the run defense from the edge, but an extra pass rusher inside in passing situation. Speaking of pass rush, Noah Spence could end up being the pass rusher the Bucs have longed for for years.

In the secondary, the argument could be made that the Bucs went "Back to the Future." They signed the older version of Marty McFly before jumping in the Delorean and selecting the younger version in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. Brent Grimes might be an under-sized corner, but throughout his NFL career, Grimes is notorious for playing bigger than his stature. While Vernon Hargreaves appears as a splitting image of Grimes, Hargreaves main role may come as a nickel corner that just owns the middle of the field, much like Tyrann Mathieu.

Let's also not forget Daryl Smith, who will come in and immediately be the Bucs 3rd linebacker, but more importantly, he'll be the Bucs main veteran presence on defense.

Oh, and the acquisition of Mike Smith wasn't too shabby either.

These 5 new player acquisitions have NFL.com's Lance Zuerlein buzzing about the Bucs defense being of the most improved defenses in the NFL this off-season.

Vernon Hargreaves should step into playing time immediately at one cornerback spot, and he could be a big upgrade at the position. Noah Spence offers pass-rush potential at the defensive end spot, which is something the Bucs came into the draft hoping to address. Smooth-moving cornerback Ryan Smith has excellent mirror-and-match footwork that should get him noticed in camp.

With these 5 new players joining the Bucs defense this off-season to be paired with the likes of Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, and Gerald McCoy, the Bucs defense should end up being truly one of the most improved defenses when the games are actually being played as well.

 

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