Though the position isn’t necessarily a need, defensive tackle could be an area of focus in the draft for the Buccaneers, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay’s front four includes All-Pro Gerald McCoy, free agent signee Clinton McDonald, and second-year player Akeem Spence, but, in new head coach Lovie Smith’s scheme, tackle is the most important defensive slot, and a solid rotation would be of help. Additionally, a selection of a player like Aaron Donald would be in line with general manager Jason Licht’s “best player available” philosophy. “What we’ve said all along is we want the best player,” said Licht. “Our team needs in September are going to be totally different than what our team needs are right now. The player you take, you may not think we have a need for him now. But a lot of times, you’re thankful you have them when the season starts.”
More items from the NFC South:
- Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff obviously wasn’t happy with his team’s 4-12 record in 2013, and tells Jarrett Bell of USA Today that his “goal is to rectify this with a vengeance.” Dimitroff hasn’t been afraid to trade up in the draft to acquire an impact player (Julio Jones, 2011), and some believe Atlanta is a player for the first overall selection.
- We previously noted that Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith had worked out for the Buccaneers, Falcons, and Panthers, and now Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post adds the Saints to that list, meaning Smith has completed the NFC South tour.
- In a separate post, Wilson reports that Louisiana-Lafayette tight end Jacob Maxwell, a late-round or free agent candidate, has drawn interest from about half the league, including the Buccaneers and Panthers.
- The Buccaneers could afford to trade Mike Williams to the Bills thanks to an especially deep class of receivers, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune.
- The Panthers have been highly successful with their first-round selections over the past few seasons, according to ESPN.com’s David Newton, and though Carolina is picking later than usual this year, there is reason to believe they’ll draft a useful player once again at pick No. 28.
- Don’t look for the Panthers to draft a developmental quarterback on Thursday, says Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, because the team likes the presence of new addition Joe Webb, who is focusing solely on QB.
- The Saints have a history of finding gems in the draft, from late-round picks like Marques Colston and Jahri Evans, to undrafted free agents like Junior Galette, writes Sheldon Mickles of TheAdvocate.com.