The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered this offseason with one huge priority, repair a damaged secondary. As the second evening of the 2013 NFL Draft came to a close on Friday night, one thing is certain, the Buccaneers have done everything in their power to fix the problems in a unit that allowed nearly 300 yards per game though the air despite having the top ranked run defense last season.
The Buccaneers made their moves through every possible manner, free agency, trade and the NFL draft.
At the start of the free agency period, the Buccaneers added S Dashon Goldson to team up with second-year safety Mark Barron. Tampa executed a trade last week with the New York Jets in exchange for Darrelle Revis. Revis is recovering from ACL surgery but the Buccaneers front office expects him to be ready to play week one of the regular season. The expected release of CB Eric Wright never materialized and he will now be teamed up opposite Revis.
With their first selection in the draft, Tampa continued to address the secondary issues and selected CB Johnthan Banks out of Mississippi State. Banks is a big corner, coming in at 6-foot-2 and is the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the most outstanding defensive back of the year. He posted career highs in virtually every category last year. 71 tackles, 11 for a loss, three sacks, five interceptions and nine pass breakups. He also handled the team’s punt return duties.
Banks likely projects as a nickle corner for the Buccaneers.
As the Buccaneers transform their secondary, one has to wonder if perhaps the team is moving away from veteran corner Ronde Barber. Despite moving from corner to safety last season, Barber had a respectable year but his role on the current roster must now be called into question. It is possible that the Buccaneers would bring him back for depth purposes but his role is not as clearly defined heading into the 2013 season if he decides to return.
It is possible that Barber would accept a diminished role if he believes the Buccaneers are ready to make a bid to reach post-season play in 2013.
If Darrelle Revis can return to the form he possessed prior to his injury, then the Buccaneers have pieced together what appears to be a very formidable secondary for the 2013 season.