On the Clock: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Scouts Inc. puts the Buccaneers on the clock, breaking down their offseason moves and looking at what questions still need answering.

Originally Published: April 17, 2007
By Keith Kidd | Scouts Inc.

Through April 20, "SportsCenter" will put every NFL team "On The Clock." Scouts Inc. will break down each team and look at what questions still need answering.

Scouts: Free-agent tracker
Buccaneers
For a complete list of all of the Buccaneers' free agents and all their offseason signings, check out Scouts Inc.'s free-agent tracker.
Buccaneers' free agents
Complete free-agent tracker
Since winning Super Bowl XXXVII, the Buccaneers have had three losing seasons in four years. Without a doubt, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen enter the 2007 season on the hot seat. The Buccaneers have been very aggressive in free agency as they aim to get back on track and compete for the NFC South title. Offensively, the Buccaneers must improve after a very disappointing performance last season (29th in total offense). On top of that, this team has to get better production from the quarterback position. Chris Simms and the newly signed Jeff Garcia will battle for the starting job, which should play out until the start of the regular season. Also, the Bucs need another explosive playmaker on the perimeter. Defensively, the Buccaneers always have taken a lot of pride under the leadership of coordinator Monte Kiffin. However, their defense really struggled last season. It needs to regain its swagger and get younger.

Key additions

The front office and coaching staff put an aggressive plan in place to attack the free-agent market. The performance of the quarterback position in 2006 was a major concern. Garcia (Eagles) was signed to compete with Simms for the starting position. The Buccaneers also traded for the rights to QB Jake Plummer (Broncos), who has announced his retirement. They added experience to their offensive line with the additions of LT Luke Petitgout (Giants) and G Matt Lehr (Falcons), while also signing FB B.J. Askew (Jets). Defensively, the Buccaneers added two explosive playmakers who should make an impact this season. OLB Cato June (Colts) is a very athletic veteran who really fits the Buccaneers' defensive schemes, while LDE Kevin Carter (Dolphins) is a versatile player who continues to play at a high level. They also added DE Patrick Chukwurah (Broncos) and corner Sammy Davis (49ers). Chukwurah is an undersized pass rusher who finished with 4.5 sacks last season.

Mock draft: Buccaneers
The Pick (No. 4 overall):
WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
Insider

Johnson
Todd McShay: The Bucs are reportedly in discussions with the Lions to trade up if Johnson is on the board at No. 2. Coach Jon Gruden must be salivating at the possibility of working with a dynamic playmaker like Johnson. As a side note; if the Buccaneers can't land Johnson they'll look to bail out of this pick.
Complete mock draft Insider
SportsNation: Mock draft
Vote: Team needs
Key losses

The biggest offseason departure was backup DE Dewayne White. White replaced the injured Simeon Rice last season and finished the season with five sacks. He is an intriguing young pass rusher who joined his former coach, Rod Marinelli, in Detroit. The Buccaneers also lost three offensive linemen. G Sean Mahan signed with the Steelers and backup OT Cornell Green joined the Raiders. Former first-round pick Kenyatta Walker failed his physical and was released prior to the start of free agency. MLB Shelton Quarles might have played his last season with the Buccaneers and is expected to either retire or be released before training camp.

Remaining questions

The Buccaneers will do all they can to position themselves to draft WR Calvin Johnson. The Bucs need a dynamic impact player on the offensive side of the ball to improve the supporting cast around either Simms or Garcia. Defensively, they are going to address the interior of the line, while trying to find a young pass rusher they can develop. Also, look for the Buccaneers to try to get younger on the backend, especially at corner. They could also look to address their safety situation. Both SS Jermaine Phillips and FS Will Allen need to improve their performance in 2007.