For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is time for a change. Dirk Koetter is out as head coach after his three year tenure and Bruce Arians, long time Arizona Cardinals Coach, is in. Additionally, Arians brings with him former defensive coordinator, most recently with the Jets as their head coach, Todd Bowles. With them they bring a new approach, a new swagger and a new hope. Here I’ll take a look at how the hiring of Bruce Arians affect the Buccaneers Draft
They also bring new philosophies; many of them different than what the old regime had in place. This means a different approach to offense and defense as well as a different type of played to fit the new scheme.
Arians, from and offensive standpoint, isn’t actually all that different from Koetter. Both utilize a down the field passing offense that thrives off big plays. This plays right into the Bucs hand as they already have much of the needed personnel to suit this offense.
Unfortunately, it also means that this new coaching staff will run into many of the same problems that Koetter did. Namely an offensive line that doesn’t give their quarterback enough time to work down field and a running game that is lacking. These holes need to be addressed before Arians does anything.
It’s on defense where the Bucs will see the most changes. Bowles ran a lot of 3-4 defensive looks while coach of the Jets and it seems likely he will want to run a good amount in Tampa as well. However the front seven is geared towards a 4-3 defense and would need a pretty serious overhaul to go completely to a 3-4.
As a result, Bowles will likely run a multiple front defense where he lines up in some of each front. That way he can capitalize on some of the players who are already in place that wouldn’t fit a new defense. Such players as Jason Pierre-Paul who led the team in sacks last year with 12.5.
Which Prospects Fit
Even with using a very similar offensive system and running some of the same defensive concepts, this new era of Buccaneers football will call for new players who fit this new style. Here are a few examples of what I mean.
With Arians down the field offense, the quarterback needs time to throw. It’s not a quickly developing offense, so the Bucs need to draft offensive linemen who can really pass block. Such prospects as Jonah Williams and Yondy Cajuste (two left tackles who could be drafted on the top ten) will be very much on the Bucs radar with the fifth overall pick. An edge rusher could also be in play at this point, but with so much depth at the position in this class it seems logical to wait.
In the second round I would turn my attention to the defense. Someone who could play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. Personally I would target a defensive lineman. A guy who can play defensive end in a 3-4 or s defensive tackle in a 4-3. A guy such as Reakwon Davis, Rashan Gary, Jerry Tilery or Zach Allen. I would expect at least one of these guys would be available when the Bucs pick in round two.
With the third round pick I would take a similar approach as I did in round two, this time turning my attention on a more pure pass rusher. Again, versatility is a big thing I’m looking for with someone to play defensive end in a 4-3 and outside linebacker in a 3-4. A few names I’d look at here are Oshane Ximines or Maxx Crosby. Both can play with their hand in the dirt, yet are agile enough to play in a two point stance and play some as a pass rushing linebacker.
I think the hardest thing to do when transitioning defensive systems is to find pass rushers. That’s why I would look to take another one here in consecutive rounds. This time looking at a guy who can play linebacker in both fronts and pressure the quarterback. Sutton Smith is a raw athlete who can create disruption up front. If I’m the Bucs then Smith is a high priority target on day three.
After spending three consecutive picks on defense, I would look to the offense again late. At this point in the draft targeting a high upside player at a position of need. Namely I would look at slot receivers or offensive tackles. A few names I really like are Andy Isabella and Kelvin McKnight. Both are extremely fast and can be a big play waiting to happen. Max Scharping is a name I would look at on the offensive line. A great pass blocking offensive tackle who might need a year in the weight room before he actually can contribute. However, if he can get stronger then he could be a very good player in the NFL.
Finally we come to the seventh round and the last pick. At this point you’re just looking for a guy who can make the roster and contribute in some way. Perhaps a defensive back with high upside who can play special teams. Maybe a quarterback you think can be developed into a backup. At this point I don’t think it would be crazy to draft a kicker given the struggles the Bucs have had at the position. Anyone who can help one special teams and maybe become a halfway decent role player over time.
With so many changes underway it’s hard to say what the Bucs will look like in 2019. With so many new faces and new ideas I expect it to be a very different team under Arians. The one thing I know for sure is that it’s exciting time for Bucs fans and there’s a lot of hope for this team moving forward.