Roster weaknesses: Every team has them, and the draft is often the best way to address them. With the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaching, NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah will be taking an up-close look at the main areas of weakness -- and the prospects who could fix them -- for all 32 squads in the league. Be sure to catch "Path to the Draft" on NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday for more in-depth analysis.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in a number of new faces this offseason, beginning with general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith. After switching up their front office, the Bucs then released three-time All-Pro Darrelle Revis, who was set to make $16 million in 2014. Cutting ties with one of the NFL's best players isn't usually a recipe for success, but Tampa Bay was able to use the money it saved to help bring in players like cornerback Alterraun Verner, quarterback Josh McCown and defensive end Michael Johnson.
Although the Bucs have bolstered the talent levels on both sides of the ball, they still have a glaring hole at wide receiver. The quality and depth at the position in this year's draft is such that Licht and Smith should be able to use at least one of their six draft picks to add playmakers on the perimeter. Tampa should have a lot of options with the seventh overall pick; given the right scenario, I could see them trading down to garner more picks.
Here are four positions of need for Tampa Bay -- and some prospects who could fill them.
1) Wide receiver
Trading Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills earlier this month (in exchange for a sixth-round pick) left Vincent Jackson as the only true starting receiver on the Bucs' roster. To fill in the holes behind Jackson, I think Tampa Bay will take advantage of the talent in this year's group and draft more than one wideout.
Texas A&M's Mike Evans is a natural fit in the Bucs' offense, as he would team with Jackson to give McCown a pair of hulking receivers. If that pass-catching tandem were to resemble the Alshon Jeffery-Brandon Marshall duo McCown had in Chicago last season, Tampa Bay could pose an even tougher matchup in the NFC South.
2) Offensive guard
With Carl Nicks' future uncertain due to a foot injury and with a void at right guard, Tampa will need to add talent to the line in May. The Bucs obviously won't devote the seventh overall pick to picking a guard, but they could find players in the middle rounds who are capable of starting on Day 1.
Trai Turner, who started all 13 games for LSU last season, has quick feet and a powerful base. If he were a little more athletic in pass protection and when blocking defenders at the second level, he'd be a top 40 pick.
A player I like even deeper in the draft is Chris Watt from Notre Dame. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound lineman has a lot of experience, toughness and football intelligence. I think he has the potential be a swing backup who could one day develop into a starter. Watt would be a real value pick in the fifth round.
3) Sam linebacker
Lavonte David and Mason Foster are outstanding players, but there's a third component missing in Lovie's linebacker corps. Anthony Barr had a tremendous season last year for UCLA, but I think he'd fit better at defensive end in Tampa's 4-3 scheme. An undersized linebacker that I really like is Telvin Smith from Florida State. Lovie places an emphasis on fast, playmaking defenders -- Smith fits the bill in both areas.
Given that they added McCown in free agency, it's safe to assume the Bucs aren't all that high on second-year pro Mike Glennon. I saw some positive signs from the young quarterback during his rookie season, but I'm not sure he's their long-term answer. Then again, neither is McCown -- he turns 35 in July.
With the seventh overall pick, there's a chance Tampa Bay will have its choice among the top quarterbacks in the draft. Of the group, I'd keep an eye on Johnny Manziel. Defensive-minded coaches like Lovie appreciate the difficulty involved in trying to slow down a player with Manziel's unique skill set. I think he'd enjoy the opportunity to unleash that type of playmaker on opposing teams.
If the Bucs wait until the third round to land their next signal-caller, there's a chance AJ McCarron could still be on the board. The Alabama quarterback's accuracy and decision-making are both excellent. Although he might not have the kind of physical tools that wow NFL decision-makers, he is a two-time BCS national champion.