It seems like the Bucs have been looking for pass rushers forever, as this years unit has failed yet again. If your defense can’t generate consistent pressure on the Qb, then it’s going to be difficult to be a top defensive unit in the league. The last 7 years it’s been Gerald McCoy and everyone else on the D-line, which allows other teams to take McCoy out of the game forcing others to win one on one matchups. The Bucs lost their up and coming edge rusher Noah Spence early in the season to injury, plus FA additions Robert Ayers and Chris Baker haven’t been consistent and have been a disappointment when it comes to pass rush. If you had to pin the biggest failure in Jason Licht’s tenure so far, it has to be the lack of addressing the pass rush. He has tried with free agency, and for some reason has completely ignored D-line in the draft spending only one premium pick which was Noah Spence. This has to change in 2018, especially if this team wants to return to winning games and getting back into the playoffs.
The trenches has to be a priority and frankly should be every year. Good teams in this league usually draft a lineman on both sides of the ball while some teams draft multiple lineman each year. The Bucs need to be one of those teams this off-season. Good pass rushing teams are effective because they can bring waves of pass rushers. For example, the Rams, Jaguars, Bengals, Texans, and Vikings, they all can bring multiple lineman that can be effective and rush the QB allowing them to stay fresh throughout the game. D-lineman have to be two way players now a days with the passing game that is presented, meaning they have to be able to pass rush and stop the run as well. Now it’s okay to still have designated run stoppers, but you better have some legit edge ends that can wreck havoc in the backfield.
With that being said, the Bucs need to find some pass rushers to pair up with McCoy and Spence. There is one player that is a favorite for Bucs fans right now, and that is likely top ten selection DE Bradley Chubb out of NC State. Chubb is easily the top edge rusher in this year’s class as he can do it all and brings a non-stop motor with it. Chubb would be a big addition and bring a much needed boost to the Bucs pass rush.
If Chubb is not available to pick, other pass rushers include Harold Landry, Arden Key, Clelin Ferrell, and Dorence Armstrong to name a few. If the Bucs are moving towards a 3-4 scheme, one guy we love here at realbucstalk is DE/OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo who could be a potential day two target. He brings non-stop motor along with advanced pass rush ability and is always making big plays for his team. Pass rush has to be move to the front of the bus for the Bucs this off-season. Too long it has been on the back burners and the defense has suffered because of it. Whoever the GM is, they must bring in multiple lineman that can get after the QB, or else it will just be repeat for the defense again.