The Buccaneers have eight selections in the NFL draft, including the No. 13 overall pick. The draft, to be held Thursday-Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, features seven rounds and 254 total picks, including a handful of compensatory picks. The Bucs have two choices in the fourth and sixth rounds, but do not have a seventh-round selection. For eight consecutive days, the Tampa Tribune will analyze the team's needs at each of eight positions.
Today, we look at defensive end.
The Bucs felt confident enough about their depth on the edges to allow last year's leading sacker, Michael Bennett, to depart as a free agent. Adrian Clayborn, who led the team with 7.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011, is expected to return at right end after rehabbing from knee surgery. On the left side, Tampa Bay is counting heavily on Da'Quan Bowers, a prolific pass rusher in college who recovered from a ruptured Achilles and posted three sacks in 10 games last year. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim added four sacks in spot duty and Bucs coaches like his non-stop motor.
On the Bucs roster Player Ht. Wt. Age NFL seasons Da'Quan Bowers 6-4 288 23 3 Adrian Clayborn 6-3 280 24 3 Lazarius Levingston 6-4 292 25 2 Aaron Morgan 6-4 250 24 4 Ernest Owusu 6-5 270 24 1 George Selvie 6-4 270 26 4 Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 6-3 263 25 4 Markus White 6-4 264 25 2
Remaining NFL free agents Player Ht. Wt. Age NFL seasons John Abraham 6-4 263 34 14 Dwight Freeney 6-1 268 33 12 Israel Idonije 6-6 275 32 11 Trevor Scott 6-5 250 28 6
Dream Pick Bjoern Werner, Florida State Werner proved very disruptive for the Seminoles and some scouts believe few players in this draft boast a bigger upside. He has relied primarily on his athleticism and power. If his technique catches up to his physical skills, Werner could be an impact player off the edge. His first step is ultra-quick and Werner has the upper-body strength to fend off offensive linemen and knife into the backfield.
Hidden Gem Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist This multisport standout from Estonia will turn 26 this summer, which will scare off some teams in the early rounds. He's very strong at the point of attack, but his football skills are unrefined and it may take him a while to adapt to trench battles at the NFL level. Right now, he is a more effective run-stuffer than pass rusher.
Bucs history Tampa Bay's starting defensive ends, Bowers and Clayborn, were selected with premium picks in the 2011 draft, but history has not been kind to the Bucs at the position. After making Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon the inaugural pick in franchise history, the Bucs were disappointed with first-round choices such as Eric Curry and the late Gaines Adams.
The schedule Wednesday: Quarterback Thursday: Offensive line Friday: Linebacker Saturday: Running back Sunday: Defensive end Monday: Receiver/tight end Tuesday: Defensive tackle Wednesday: Defensive back