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Monday, Nov 24, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs NFL draft position analysis: Defensive end

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The schedule

Wednesday: Quarterback

Thursday: Defensive back

Friday: Offensive line

Today: Defensive end

Sunday: Wide receiver

Monday: Defensive tackle

Tuesday: Running back

Wednesday: Linebacker Thursday: Tight end

The Buccaneers have six selections, including the No. 7 overall pick, in the 2014 NFL draft, to be held Thursday-May 10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Tampa Bay has one pick in each of the seven rounds, except the fourth — that pick was sent to the New York Jets to complete the 2013 trade for CB Darrelle Revis. For eight consecutive days, The Tampa Tribune will analyze the team’s needs at specific positions.

Defensive end

The free-agent signing of Michael Johnson gives the Bucs a hulking pass rusher off the right edge as Adrian Clayborn shifts to the left side, but Tampa Bay needs more depth at the position to chase down the elite quarterbacks they face two times every year in the NFC South. With a new regime in place, this is likely the last chance for Da’Quan Bowers to prove he deserves another contract in Tampa.

On the Bucs roster

NFL

Player Ht. Wt. Age seasons

Da’Quan Bowers 6-4 288 24 4

Adrian Clayborn 6-3 280 25 4

William Gholston 6-6 281 22 2

Michael Johnson 6-7 270 27 6

Steven Means 6-3 260 24 2

Scott Solomon 6-3 262 25 2

Remaining NFL free agents

Everette Brown 6-1 263 26 5

Brett Keisel 6-5 285 35 12

Will Smith 6-3 282 32 10

Dream pick

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

This rare athlete would give new head coach Lovie Smith tremendous flexibility up front, freeing up Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy to be even more disruptive.

Hidden gem

Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

This captain and team MVP comes roaring off the edge with 4.63 speed that led to 13 sacks last season.

Bucs history

Since doubling down in 2011 by selecting Clayborn and Bowers with their first two picks, the Bucs haven’t used a premium draft choice on a defensive end. That could change this year, because Bowers still has much to prove and Clayborn could be a free agent in 2015.

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