Bucs fill several needs, still have room to improve this offseason

TAMPA, Fla. -- After nearly two weeks of NFL free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have addressed several key areas, with the latest being the addition of kicker Nick Folk. Here's a look back at those signings and where the Bucs stand in terms of needs that can be filled either during the remainder of free agency or in next month's NFL draft.

New additions

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson: The Bucs went out and landed one of the hottest names in free agency in Jackson. They now have a speedy wideout to pair opposite Mike Evans, who can serve as a replacement for Vincent Jackson and truly take the top off opposing defenses.

Defensive tackle Chris Baker: The Bucs wanted to get bigger on the inside of their defensive line, and Baker gives them that quality and then some -- he can get in the backfield far more than most 320-pound defensive tackles.

Safety J.J. Wilcox: A hard-hitting safety and former college running back whom the Bucs believe still hasn't reached his ceiling, he can fill the spot left vacated by Bradley McDougald.

Kicker Nick Folk: Head coach Dirk Koetter vowed to bring in competition for kicker Roberto Aguayo, and he did so in signing Folk, one of the league's most accurate kickers from 40-plus yards last year.


Defensive end William Gholston: The Bucs' first move of free agency was re-signing their strongside defensive end. He's a huge part of their base defense on first and second down with his run-stopping ability and has also shown he can be effective on third down.

Running back Jacquizz Rodgers: Regardless if Doug Martin is back for 2017, the team has to account for the remainder of his suspension (three games). Rodgers gives them explosiveness between the tackles and elusiveness on the outside. He can play every down and he knows Koetter's system.

Safety Chris Conte: Conte played a big role in helping engineer the Bucs' late-season turnaround with interceptions against the Chicago Bears and the Kansas City Chiefs in back-to-back weeks.

Cornerback/special teams Josh Robinson: Robinson led the team with 12 special-teams tackles last season and is a huge part of their punt- and kick-return coverage. He's capable of playing on the outside or in nickel and can line up at safety in emergency situations.

Center Joe Hawley: Hawley's return helps settle things with the offensive line, although he's not guaranteed a starting job. He'll compete with Evan Smith, who can also line up at guard and even moonlighted as a fullback last season.

Still needed

Safety: The Bucs now have Keith Tandy, Chris Conte, Wilcox and Isaiah Johnson, who spent the entire 2016 season on the practice squad. Tandy and Conte give some flexibility, while Wilcox is more of a true strong safety. The Bucs can go out and draft an impact playmaker with outstanding coverage skills or one who can do it all. There are lots of options in this year's draft class.

Tight end: The Bucs have their "F," pass-catching tight end in Cameron Brate and they've got their run-blocker in Luke Stocker. There's also newcomer Alan Cross and Brandon Myers is not expected to return at this point. They need a "Y" tight end who can serve as an in-line blocker and pass-catcher. This is a great draft to find one.

Wide receiver: Remember what happened last year, with injuries to Jackson and Cecil Shorts? They also no longer have Russell Shepard. They have Evans and Jackson on the outside and Adam Humphries in the slot, but could use an all-around receiver capable of doing both.

Linebacker: Daryl Smith remains unsigned. The Bucs are high on second-year linebacker Devonte Bond as a possible replacement in the strongside linebacker role, but he did miss all last season with a hamstring injury and they need a player who can back up at the important middle linebacker position. Adarius Glanton can serve as the backup on the weak side.

Could really use

Running back: This isn't an absolute necessity, thanks to the security Rodgers provides. If the Bucs have a chance to get a potential game-changer in the draft, they'll do it.

Quarterback: The Bucs have three on their roster currently -- Winston, Ryan Griffin and Sean Renfree. That's fine, but considering 18 of 32 teams started multiple quarterbacks last season, having a viable backup here is important. There are a few free agents still out on the market, or they could turn to the draft for a developmental player despite it being a weaker quarterback class.

Could always use

Defensive end: The Bucs don't have to sign or draft a defensive end, but if they have a chance to bolster their rotation with a top talent who can get to the quarterback, they'll do it, especially with three former All-Pro quarterbacks in their division, plus Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers on the schedule next year.

Offensive tackle: Assuming J.R. Sweezy is fully healthy, Kevin Pamphile, the most versatile lineman they have, can go back to being a swing tackle, a position occupied last year by the recently-retired Gosder Cherilus. Or they could keep him as a backup on the inside. Even so, remember what happened when Demar Dotson missed three games with a concussion last season.

Offensive guard: The Bucs seem to have settled on Caleb Benenoch being a guard, but he can still serve as a swing player, developing into the role Kevin Pamphile has held the last few years. Much like offensive tackle, this is an area the Bucs could still give a boost.