Mike Evans of the Texas A&M Aggies waits on the...

Mike Evans of the Texas A&M Aggies waits on the field before the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on Nov. 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas. Credit: Getty Images / Scott Halleran

The 2014 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, May 8, and every team will look to infuse youth and talent into their rosters. This is the latest primer in our NFL Draft two-a-days that looks at each team and which potential first-round picks would be a good fit.


2013 record: 4-12

Key offseason acquisitions: DE Michael Johnson, CB Alterraun Verner, OT Anthony Collins, QB Josh McCown, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, CB Mike Jenkins, head coach Lovie Smith, GM Jason Licht.

Key offseason departures: CB Darrelle Revis, OT Donald Penn, C/G Jeremy Zuttah, WR Mike Williams.

Biggest holes: Wide receiver, guard, defensive line depth

If declaring free agency "winners" and "losers" is your thing, you can put one in the "W" column for the Bucs - and it may help make them winners on draft day.

The Bucs upgraded at defensive end, left tackle, quarterback and center. They signed a big-name cornerback in Verner at four years and $25.5 million, then freed up $16 million in cap space for 2014 by cutting Revis, whose man-to-man style wouldn't fit in Lovie Smith's Cover 2 defense.

This all means the Buccaneers can focus on finding the best players available in the draft. Of course, it would be nice if some of those players aligned with needs, which could be the case if the board shakes out a certain way.

The most logical pick would be Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans. The physical Evans is 6-5 and 231 pounds, and uses that size to his advantage when boxing out defenders, high-pointing the ball in the air and winning 50-50 balls.

Also, keep in mind how new Bucs QB Josh McCown thrived in Chicago last season with 6-4 Brandon Marshall and 6-5 Alshon Jeffery as his receivers. Interestingly enough, Evans' game profiles very similarly to Vincent Jackson - the Bucs' 6-5, 241-pound No. 1 receiver. Having two imposing, 6-5 receivers would essentially replicate McCown's situation with the Bears, where he went for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games.

If the Buccaneers wanted to go with a more explosive option across from Jackson, they could go with Clemson's Sammy Watkins, though it would almost certainly require a trade up. Watkins is a dynamic playmaker who thrives on speed, acceleration and the ability to take a short pass and make it a long gain.

Could the Buccaneers draft a quarterback if one were to fall to them? As unlikely as it may seem at first glance, it's entirely possible, especially with the top tier of quarterbacks sliding down draft boards in recent weeks. McCown is signed to a two-year deal, and while Mike Glennon played decently in 2013 (2,608 yards, 19 TDs, nine INTs in 13 games), the jury is still out as to whether or not he's a franchise QB. And given the fact that this wide receiver class is incredibly deep, the Buccaneers could decide to wait on taking a wideout and draft one of the top three quarterbacks instead, whether it's Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel.

Potential second- and third-day options for the Bucs include Florida State wideout Kelvin Benjamin, Rutgers WR Brandon Coleman, Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer, Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson, Stanford guard David Yankey and Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman.

More football news