The Buccaneers had trouble covering anyone on the way to a 7-9 record last year, and the secondary may be a point of emphasis in the upcoming NFL draft. Mock draft experts from around the web believe that Tampa Bay will address the defensive backfield with the 13th pick in April.
SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn believes the Bucs will be looking for help out wide by grabbing cornerback Xavier Rhodes out of Florida State. Rhodes recorded 39 tackles, three interceptions, and seven pass break-ups for the Seminoles in 2012. Fairburn believes Tampa Bay will opt to draft help at corner rather than spend big money in the free agent market:
The Buccaneers are running thin in talent at cornerback and will either need to draft a player or spend a considerable amount in free agency. Unless they can score a player like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Sean Smith, targeting a corner in the first round is the way to go. Rhodes has established himself as the second-best cover player in the draft.
NFL.com's Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah agree with Fairburn's prognostication, and have Rhodes heading to Tampa Bay at No. 13. ESPN's Todd McShay also believes the Bucs will be looking for safety help, but instead will select safety Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas.
Bucky Brooks stays with the defensive theme, believing Tampa Bay will take Utah's Star Lotulelei. Gil Brandt bucks the trend by predicting the Bucs pick offensive tackle D.J. Fluker out of Alabama.