Jeff Reinebold: How the Buccaneers can support Tom Brady in the 2020 NFL Draft
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offer Tom Brady the most glamorous offensive arsenal he has had at his disposal for some time, however, Jeff Reinebold believes the team must seek added support for their headline investment.
That starts with their No 14 pick at the 2020 NFL Draft, with protection for the six-time Super Bowl champion a potential priority after Tampa gave up an 11th-most 47 sacks in 2019, along with a sixth-most 106 quarterback hits.
Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton are the three offensive tackles in contention be selected in the top 10, with Georgia’s Andrew Thomas seemingly a more realistic target.
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“They need a third-down back in my opinion and they’ve got to get a right tackle,” Reinebold said on Inside the Huddle. “There are four legitimate first-round tackles in this draft and where they pick there should be a tackle available to them.
“The right tackle thing is a big, big deal. When you’re Tom Brady, you’re not going to get hit. You’re not going to take sacks, he’s not going to do that.”
While the Bucs already have a capable running back in Ronald Jones, who recorded 1,033 total yards in 2019, Reinebold feels there is a need for the kind of multi-purpose back that have played such key roles in Brady-led offenses over the years.
The likes of James White and Dion Lewis, now of the New York Giants, have served as valuable contributors in both the run and passing game over the past five years, as did Shane Vereen in his time with the Patriots. White in particular was New England’s second most productive receiver in each of the last two seasons.
Reinebold added: “In order for the offense to continue to move, No 1 you better have a running game, Jones looks like he can be that running back. Where I think they have really got to look hard is, and I think there are a couple of them, that third-down back.
“All those Patriots teams always had a guy that they could bring in that wasn’t very big, could catch out of the backfield, simplified Tom’s reads, got the ball in his hands.”
Brady finds himself in good company in Bruce Arians’ outfit, boasting Pro Bowl receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, the presence of Jones in the backfield and tight end options in O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate and Antony Auclair.
Reinebold continued: “How many years has he had better than that as a whole in New England?”
“I think when you look at this team, it’s going to be really fun to watch Brady because that discussion we had at the end of last year about ‘was it Brady or is it the fact he has no weapons around him?’ – he’s got weapons now.”
On the other side of the ball the Bucs have worked hard to keep a defense that ranked first against the run but 30th against the pass intact.
They applied the franchise tag to 2019 sack leader Shaquil Barrett, as well as bringing back veteran pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and elite run-stuffer Ndamukong Suh.
“Keeping Jason Pierre-Paul, he still can rush,” said Reinebold. In Todd Bowles’ scheme, they call him an outside linebacker but he’s a rush guy. Then you’ve got Barrett on the other side, you’ve got two really good pass rushers and then how about the wide bodies they can stick at you in the middle of the line?
“You’ve got Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea, those are big, strong guys. Neither of them are great pass rushers but you aren’t going to run the ball inside against this team. Devin White is a player, Lavonte David. They’ve got players.
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