The case for the Bucs taking an edge rusher in the 2019 draft.

By Ken Filler
Apr. 22, 2019

When the Buccaneers selected Noah Spence in the second round of the 2016 draft, they thought were getting an edge rusher who would be able to put consistent pressure on the quarterback.

The only consistency in Noah Spence’s game has been the time that he has spent on the IR. Spence has lost almost all of two seasons to a shoulder injury, and when he has played he has not been the player the Bucs thought they were getting.

Spence seemed to have trouble as dida lot of players in Mike Smith’s scheme and hopefully Todd Bowles will keep things super simple and let the players do what they do best.

There are three edge rushers that could go in the top 5 in the NFL draft. Nick Bosa will be the first one off the board going to San Francisco.

But then things could get interesting. Montez Sweat of Mississippi State would have been a top 10 pick, but his physical at the combine revealed an enlarged heart and his stock has been dropping ever since.

Rashan Gary of Michigan is one guy that could be there at number five for the Bucs. 6-4 287 4.67 in the 40. Gary‘s stats can be a little underwhelming when you look at them as he had only 9.5 sacks in three years. But Gary was double teamed and even tripled team on occasion and rerouted plays where his teammates where waiting to make the play.

Gary has good upper body strength and good speed for an edge rusher and did not lose many one on one battles. Just as comfortable playing the run as he is dropping into pass coverage.

The one knock on Gary is he tends to be more of a read and react type player instead of just going all out upfield. Gary is being compared to an Everson Griffen type of the Vikings.

Clelin Ferrell of Clemson is the other edge rusher that will be there at number five. Some mock drafts have Ferrell going in the 10-15 range, so taking him with the fifth pick may be a bit of a reach.

Ferrell has good size at 6-5 265 and a 4.78 in the 40. Ferrell is coming off a monster season in which he had 55 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles as Clemson won their second national championship in three years.

Ferrell has the complete package of speed, size and strength, the intangibles that all teams value.

The weakness of Ferrell would be his acceleration speed and his 40 time is very average for a guy that will be asked to drop into coverage.

Last season the Bucs sack leaders were Jason Pierre-Paul who had 12.5 sacks and Carl Nassib who fished with 6.5 sacks.

The Bucs could certainly use a player like Ferrell to take the pressure of Pierre-Paul and Nassib.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports