Revis trade sets course for Buccaneers draft
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers feel they've already had a strong draft.
Landing three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis in exchange for the 13th overall pick of the first round not only addressed the team's biggest need, but offers general manager Mark Dominik and coach Greg Schiano some flexibility in the team's approach in later rounds.
The acquisition of Revis from the New York Jets won't necessarily preclude the Bucs from seeking more help for what figures to be a much improved secondary, however it does enhance the prospect of targeting a tight end, change-of-pace running back or maybe even a quarterback before pursuing additional reinforcements for the defense.
''There are always going to be areas that need to be addressed. You can stack up Lombardi trophies, and when you evaluate the tape you still need this and you need that,'' Schiano said.
''As an organization we're building a team and an organization to the vision of what kind of men do we want in here, what kind of players and people, And I'm pleased that we're going in the right direction,'' the second-year coach added. ''It's one step at a time and sometimes you don't get everything you want. It doesn't always unfold the way you want. But I'm pleased with the direction we're headed.''
Tampa Bay's interest in Revis was well known. Not only did the Bucs finish last in the NFL in pass defense while nearly setting a record for passing yards allowed in 2012, but they were more than $32 million below the salary cap before striking a six-year, $96 million deal with the star cornerback that includes no guaranteed money.
Whether the 27-year-old Revis wound up with the Bucs or not, he figured to chart the course of the team's draft.
Without the trade, Dominik and Schiano may have been forced to consider taking a cornerback, perhaps Florida State's Xavier Rhodes, at No. 13. With Revis aboard, the Bucs aren't scheduled to have another selection until the 11th pick of the second round - No. 43 overall.
Adding more pieces around quarterback Josh Freeman, who became the franchise's first 4,000-yard passer last season, isn't out of the question.
Schiano has shown the inclination for playing rookies, with them - Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, safety Mark Barron and linebacker Lavonte David - moving right into the starting lineup after being drafted in the first two rounds a year ago.
And, there's still a good chance that at some point Friday or Saturday, the team will select a cornerback who might be capable of competing for a starting job opposite of Revis.
''We were fortunate last year. You look at something that usually doesn't happen. You have three rookies come in and start all 16 games,'' Schiano said.
''It might be a little naive to say, `Let's go do it again.' But you really want to get guys that are capable of coming in here, especially with those early picks. If they aren't starting, they are playing a substantial role on Sundays. That's the goal.''
With the exception of signing safety Dashon Goldson, who was an All-Pro in San Francisco last season, the Bucs didn't make much of a splash in free agency. It remains uncertain how his addition will impact the future of Ronde Barber, who made the transition from cornerback to safety in 2012.
Barber is a free agent and has not told the team if he'd like to return for a 17th season.
''We've been in communication but there's no developments,'' Schiano said last week. ''It's just kind of where it is, which is fine. It's kind of where we left it and we'll continue to keep in communication. Certainly there is no silence or anything. It's just the process of figuring it out.''