The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already had one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the NFL in Gerald McCoy.
Yet on March 14, they signed run-stuffing former Philadelphia Eagles interior defensive lineman Beau Allen. On March 17, they signed former Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. Then on March 22, the Bucs traded for high-profile New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
And on Thursday, Tampa Bay used the No. 12 pick in the draft on monster-sized former Washington nose tackle Vita Vea.
It’s fair to say the Bucs are revamping their defensive line, and it’s also fair to say they’re doing so by essentially copying the defending Super Bowl champions.
Seven Eagles defensive linemen played at least 400 snaps last season, with ends Brandon Graham, Curry, Chris Long and Derek Barnett and tackles Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Allen all playing major roles during Philly’s playoff run. Two of those players have now been poached by the Bucs as part of their quest to recreate those dynamics, and other teams are going down the same path.
The Los Angeles Rams signed Ndamukong Suh despite already having Aaron Donald. The Washington Redskins used a top-15 pick on Da’Ron Payne, even though they took Jonathan Allen 17th overall a year ago. The Denver Broncos used a top-five pick on Bradley Chubb despite already having Von Miller and Derek Wolfe. The New Orleans Saints sold the farm to move up in the draft for raw UTSA product Marcus Davenport, even though Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins are on the roster.
Defensive linemen are cooler than ever, and teams are no longer satisfied with having one lead pass-rusher and one beefy dude eating space inside. The Eagles revealed in 2017 that a better strategy is to employ at least a handful of dudes up front, all with different strengths that can be utilized best if they aren’t on the field every down.