With NFL draft complete, Tampa Bay Bucs fans just have one question: Are we a playoff team?

April 28, 2013 

"I know we are a better team."

Those were the best words head coach Greg Schiano could offer his team's long suffering fan base after his Tampa Bay Buccaneers closed the door on the 2013 NFL draft.

Oh, he talked about schemes and character and how they are joined at the hips.

But Buc fans want more. They have a right to demand more.

The draft is over, free agency is done and Darrelle Revis now has a Tampa zip code.

Schiano and Bucs GM Mark Dominik talked about length and athleticism and personal intangibles after picking their final four players Saturday.

It sounded good, like the first day of spring training always rings heavenly on the ears.

But the only question on the minds of the Buc sufferers is whether this team is playoff ready.

Can it compete for the post season? Can it win in January?

"April is a tough month to ask that question," Schiano said. "I believe we made ourselves better. We let some opportunities get away from us last year. We need to get to work. As is always the case time is our enemy. It's not the other 31 teams."

Going into his second year as the Bucs head man, Schiano said next year's fate could be determined by how long it takes to get all the new faces accustomed to playing his way.

"It's the clock and how fast can these talented rookies ready to play and newcomers we acquired who need to get on board with our schemes," the coach said. "That's going to be the challenge, as Mark said we are building it our way with our kind of people. I know we made ourselves better."

The clock is also running for Schiano and Dominik; you just can't spin it any other way. If this class doesn't live up to expectations and a disappointing season follows the unemployment line might include their names.

If a team doesn't make itself better after the draft most owners start lining up heads for their guillotine.

Last year's draft turned out to be a treasure chest for the Bucs giving them quality starters in Mark Barron, Doug Martin and Lavonte David.

The jury is out on this one. It would be hard to match the '12 grab bag unless you throw in the Revis trade. The Bucs gave up their first round pick for the former New York Jets cornerback. For them that's when the draft started.

If Revis returns to full health he is better than the seventh overall pick the Bucs used for Barron.

After that it gets tricky.

Schiano wanted to focus on the character of his 2013 class.

"They are individuals so everybody has their own plusses and minuses. They certainly have some physical traits we are looking for beyond a shadow of a doubt, but it's the kind of people they are," Schiano said.

The coach wants what he calls selfless guys who will put the team ahead of themselves. He said he got them in this draft.

"I think we found a bunch of guys who really fit into what we are and that to me is important. In the clutch you know you can count on the guy next to you," Schiano said.

The Bucs opened themselves up for criticism in Friday's third round when they picked quarterback Mike Glennon a project guy who you can't help but feel was Schiano's idea.

They tried to right the ship Saturday with three of their four picks going to pass rushers starting with Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence. He has ability to play the three technique and nose tackle and can play next to All Pro Gerald McCoy or back him up.

Also joining the Bucs in the fourth round was Michigan State defensive end William Gholston, a massive 6-6, 281pounder who is said to have first round talent, but a questionable work ethic. It raises questions when Schiano talks about the character of his new guys.

In the fifth round the Bucs went against the grain by taking Buffalo linebacker Steve Means who Schiano said would play defensive end and add much needed depth there behind Adrian Clayborn and DaQuan Bowers.

"He (Means) might be a little bit off your radar but not off ours. We put in a lot of time with him and are excited about him being a developing pass rusher. Anytime you can draft a pass rusher you don't want to pass him up," Dominik said. "Gholston is big and long with length, power and strength. That pick in terms of quality and where you are taking him is very exciting."

In the sixth round, the Bucs picked up Miami running back Mike James who Dominik compares to Earnest Graham. They shipped out LeGarrette Blount to New England for the rights to former Florida speedster Jeff Demps in a move that creates a lot of intrigue and enabled them to get James.

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