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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Point-Counterpoint: Which Player Would You Steal from Another NFC South Roster?

The final debate in our Fourth of July week series turns piratical, as Brianna Dix and Scott Smith argue about which player from another roster in the NFC South would be best to steal for the Bucs own depth chart in 2023


Today, as we wrap up our Fourth of July week of Tampa Bay Buccaneers-related debates between me and Staff Writer/Reporter Brianna Dix, we're going to embrace our inner pirates and go steal some loot from a division rival. Loot, that is, in the form of a player we're going to swipe off an opposing team in the NFC South roster and stash him in the treasure chest that is the Buccaneers' roster.

That's the idea for our fifth and final Point-Counterpoint discussion: Which single player would you like to pluck off the roster of the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints to make the Buccaneers a better team in 2023? If it happens to significantly weaken that other team, that's a bonus.

There are a few ground rules. First, we're taking quarterbacks off the board. Given that Bryce Young was just the first pick in the entire draft and the Buccaneers' quarterback situation for the new future is unsettled, the new Panthers passer would be too obvious of a choice. Second, the goal is to help the Bucs win this year. For instance, it might be nice to grab Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (and put his locker far away from Mike Evans' locker), but the Bucs are currently set at outside cornerback with Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean. And third, we don't have to take the salary cap into consideration.

We've been at this debate thing all week. If you want to catch up on our other topics of discussion, here was the whole schedule:

Monday, July 3: Which Buccaneer player will make the biggest leap in his performance in 2023?

Tuesday, July 4: If Tampa Bay, hypothetically, doesn't win its third straight NFC South title, which team will?

Wednesday, July 5: Which Buccaneer player do you predict will win a significant individual award this season?

Thursday, July 6: What is one statistic you hope to see regarding the Buccaneers by the end of the 2023 season?

Friday, July 7: What one player would you like to steal from another NFC South roster to add to the Bucs' roster?

We won't be duplicating choices this week, so the order that Brianna and I get to attack this question in matters. We've each gone first twice so far and now we're back to Brianna getting the opening pick. Who are you stealing from a division rival, Dread Pirate Dix, and why?

Brianna Dix: RB Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons

Well Captain Jolly Roger, I am going to poach multi-faceted weapon Cordarrelle Patterson from the Atlanta Falcons. Patterson would give Dave Canales a versatile playmaker to bolster both the run and pass game in 2023. The Falcons' offense is predicated on the ground game with inside zone, outside zone, pulls, screens and sweeps, along with quarterback rollouts. In an RPO-based, play-action-centric system, the Falcons strive to generate yards after the catch. Both Patterson and Tyler Allgeier have become catalysts for Atlanta.

Patterson, the Falcons' do-it-all phenom, is a nightmare for defenses to prepare for because on any play, he can line up in various roles: kick return, out of the backfield as a running back, as an H-back, or as a receiver. With an elite size/speed profile, Patterson possesses an imposing run-after catch prowess. He is a shifty runner with suddenness in and out of his breaks. He is a challenge to bring down in the open field once he gets a head of steam. Patterson would create a dynamic tandem with second-year player Rachaad White, complementing the Bucs' rushing attack in 2023.

The Buccaneers only had to face Patterson once last season after an injury sidelined him in Week Five, the first 2022 meeting between the two clubs. This time around in a hypothetical scenario, the Buccaneers will acquire a player that has caused fits on the opposing side. In Tampa Bay's revamped offense under Canales, with a heavier emphasis on movement with misdirection, jet sweeps, mid zone and outside zone, Patterson would add another dimension to the mix. So, Captain, what player will you steal?

Scott Smith: OLB Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers

Well, I did not see that coming, either the pick of Patterson or my pirate nickname. Now I have to explain to the public that my first name is actually Roger so that you're joke works. Thanks a lot, Bri. I've kept that under wraps for a long time.

The only thing I would say in response to the Patterson pick is that I'm not sure how much losing him would really hurt the Falcons in 2023. He has been great for them for the past two years, to be sure, but I would imagine he's now third on the backfield depth chart behind Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier, and as a receiver he only had 21 catches for 122 yards last year. I might feel a little better about adding him to the Bucs' roster if we could convince him to become a full-time kick returner again.

As for me, I made a list of possible options and then narrowed it down to five candidates: tackle Taylor Moton and edge rusher Brian Burns from the Panthers; guard Chris Lindstrom from the Falcons; and wide receiver Chris Olave and tackle Ryan Ramczyk from the Saints. I like the idea of adding an established and well-regarded right tackle in either Moton or Ramczyk, which would allow the Bucs to potentially start Luke Goedeke in a different spot, but in the end I think the Bucs are fine with Goedeke out there. That leaves me with an edge rusher, a receiver or a guard. Hmm.

I'm going to eliminate Lindstrom, even though he might be the best player on my list overall. The Bucs have a plan at both guard spots right now, so at most we're talking about an upgrade there. With either Olave or Burns the Bucs could play them in addition to their established options at wide receiver or edge rusher. Olave is very, very tempting as another option, along with Russell Gage, to join Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in three and four-receiver sets. Olave played about a third of his rookie snaps in the slot, so there would be versatility there with either him or Godwin on the inside on any given play. And the former Ohio State star was excellent as a rookie, ranking seventh among qualifying players with 2.5 yards per route run. I think he's going to be a breakout star in 2023.

All that said, I'm going to swipe Burns off the Panthers' roster, with the idea that you can never have enough quality edge rush depth. Burns has 38.0 sacks over his first four seasons in the league, including 12.5 last year, when he made his second straight Pro Bowl. He had 22 quarterback hits overall and 17 tackles for loss. The Buccaneers are hoping for a full return to form from Shaq Barrett after his 2022 Achilles tendon injury and think Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is poised for a bump in production. Anthony Nelson, re-signed in the offseason, is a nice rotation piece, too, and 2023 draft picks Yaya Diaby and Jose Ramirez have a lot of potential. There's still a decent number of question marks in those last couple sentences, though, while Burns is pretty much a sure thing. And given that he's the only Panther who had more than seven sacks last year, removing him from Carolina's defensive equation would be a big bonus.

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