First-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith is trying to reunite with as many of his players he coached with the Chicago Bears, including Charles Tillman, Devin Hester and Josh McCown, but the biggest name they are pursuing, both literally and figuratively, is defensive tackle Henry Melton.
Melton flourished under Lovie after the Bears drafted him in the fourth round out of Texas and made the Pro Bowl in 2012 after he had six sacks. He had seven sacks the year before and looked like he was on his way to developing into one of the premier “three-techniques” in the NFL, but suffered a torn ACL in the third game of the 2013 season.
The Buccaneers have been a big player early in free agency having signed defensive end Michael Johnson and defensice tackle Clinton McDonald to give Gerald McCoy some support on the defensice line. A potential addition of Melton would suddenly give Tampa one of the best lines in the NFL and would allow them to take the best player available in May’s draft as opposed to being pigeon-holed into taking a defensive lineman/pass-rusher.