Bucs trade for Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon

This move is an obvious attempt to fill the hole left by Vita Vea.

click to enlarge Bucs trade for Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon
Photo via Tampa Bay Bucs

The Bucs have dealt their 2020 sixth-round pick to the New York Jets for defensive tackle Steve McLendon.

This move is an obvious attempt to fill the hole left by Vita Vea, as Vea suffered a season-ending injury in the Bucs’ loss to the Bears last Thursday. 

While McLendon is not a household name and will not fill Vea’s shoes as an elite run-stopper, he is a very solid replacement, especially considering the Bucs only had to give up a sixth-rounder. 

The Bucs are in win-now mode with TB12 under center, and this move is a bit of an insurance package, as they have a solid D-line (the unit racked up five sacks in Sunday’s rout of the Green Bay Packers), but with as many injuries that are happening around the NFL, it never hurts to have some depth. 

McLendon will likely have to wait until the Bucs’ matchup with the New York Giants in Week 8, as McLendon has to go through COVID-19 protocols in order to be cleared to play. 

As for the Bucs’ matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday, their defense will again be tested.

The Raiders have one of the most potent offenses in the league, ranking sixth in both points and total yards. Derek Carr seems to have figured out how to play in Jon Gruden’s offensive system, as he has 11 TD’s and only 1 interception. But, you know who else had similarly impressive numbers going into a matchup with the Bucs? Aaron Rodgers. You know who was straight up not having a good time against the Bucs’ monster pass rush? Aaron Rodgers. 

Defensively is where the Raiders struggle. They have given up 30 points per game up to this point, and their defense is equally average against both the run and the pass. Look for a more well-balanced attack this week, following the run-heavy approach the Bucs took last week. I could see Brady picking apart a very suspect Raider secondary led by Lamarcus Joyner (a solid player, but after him it gets rough). If the Bucs can give TB12 time, The GOAT will have a big day. 

The similarities between the Raiders and the Packers are exciting (both have explosive offenses and average-at-best defenses), but coming off such a huge victory don’t be surprised if the Bucs have a letdown game. My guess is that the Bucs fall in a close contest, 28-24. 

Hey, I was wrong last week too, and my confidence in this pick is pretty low. The Bucs are a well-rounded team and can hold their own against anyone, but this Raiders team is sneaky good, and Jon Gruden may be looking to impress against his former team. Hopefully the Bucs don’t let him. Now, how about those Rays? 

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