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August 31, 2014 @ 8:46 pm
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2014 Bucs' 53-Man Roster Breakdown And Analysis

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just one week away from their season opener against the Carolina Panthers and have settled – for now – on their 53-man roster. PewterReport.com breaks down all positions and analyzes each player.
The Buccaneers settled on their 53-man roster on Sunday, and while it is still subject to chance before the season opener, PewterReport.com takes a look at the 53 players that were selected to represent Lovie Smith's first season as head coach in Tampa Bay.

QUARTERBACKS – 2
QB Josh McCown
McCown was named the opening day starter when he was signed as free agent. He clearly beat out Mike Glennon in the preseason by completing over 70 percent of his passes and throwing two touchdowns, although there never was a real competition. The journeyman QB is entering his 13th season in the NFL, and the Bucs are hoping his 2013 success as a part-time starter in Chicago carries over to 2014.

QB Mike Glennon
Bucs' management remains high on Glennon, a third-rounder from 2013. Tampa Bay is hoping that sitting behind a veteran like McCown will benefit the 13-game starter during his rookie season. Glennon showed signs of improvement in camp and this preseason but the jury is still out on whether is he is the long-term solution at the QB position for the franchise.

RUNNING BACKS – 4
RB Doug Martin
Martin is coming off shoulder surgery that ended his 2013 season prematurely, but he showed no ill effects in the preseason. Martin was going to be spelled often by rookie Charles Sims until an ankle injury nixed those plans. Martin hopes to regain his 2012 rookie form that saw the former Boise State star run for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns.

RB Bobby Rainey
Rainey may be Bucs' main return specialist this season in addition to being Martin’s backup. He was a surprise fill-in star in the the second half of the 2013 season after injuries to Martin and Mike James and rushed for over 500 yards and five touchdowns. Rainey brings quickness and acceleration to the Bucs' backfield.

RB Mike James
The former Hurricane didn’t stand out in preseason, but his versatility and experience last year helped his cause to make the squad, in addition to his special teams value. James, a north-south runner, injured his shoulder in the preseason, but should be ready to go for season opener against Panthers.

RB Charles Sims
Sims, a third-round pick, was expected to contribute early and often in offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offense, but ankle injury and surgery will keep the rookie on the sidelines until at least Week 10. He was placed on the team's IR list with a designation to return.

FULLBACK – 1
Jorvorskie Lane
Lane is a mammoth fullback that impressed Tedford and head coach Lovie Smith since joining the Bucs this offseason with his blocking and receiving ability. Lane has deceptive quickness and is just as valuable as an outlet receiver as he is as a lead blocker.

WIDE RECEIVERS – 6
WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson, a team captain, was the clear cut No. 1 receiver for the Bucs this season. He is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons and is expected to be McCown’s favorite target, a leader on offense and a mentor to rookie Mike Evans.

WR Mike Evans
The team's first-round draft pick this year struggled through parts of camp, but came on late for Bucs in the preseason games. Smith said Evans has been everything Tampa Bay expected when they drafted him No. 7 overall last May. He will team up with Jackson to give Tampa Bay the NFL's two tallest receiving duo.

WR Louis Murphy
The veteran receiver and St. Petersburg native showed experience and savvy pass catching skills in camp. Murphy may be best route runner not named Jackson in the receivers room, and has the speed necessary to stretch opposing defenses.

WR Chris Owusu
Owusu is of the fastest receivers on the roster and dazzled in practice. He didn’t show up in the preseason games but matured considerably over last season and could see time as team’s third receiver.

WR Robert Herron
The rookie was very inconsistent with his hands in camp but no one questions his excellent athleticism. The Bucs were most likely afraid he wouldn’t have cleared waivers to be placed on the practice squad.

WR Russell Shepard
One of the surprises on the 53-man roster, Shepard was virtually nonexistent for the most part this camp, but is a key special teams performer and must continue to excel in that area.

TIGHT ENDS – 3
Brandon Myers
Myers, a steady, versatile tight end. Doesn’t do anything spectacular but Tampa Bay's coaches know they can trust the former Raiders and Giants starter with being consistent and prepared week in and week out. He can block and catch the ball well.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The former Huskies star started behind the eight ball after joining the team’s offseason work late due to school obligations, but he is unquestionably the most athletic tight end on the roster. It's only a matter of time before he becomes the team's starter, and he could be a big red zone threat for Bucs’ offense as a rookie.

Luke Stocker
An afterthought of many when offseason workouts began, Stocker was able to make it through camp healthy, which is something he has been unable to do during his career. He will see the field as primarily a blocker, but has underrated hands.

OFFENSIVE LINE – 10
LT Anthony Collins
Collins takes over for long-time standout Donald Penn, who was released by Smith and Jason Licht last spring. Collins has a nice combination of size, athleticism and a bit of a nastiness to his game. The former Bengals star will become a 16-game starter for the first time and is crucial to the Bucs' offensive success in 2014 and beyond.

LG Logan Mankins
The Bucs recently traded for Mankins, a six-time Pro Bowler, and he will be counted on to solidify a shaky offensive line. Mankins should provide leadership for a young offensive line, Yet at age 32, he is not considered to be a long-term solution at guard, but he's a huge upgrade over other guards on the roster.

C Evan Dietrich-Smith
Dietrich-Smith only started 16 games at center last season, but he was a solid player for the Packers. The Bucs are hoping Dietrich-Smith is an upgrade over former starter Jeremy Zuttah, who was traded to Baltimore in the offseason. Dietrich-Smith has already shown leadership in his first few months in Tampa Bay.

RG Patrick Omameh
Omameh could be the opening day starter at right guard for the Bucs when the season kicks off next Sunday. Steady but raw, Omameh is all about football and little else, but will be pushed by Rishaw Johnson and possibly Garrett Gilkey for the starting job.

RT Demar Dotson
Likely the most consistent and steady offensive lineman on the roster, Dotson is poised to push for Pro Bowl consideration in 2014. He can play both tackle positions and would most likely flip to the left side if Collins were to go down to injury.

G Rishaw Johnson
The Bucs were intrigued by Johnson’s athleticism and traded for him during the preseason. He will be coached up hard and given every opportunity to lineup next to Dotson as the starting right guard.

G Oniel Cousins
Initially signed to provide depth, Cousins was forced into the starting lineup after Carl Nicks was unable to return from injury and no one took hold of either guard position during OTAs and training camp. The Bucs like Cousins better as a backup than a starter.

G Kadeem Edwards
The fifth-rounder showed flashes of why the Buccaneers took a chance on the small-school product. He told PewterReport.com last week camp was tougher than he expected but knows he is getting better. Edwards is possibly a future starter but not ready to contribute just yet.

OT Kevin Pamphile
Also a 2014 draft pick, Pamphile showed enough for the Buccaneers to keep him on the active roster as a swing tackle over Jamon Meredith. Like Edwards, Pamphile is a raw talent who may be part of the team’s future but will need more polish.

G Garrett Gilkey
A former Browns seventh-rounder, who started only one game in 2013 for Cleveland, Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop liked Gilkey last year in Cleveland. He could push for starting position as the season progresses and he learns the offense.

DEFENSIVE LINE – 9
LE Adrian Clayborn
Clayborn will be given first shot to be the starter on the left side opposite free agent defensive end Michael Johnson, who will be the edge rusher at right end. Clayborn’s high motor impressed Smith and line coach Joe Cullen. He is in the final year of original rookie contract and could have big season for Buccaneers.

UT Gerald McCoy
McCoy is the leader of the Bucs defense and is playing the important under tackle position in the Tampa 2. He is coming off a 9.5-sack season, and most expect the two-time Pro Bowler to exceed the number this year. He should be helped by a one-gap scheme which allows pass rushers to play on instinct and utilize their strengths. He is entering the final year of his contract but has repeated to the media that it isn’t a distraction.

NT Clinton McDonald
A free agent signing from Seattle, McDonald is expected to be a huge asset for McCoy with his skill and quickness. Tampa Bay's coaches have raved about McDonald’s leadership and talent, and he's held off a stiff challenge from Akeem Spence at the nose tackle position. McDonald also has the ability to play the under tackle position in a pinch.

RE Michael Johnson
Johnson had a disappointing 2013 season statistically speaking with just 3.5 sacks, but the Buccaneers still made Johnson a free agent priority. The success of Tampa Bay’s new scheme is predicated by pressure from the front four, and the Bucs are hoping Johnson returns to his 2012 form that saw him notch 11 QB takedowns. Smith has said he needs Johnson to be a double-digit sacker.

DE William Gholston
The former Spartan was banged up in the preseason with a shoulder injury, but his size and athleticism is intriguing to the Bucs coaching staff. Gholston showed flashes late last season after struggling to grasp Bill Sheridan and Greg Schiano’s complicated scheme and was really competing with Clayborn for playing time before he got hurt.

NT Akeem Spence
Spence made a big jump from his rookie season to showing a greater awareness around the football this preseason. One of the stronger – if not the strongest – linemen on the team, Spence will be part of the defensive rotation and backup to McDonald this year.

DE Steven Means
Means also spent part of the preseason banged up limiting his playing time in games, but was having an excellent training camp prior to being injured. Still raw, Means does possess good speed and power to be an effective edge rusher, and he's also a key member of Tampa Bay's special teams.

DE Scott Solomon
A high-motor football player, Solomon was one of the surprises this preseason, notching two sacks. Solomon isn’t the biggest defensive lineman, but his work ethic and effort impressed the defensive coaching staff – and also Smith.

UT Da’Quan Bowers
Many thought it would be difficult for Bowers to make it out of camp after a disappointing three seasons, but after being moved to the inside early in camp, the former Clemson star showed a touch of versatility that helped him hang on to a roster spot. Bowers needs to get healthy soon, and after missing practice since Week 1 of the preseason, his conditioning could be an issue, which is something that has caused trouble for Bowers in the past.

LINEBACKERS – 5
WLB Lavonte David
David, who may be even more valuable to the Bucs defense than McCoy, is incredibly athletic, smart and motivated. He is poised for a season in which his play cannot be ignored like it was in 2013 when he didn’t make the Pro Bowl after arguably the best season from a linebacker in Bucs' history. David should produce even better numbers in 2014 in Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s Tampa 2 defensive scheme.

MLB Mason Foster
Foster slimmed down considerably and was noticeably faster and more agile this training camp than in previous years. He's also improved his coverage ability, which is crucial in the Tampa 2 defense. Like McCoy and Clayborn, Foster is in a contract year and is eager to prove his worth around the NFL.

SLB Jonathan Casillas
Smith and Licht signed very few of the Buccaneers’ own free agent last spring but made retaining Casillas a priority. The former Saints strongside linebacker took over midway through last season playing well before a knee injury sidelined him late in the year. He brings speed to the defense and special teams.

MLB Dane Fletcher
Not a highly celebrated free agent signing last spring, Fletcher showed the Bucs coaching staff his value in the preseason playing well as Foster’s backup, while also excelling on special teams. He hasn’t been a full-time starter at linebacker in his career but should a more than capable backup if Foster were to go down with an injury in 2014.

SLB Danny Lansanah
The path to an NFL roster has been a struggle for Lansanah but he appears to have finally found a home in Tampa Bay. Like Foster, Lansanah slimmed down at the urging of Smith, and showed the staff he is capable of playing all three linebacker positions if need be.

CORNERBACKS – 6
CB Alterraun Verner
Verner is a perfect fit in the Tampa 2 scheme with his ability to play zone while also coming up and being physical in run support. A hamstring injury early in training camp severely limited his playing time, but the veteran is expected to be in the starting lineup next Sunday against Carolina.

CB Mike Jenkins
The former USF and Manatee County native, like Verner, saw little action in training camp because of injury and may still not be ready to start the season. The Buccaneers planned to plug Jenkins in opposite Verner in the secondary, but second-year player Johnthan Banks got the majority of reps in camp and most likely will be the starter at cornerback next Sunday.

CB Johnthan Banks
Banks, who got extensive playing time as a rookie in 2013 most likely will line up as a starter next week and has earned that right after a solid training camp and preseason. Banks' tall, 6-foot-2 frame and above-average tackling ability appears to be a good fit in Smith’s defensive scheme.

NCB Leonard Johnson
It is hard to believe Johnson had to prove himself in a weekend tryout after not being drafted following his senior season at Iowa State in 2012, but not only did he make the team, he was a contributor as a rookie. Smith has spoken highly of Johnson often since becoming the Bucs head coach last January, and many think Smith sees a bit of former Bucs' great Ronde Barber when we watches Johnson play.

NCB Quinton Pointer
Pointer made the most of his limited playing time this camp to secure the backup nickel corner role. He has the ability to make plays on the ball and is quicker than Johnson.

CB Rashaan Melvin
Melvin, like Pointer proved his worth going back to offseason workouts last spring and has been a steady performer who plays intelligent football. The Bucs love his 6-foot-2 size.

SAFETIES - 4
SS Mark Barron
One of the more physical safeties in the NFC, Barron is also getting better in pass coverage. Dependable and smart, Barron is a perfect fit in this defense and should provide excellent run support when called on. Barron missed some time after having offseason surgery, but was able to get enough work in during the preseason to be ready for the season opener next week.

FS Dashon Goldson
No one questions Goldson’s ability lay a hit and be a sound tackler, but can he do it without drawing the ire of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell? Goldson, like Barron, had offseason surgery and missed part of camp recovering, but is ready to step out of the tunnel next Sunday as one of the Bucs starting safeties.

FS Keith Tandy
The release of Major Harris surprised many, but much of it had to do with the play of Tandy in training camp. The former West Virginia cornerback isn’t flashy, but rarely makes mistakes.

SS Bradley McDougald
Banged up and most likely not ready to start the season, Tampa Bay thought highly enough of McDougald’s play in camp and the preseason to keep him on the roster over Major Wright.

SPECIALISTS – 3
P Michael Koenen
Koenen will once again be the punter and holder on placekicks for the Bucs in 2014, but needs to rebound from an average at best 2013 season as he signed as a high-priced free agent in 2011 from the Falcons. Koenen will need a strong year this season retain his job in 2015.

K Patrick Murray
The Buccaneers are taking a gamble going with an unproven first-year kicker, but Murray was impressive during training camp and the preseason and will save the Bucs over $2 million in salary after replacing veteran Connor Barth.

LS Andrew DePaolo
DePaolo beat out Jeremy Cain for a roster spot and takes over the long snapping duties from Andrew Economos this year.

– Scott Reynolds contributed to this report

Last modified on Sunday, 31 August 2014 23:14
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    I hope that Tedford is ok and are we going to have OC week 1. This is like 1985 when Jimmy Raye II the Bucs OC was hospitalized for being hit by a car while he was jogging. Maybe he will be the our savior 29 years later. According to Wikipedia he is the Bucs Senior Offensive Assistant by the way the bucs were 2-14 in 1985. Hey Pewter Report how about digging that up!!!!!
  • avatar


    My guess is that the roster will continue to evolve over the course of this season. Players will be moved on and off the Practice Squad. Thirteen new starters on the team as it stands including our new kicker and long snapper. I know Lovie kind of poo pooed gelling and chemistry of the offensive line; but I think what he would have liked to say is, "If you have two guards that suck, they'll still suck even after the gel has set." Regardless, it will be the play of big guys up front that will determine the fate of this team. The old Tampa 2 was at its' best after they became a cohesive and confident unit that just reacted without thinking. I suspect it will take a few weeks to reach that level of play; but they should be good enough to restrict the scoring while our offense develops. Special Teams during preseason are a blend of players no longer on the team. That too will take some time to become a strength of the team. I have a lot more confidence in Lovie getting the team ready to play the Panthers than I did Schiano preparing to take on the Jets and their rookie QB. Season is finally here! Hey Mark, where's my tee shirt?
  • avatar


    Just what I needed to read this Sunday night! Well done. I feel the biggest weakness going into camp after the Nicks retirement was obviously at guard. Then we saw just how bad it was after the first couple of games. But with some improvement there and the addition of Logan Mankins and the nice pick ups of Garrett Gilkey and Rishaw Johnson there's some hope there. Still worry about either tackle going down but that applies to the entire OL. Really like our defense, the entire defense. The offense will face a tough challenge from the Panthers front 7 but I feel with some blocking, a little time, our WO's and TE's should be able to handles their DB's. I'm jacked, really excited for the season to get underway. IMO a lot rides on the first two games, both at home. Win them and away we go! Anything less.......we're Buccaneer fans, we'll STILL find a way to hope for a playoff spot in January, realistic or not. Again, thanks and a hat tip for the roster review. The best of Pewter Report when needed most.
  • avatar

    Thanks Garv! Appreciate it!
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