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June 25, 2011 @ 7:42 am
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Top 5 Bucs On The Bubble

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


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Which players are going to be in a tough fight to make the team in 2011? Which recent Tampa Bay draft pick makes the list? Find out right here.
Every year in training camp and the preseason some vicious roster fights take place. This year will be no different and the training camp battles will be even more important as the coaching staff has not had the benefit of OTAs (organized team activities) to help evaluate the roster. With that in mind, Pewter Report takes a look at the top five players on the Bucs roster that are on the bubble heading into training camp.

Dotson’s standing entering training camp is largely dependent on if the team re-signs veteran right tackle Jeremy Trueblood. If the veteran Trueblood is coming back Dotson is going to have to battle backup Will Barker for a roster spot. The Bucs have been high on Dotson’s long-term potential, but the inexperienced Dotson is a player that really suffered from the lockout and not being able to work with the coaching staff. Dotson has only played football for a few years and was new to offensive tackle when he came to Tampa Bay. To make matters worse, he lost the 2010 season to a torn ACL. To his credit, Dotson took advantage of the rehab time to hit the weight room hard, and over the 2010 season he added more muscle to his upper body. Barker has a lot more experience and was solid in practice throughout the 2010 season. If Trueblood is not re-signed then Dotson and Barker figure to be in good shape to be the backups to starting left tackle Donald Penn and the favorite to start at right tackle, James Lee. If Trueblood is re-signed, Barker and Dotson will fight for one roster spot.

Entering training camp the Bucs appear to have three safeties in strong positions to make the team. They are Sean Jones, Cody Grimm and Ahmad Black. Fighting for the fourth and likely final roster spot at safety will be Lynch and Larry Asante. Last year Lynch recorded 24 tackles and one interception on defense. Judging by the team’s excitement around Asante this offseason, he probably would be the favorite entering training camp. The 6-foot, 210-pound Asante brings more run defense and hitting ability over Lynch. The third-year pro Lynch (6-foot, 206) has better ball skills. The outside competitor is Vince Anderson, who would most likely have to beat out Lynch and Asante to make the team. Anderson projects more to the practice squad. Veteran Tanard Jackson will be suspended for all of training camp, the preseason and the first two games of the regular season so he doesn’t figure into the competition. Lynch forced his way onto the roster with a dynamic preseason in 2010, and likely will have to do so again. Lynch is aided by his special teams prowess, he had 18 special teams tackles in 2010, which was third on the team behind Dekoda Watson (19) and Adam Hayward (20).

Lumpkin found his way onto the Bucs roster after impressing Tampa Bay with his preseason performance with the Green Bay Packers. The 5-foot-11, 228-pound Lumpkin was being trained to be an Earnest Graham type hybrid running back and fullback. He was active for 11 games in 2010 and was used almost exclusively on special teams. On offense he had one carry for zero yards. The 27-year old Lumpkin will have his chances at a roster spot greatly affected by the team’s decision on whether to re-sign veteran running back Cadillac Williams. If Williams comes back Lumpkin will have to beat out draft pick Allen Bradford. That could be a tough proposition for Lumpkin when comparing the skill sets for wach player, but Lumpkin has a huge leg up on Bradford in terms of knowing the offensive and special teams playbook. If Williams is not re-signed then Lumpkin has a much better shot at being on the Buccaneers roster, and may even be the backup running back.

The drafting of Florida Atlantic cornerback Antony Gaitor puts Mack’s roster spot on precarious ground. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Mack struggled as the nickel corner in 2009, and since then he has been on the roster bubble. Mack recorded 11 tackles last season as the dime cornerback. A suspension or release of cornerback Aqib Talib would aide Mack greatly in being on the roster, but that could be a temporary band-aid. Including Talib, the Bucs have their top four cornerbacks set with Ronde Barber, E.J. Biggers, and Myron Lewis. That would leave Mack to battle to make the team with Gaitor and D.J. Johnson. Given the team’s excitement and the draft pick investment status, Gaitor would probably enter the competition as a favorite. Helping Mack’s cause is his special teams experience.

Moore is going to have to fight his butt off to make the team. The 2009 fourth-rounder Moore was given the starting left defensive end spot prior to the 2010 season but didn’t produce and was held to zero sacks with 29 tackles and two fumble recoveries. After starting seven games Moore was placed on injured reserve. Tampa Bay plans on rookies Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers being their long-term starters. The Bucs like Michael Bennett as their third end. That leaves Moore (6-5, 272) having to beat out Alex Magee, George Johnson, Brandon Gilbeaux, Doug Worthington and E.J. Wilson for the final roster spot. The group could also include veteran end Tim Crowder if he is re-signed. Right now Magee and Crowder are the favorites to be the fourth end. Magee (6-3, 298) was acquired in a trade last year and the Bucs like his size, skill set and run defense. Moore is going to have to have a dominant training camp in order to make the team.
Last modified on Saturday, 25 June 2011 09:48

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  • avatar

    A majority of the Bucs draft picks should make the roster such as both DE's and both TE's. To put it mildly they all have a legitimate chance to make it IMHO. Also, it could be just a matter of time, before we make some major noise in the playoffs. Why not start this year? It definitely wouldn't hurt. Go Bucs!!! Raheem needs an extension pretty soon why not give it to him after the season regardless of the outcome? If the coaching staff hasn't been extended, they need it as well. The GM did a heck of a job on draft day give him an extension too. Go Bucs!!!
  • avatar

    It's a good list. Need a CBA to know how large the roster can be. FA to see how much more competition there will be. Some reports are there could be 90 man camp rosters allowed. Tough year to come out as a rookie, or to be in need of a new contract--and obviously to be a fan of football when there isn't any.
  • avatar

    Man, I wish Lynch could drop the hammer at 1/2 the weight of his namesake. That would make his viability much more likely but alas he's a "ball skills" guy. I do like the man. He's a really solid person, so I wish there was a way but he's going to have to stick his nose in on run defense much more than he's used to in this preseason to have a hope of making it. Please put us out of any Moore misery.
  • avatar

    I still think Ernest Graham is on the "bubble" considering his age and injury history.
  • avatar

    Isn't Dotson eligible for the practice squad ? Moore is history IMHO.
  • avatar

    That these guys are on the bubble demonstrates how much the roster has been upgraded. I like Dotson's athleticism and would like to see him with the team. Moore has been a big disappointment. Mack gets credit for his determination. Lynch just doesn't have the goods. Not sure why Lumpkin is even on the roster.
  • avatar

    The only guy I even care a little bit about of these 5 is Moore. That's only because I dont really like any of those other DEs to be any better than him and that fact that hes young. Knowing Clayborn, Bowers, and Bennett are the top 3, I would rather us resign Crowder. But if not I say we keep Kyle Moore. With him being young, who knows these new D-line coaches could make him much better.
  • avatar

    He has shown ZERO signs of improvement in 2 years. On top of that he is another in a LONG list of USC products who don't seem to cut it or have the work ethic to cut. I would much rather keep Crowder and if they keep a 5th, MaGee. I think White and Moore are gone. I think Lynch is definately gone. I think Lumpkin is gone. I think Dotson and Mack depend on Trueblood and Talib. Mack may stay for a few games and then fade off. If Trueblood does not want too much, he is probably back. Barker stays along with Lee and Penn that is 4. I think Dotson is gone unless he can go practice squad.
  • avatar

    All these guys are gone, Lynch is a good special teamer but he will lose the numbers game in the safety spot
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