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May 14, 2014 @ 2:35 pm
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An Early Look At Bucs' Possible 53-Man Roster

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Where do the new Buccaneers acquired through free agency and the draft fit in on the depth chart? PewterReport.com takes an early look at Tampa Bay's 53-man roster and makes some interesting projections.
The Buccaneers have yet to hold their first OTA (organized team activity), mini-camp or training camp practice yet, but PewterReport.com takes an early stab at what Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster could conceivably look like in September based on what the team accomplished in free agency and the draft. With unforeseen injuries a lot can change prior to the final roster cut-downs, so this exercise should be treated more for entertainment purposes than as an actual prediction.

Starters are marked with an asterisk (*), and there are 12 on offense and defense, including the third wide receiver and the nickel cornerback. There figures to be as many as seven new starters on Tampa Bay’s offense, which was the league’s worst last year, in addition to three new starter on defense.

QUARTERBACKS – 2
*Josh McCown
Mike Glennon


Analysis: We’re not sure if head coach Lovie Smith will keep two or three quarterbacks this year, but McCown and Glennon are obvious locks. Some NFL teams in this day and age only keep two. If the Bucs keep three, don’t be surprised if undrafted free agent rookie Brett Smith beats out Mike Kafka as his scrambling ability has some real appeal in Jeff Tedford’s new offense.

RUNNING BACKS - 5
*Doug Martin
Bobby Rainey
Charles Sims
Jeff Demps
Mike James


Analysis: The Buccaneers may only keep four running backs, but it’s too difficult to pick the odd man out right now. The early guess is James as Martin figures to be the starter with Rainey and Sims, the rookie, vying for playing time. Demps’ speed and versatility is too good to ignore, and he could factor in on offense and on special teams as a punt blocker and a kick returner. If the Bucs keep three quarterbacks, the team definitely will pare down its running back stable to just four backs.

FULLBACKS – 1
Lonnie Pryor


Analysis: The fullback position has become devalued around the NFL with the focus on the passing game, and it’s no different in Tampa Bay. Pryor is a fullback that can block, catch and run, and his versatility, speed and ability to cover kicks and punts on special teams may give him the edge over Jorvorskie Lane. The Bucs also have tight ends like Brandon Myers and Tim Wright that can also serve as lead blockers, so don’t be surprised if the team goes without a true fullback in favor of an extra tight end.

WIDE RECEIVERS – 6
*Vincent Jackson
*Mike Evans
*Louis Murphy
Chris Owusu
Robert Herron
Tommy Streeter


Analysis: Because Tampa Bay may feature five-wide receiver sets on Sundays from time to time, there is the need to keep as many as six receivers on the roster. Jackson, Evans and Streeter give the Bucs three big, rangy wide receivers that stand 6-foot-5, and Murphy, Owusu and Herron bring speed and run-after catch ability. Herron could also win the punt return duties away from Eric Page.

TIGHT ENDS - 3
*Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Brandon Myers
Tim Wright


Analysis: Seferian-Jenkins is instantly the most athletic tight end on the roster and will be given every opportunity to win the starting job. The versatile Myers has plenty of playing experience and could start if called upon. Wright has bulked up to 235 pounds this offseason, but needs to improve his in-line blocking to see a lot of playing time in 2014.

OFFENSIVE LINE - 9
*Anthony Collins
*Carl Nicks
*Evan Dietrich-Smith
*Jamon Meredith
*Demar Dotson
Kevin Pamphile
Oneil Cousins
Jace Daniels
Kadeem Edwards


Analysis: The offensive line could feature as many as four new starters in 2014 with Collins at left tackle, Dietrich-Evans at center, Meredith at one guard and Nicks or Cousins at the other guard spot, depending on if Nicks fully recovers from two toe surgeries in 2013. Dotson is entrenched at right tackle and Pamphile could serve as the team’s swing tackle with Edwards providing depth at guard and Daniels serving as the backup center.

DEFENSIVE LINE – 8
*Michael Johnson
*Gerald McCoy
*Clinton McDonald
*Adrian Clayborn
Akeem Spence
Will Gholston
Matthew Masifilo
Da’Quan Bowers


Analysis: McCoy and McDonald are entrenched as the Mac Attack in the middle at defensive tackle with Johnson at right end and Clayborn at left end. Spence is the reserve nose tackle, while Masifilo is the backup three-technique tackle. Gholston will challenge Clayborn at left end for the starting job and playing time. The final spot on the D-line depth chart will likely come down to Bowers and Steven Means. Don’t be surprised if the oft-injured Bowers, who has been a bust thus far in Tampa Bay, gets beaten out by Means, but the former Buffalo star must improve and become more consistent.

LINEBACKERS – 6
*Lavonte David
*Mason Foster
*Jonathan Casillas
Dane Fletcher
Danny Lansanah
Nate Askew

Analysis:
Tampa Bay typically keeps six linebackers and the starters are set with David, Foster and Casillas. Fletcher was brought in for depth and competition in the middle, while Lansanah, a holdover, brings versatility and backs up Casillas. In a bit of a surprise, Askew, one of its undrafted free agents, makes the team as a weakside linebacker backing up David, beating out Demaso Munoz.

CORNERBACKS – 4
*Alterraun Verner
*Johnthan Banks
Mike Jenkins
Rashaan Melvin


Analysis: The Buccaneers like big cornerbacks and have two 6-foot-2 defenders in Banks, a likely starter, and Melvin, a promising reserve. The other two cornerbacks are 5-foot-10, but come with Pro Bowl credentials in Verner, the team’s shutdown corner, and Jenkins, a former USF grad that will compete with Banks for the right to start. While Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis is gone, Verner is a better fit for the Tampa 2 scheme and is three years younger.

NICKEL CORNERBACKS – 2
*Leonard Johnson
D.J. Moore


Analysis: Tampa Bay will keep a total of six cornerbacks in the pass-happy NFC South, but two of them will be strictly nickel corners. Johnson has spent one year as a nickel with the Buccaneers after a promising rookie season in which he had three interceptions. Moore, who missed the 2013 season due to injury, is well versed in the Tampa 2 after coming over from Chicago where he played for Smith.

SAFETIES – 4
*Dashon Goldson
*Mark Barron
Major Wright
Keith Tandy


Analysis: Goldson and Barron are set as the team’s big starting safeties. Goldson is coming of a so-so debut in Tampa Bay last year as well as offseason ankle surgery. Barron made big strides in 2013 and is poised for greatness in the Tampa 2. Wright played three seasons for Smith in Chicago and knows the defense intimately. Tandy made a splash as a reserve safety last year with three interceptions, and has the intelligence and versatility to play either safety position.

SPECIALISTS – 3
*Connor Barth
*Michael Koenen
*Andrew DePaola


Analysis: Barth returns from an Achilles injury to assume the field goal kicking duties once more. When healthy, Barth is capable of making at least 85 percent of his kicks. Koenen’s punting slumped a bit last year, but he still has a strong leg and is capable of handing the kickoff duties, which allows Barth to concentrate on field goals. The long-snapping duties are a toss-up, but the guess is DePaola, who was in training camp last year, edges out the competition.

Last modified on Thursday, 15 May 2014 08:37
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Thanks Mattmart01. Your explanation makes sense & I should have known that...just never heard much discussion about long snappers over these many years! I remember when Lou Groza was the place kicker & starting O-tackle for the Browns for crying' out loud...not to mention the number of two-way players back in the old days! These young whimper-snappers have it made nowadays! :-) As another poster has already said, I think the NFL should increase the number of eligible players (53 to 55?) b/c of the number of injuries incurred each year & lack of depth each team currently seems to have. Those issues coupled together often result in less quality of play.
  • avatar

    Sweet: Check out Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy ranked 4th and 5th best players in the league of 2013 right behind Peyton Manning by PFF https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/05/16/pffs-top-101-of-2013-10-to-1/ PFF, which grades players via film study and produces a rating for each. Here's the yahoo sports article leading to the ranking. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/pro-football-focus-reveals-a-surprise-no--1-rated-player-for-2013--i-e---not-peyton-manning-175558487.html And no i don't work for either company. Hope it's ok to post links. Sorry if not.
  • avatar

    Bucko40, if mcCoy goes down we will likely struggle but the D line looks better than last year on paper. Also not concerned about QB I trust Lovie and all indications are McCown looks sharp as last year or better. I even think with the new coaching, players, etc, Glennon could win us 8-10 games if the O line played better than last year. I'm more concerned about O line and Nicks than I am about D line and QB. We have great weapons at WR, TE, and way above average RB's. Maybe best RB depth in league. It all comes down to this younger mostly different than last year O line. I think QB play will not be Tom Brady but both have proven they can protect the ball and make good decisions. So excited to maybe see some good defense again! Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I think that unless Sims comes in and stinks up the joint that he will be at least #2 easily... If we are gonna play our share of 2 back sets then Sims is gonna be in there if for nothing else but his hands... And if he impressed with his running I don't see why he wouldn't eventually become the starter... But I really hope that we will keep both of them in the long run and have a rare dual threat of 2 RBs that can run block and catch (which the hamster is getting better at)...
  • avatar

    I have a really good feeling about brett Smith... With his old OC working him first hand as his new QB Coach I think he could turn out to be something special... Read this scouting report: http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/1973976-2014-nfl-draft-wyoming-qb-brett-smith-sees-beyond-the-doubters
  • avatar

    Two big weaknesses in this projection. QB scares me. The Bucs are putting to much faith in a career back-up QB or a rookie that had good stats but didn't show a penchant for winning games in the 2nd half of games. The other is the Back-up 3 Technique. If McCoy gets hurt this defense is screwed.
  • avatar

    Barring significant injuries, I also like the list, and two things jump right out at me. 1) No way I'd ever have guessed (pre-regime change ) that I 'd be optimistic of the roster for this season, and furthermore expect to see a couple of players cut that I would rather see retained. 2) The positional breakdown #'s show how badly the league needs to worry more about expanding the rosters by 2-3 players to accomidate depth with injury rates as high as they are in the modern day NFL, rather than adding more games which will just make it worse.
  • avatar


    One other prediction! If the Bucs sign prolific Iowa State punter, Kirby van der Kamp, during rookie mini-camp, overpaid Michael Koenen is on the hotseat!
  • avatar

    Rams and cowboys both passed on Joseph. Tried out for Pats recently they seem to take all our ex players. Time to move on he's not getting any younger, the knee may not be 100 % again, and he Probably wants too much too?
  • avatar

    Also agree mike James should maybe stay over Rainey, averaged like 5 yards carry and Rainey under 4.
  • avatar


    I don't see keeping Bobby Rainey over James. Rainey was fine last year for what he was, but he too often got stuffed at the line and his abilities I think overlap with Sims and Martin. James is an upright powerish runner, I think the team needs that element. I could be wrong, but I liked what I saw out of James last year more than Rainey.

    Also going with only 4 corners seems like a huge risk, I'd assume they'll keep at least 5 - losing probably Tandy from the safety position.
  • avatar


    Pinkstob, Gorrer is already long gone. He was cut. James and Rainey are two different kinds of backs--we need both of them! We will need Doogie and James for pounding between the tackles. Sims is great for catching passes and perimeter runs, and is the best blocker of our speed backs and can do well as a third down back. However, he runs too upright and doesn't know how to turn his body to get through small holes between the tackles. Rainey and Demps will also be used to stretch the field and carry out the speed in space game. They both can catch as well, and Demps, in a pinch, can also be used as a backup punt returner, and as a slot receiver. Scott, I agree with all your projections--very good job. However, it will be interesting to see how well our other veteran QB and our Wyoming Rookie QB will do. I would love one of the two to beat out Glennon. I can see why Josh is so promoting Glennon--it means he won't be having to look over his shoulder as long as he can play. I wonder if Josh's strong endorsement of Glennon didn't keep the Bucs from obtaining Carr, who I guarantee you will have a much bigger future in the NFL than Glennon will. L & L should have known better!!! Glennon is OK for a backup however.
  • avatar


    Owly, You may be confusing Danny Gorrer with Anthony Gaitor. Gaitor was cut yesterday, but Gorrer is alive and well at OBP. See roster at Buccaneers.com.
  • avatar

    @Warren the difference between center and LS is kinda similar to the difference between punter and kicker in regards to having different responsibilities. The center obviously needs to be able to block 300+ lb noseguards, while the long snapper has the responsibility of being the "gunner" while covering punts. So typically you want a guy who can run and tackle because (in HS/College, not too sure about NFL) you are not allowed to hit the snapper for safety reasons. So imagine how effective Zuttah or EDS would be trying to tackle a devin hester or Cordarrelle Patterson
  • avatar


    Thanks Mattmart01. Your explanation makes sense & I should have known that...just never heard much discussion about long snappers over these many years! As another poster has already said, I think the NFL should increase the number of eligible players b/c of the number of injuries incurred each year & lack of depth each team currently seems to have. Those issues coupled together often result in less quality of play.
  • avatar


    Good job. There is definitely the big question mark as who will be the last player chosen at each position. Present LB's on roster; I might consider only going with 5. I am for the Nickel underdog hometown Leonard Johnson if he got a little quicker.
  • avatar

    Anyone else curious about running back Michael Smith? I hope he makes the roster cut, i would personally take him over Rainy or Demps. Guy has low 4.4 speed with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. however what makes him better then demps is the fact that he is a better blocker in passing situations. I see that he is still officially on our roster however he seems to have been forgotten due to injuries. hope we keep him!!
  • avatar


    smith is gone/cut
  • avatar

    Though moot at this point due to his being cut, Smith didn't impress me & I'd have cut him too. Very fast, but lacked necessary patience & will likely not get more than one more opportunity due to his film.
  • avatar


    I too think this a great list! But I'm listening to this whole speed in space offensive concept, the kind of players Tedford is acquiring, and I'm thinking that Russell Shepard and his Percy Harvin-like skills are going to be hard for Tedford to resist. Just like my intuition about Sims early on, Russell Shepard was built for this offense. I could be wrong but when I watch Russell's tape, he looks like a made-for-Tedford versatile option. We'll see! Watch his tape and see if you agree! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOi8GaMtcNk
  • avatar


    Excellent job Scott. You obviously worked long and hard on this projection. Before training camp, no one is injured or holding out and every training camp brings a surprise. The obvious concern is the offensive line and I believe Carl Nicks, at best, will be an average guard, if he makes it back and I hope Coach Smith has a backup plan ready to go! A good draft and off season free agents give BUC fans hope for a great season. After a seven year disappointment, I am more than ready!!!
  • avatar


    Agreed, a good list. My hope is that we add a body or two (Guard/OLB) from other teams.
  • avatar

    you had me at No Luke Stocker
  • avatar


    I wonder if the Bucs would be open to bringing Davin Joseph back on a 1 year deal to compete for a starting job in camp. He would fit well with the new staff and although he was no longer worth the big deal he was previously signed for I think a 1 year deal could make sense. Use this year to develop Edwards and sign a veteran who has something to prove.
  • avatar

    Pinkstob, I'm with you on James over Rainey. My question is weather we know if Martin will be 100% because with 4 above average quality backs on the roster, let James and Rainey go at it in training camp for the #2 and slot Sims at #3 for further development. Loved watching that kid in Houston and forgot all about him transferring and got super excited to see it was the same Sims! If Lovie is gonna pound the rock then health and depth is going to be a big risk/reward and I think that this has set us up pretty nicely to hedge against that. I'm super excited to see how our strong run game is going to help our "Towers of Terrior" Go Bucs, and Play Beer!!!
  • avatar


    Never have understood why the long snapper position is so unique. Seems to me that any center that can snap for a shotgun offense should be able to snap for punts & extra points...but every team has a long snapper which means one less person at some other position. I think the Bucs really like QB Brett Smith & will hold onto him.
  • avatar


    I think this is a great list. As early as we are in the evaluation process it makes sense for all these guys to make the team. One question I have is whether Rainey played any special teams last year. If he can't do that well this year I say we go with 4 RB's (James over Rainey) and keep an extra CB like Gorrer.
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