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While Bucs players report today, training camp officially kicks off tomorrow with Tampa Bay’s first practice of the 2021 season. As our training camp battle series comes to a close, we’ll take a look back at each position we’ve covered. The stories are linked below with a brief synopsis of each battle. I also take a stab at a 53-man roster prediction and practice squad.

Quarterbacks

In the quarterback preview we took a look at the battles Blaine Gabbert will face. Up against rookie Kyle Trask for the backup job and Ryan Griffin for a spot on the roster, his experience in the system should give him an advantage. While Griffin is most likely the odd man out in this competition, a strong showing in camp could earn him a spot on the practice squad.

Running Backs

With the starting job up for grabs, all eyes will be here during camp. Ronald Jones led the team in yards last season, but recency bias could weigh in Leonard Fournette’s favor after an impressive postseason. How newcomer Giovani Bernard will work into the mix will be something to watch, as well as the progression of Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

Wide Receivers

The odds of the Bucs keeping seven wide receivers on the roster is slim. However, Justin Watson and Jaydon Mickens will make their best case during camp. The key to a successful bid will be to show out on special teams. Mickens will have to prove he is indispensable as a returner, while Watson needs to show more as a wide receiver.

Tight Ends

Whether the Bucs keep a fourth tight end on the roster as insurance for the oft-injured O.J. Howard will be a storyline worth monitoring throughout camp. At the expense of a roster spot elsewhere, it will take an impressive showing by bottom three tight ends to earn a spot on the team.

Offensive Linemen

The Bucs are guaranteed to keep eight offensive linemen due to league rules. The team is likely to keep at least nine linemen on the roster, with competition for the final spot coming from Brad Seaton and young, inexperienced players. Versatility will be the key to making the team out of camp.

Interior Defensive Line 

The Bucs managed to return every starter and depth piece from the defensive line in 2020. Young and hungry, players like Benning Potoa’e and Jeremiah Ledbetter could challenge veteran Steve McLendon for his spot. There should be solid competition on the back end, with the possibility of a veteran signing during camp.

Outside Linebackers

Adding rookie Joe Tryon in the first round will push all other outside linebackers down the roster. How quickly the rookie can get up to speed and see meaningful snaps will be worth noting. While Anthony Nelson’s development as a pass rusher will be crucial in holding off Cam Gill and Quinton Bell.

Off-ball Linebackers

To try to fill the revolving door at depth linebacker, the Bucs invested in two draft picks at the position. They also brought in veteran special teams ace Joe Jones from Denver. The battle for the fourth spot will come down to special teams contributions, with Jones the heavy favorite.

Cornerbacks

A mix of youth and veterans make up the corner room. The battle here will come down to the fifth spot and will be heavily special teams dependent. Former special teams captain Ryan Smith saw zero snaps on defense last season. Antonio Hamilton, Cameron Kinley, Herb Miller and others will compete for the final cornerback spot.

Safeties

The Bucs waived Curtis Riley with an injury designation, who was promptly placed on injured reserve after clearing waivers. With the news of Jordan Whitehead’s placement on the team’s COVID/Reserve list, it will give an opportunity for more snaps for every other safety on the roster.

53-Man Roster Projection

Offense

Quarterback: Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask*

Running Back: Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Giovani Bernard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn

Wide Receiver: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Darden*

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate

Tackle: Donovan Smith, Tristan Wirfs, Josh Wells

Guard: Ali Marpet, Alex Cappa, Aaron Stinnie, Sadarius Hutcherson*(C)

Center: Ryan Jensen, Robert Hainsey*(T/C)

Defense

Defensive Line: Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, Will Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Steve McLendon, Pat O’Connor, Khalil Davis,

Outside Linebacker: Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Joe Tryon*, Anthony Nelson, Cam Gill

Off-Ball Linebacker: Lavonte David, Devin White, Kevin Minter, Joe Jones

Cornerback: Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, Ross Cockrell, Herb Miller

Safety: Jordan Whitehead, Antoine Winfield Jr., Mike Edwards, Javon Hagan

Specialists

Kicker: Ryan Succop

Punter: Bradley Pinion

Long-Snapper: Zach Triner

Practice Squad:

Offense: QB Ryan Griffin, WR Travis Jonsen, WR Jaydon Mickens, TE Tanner Hudson, OL Nick Leverett, OL John Molchon, OT Brad Seaton

Defense: DL Benning Potoa’e, DL Jeremiah Ledbetter, OLB Quinton Bell, ILB Grant Stuard*, ILB K.J. Britt*, CB Cameron Kinley*, CB Chris Wilcox*, S Raven Greene

Specialist: K Jose Borregales*

* Denotes rookie

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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Dman
1 month ago

“recency bias”. I like that JC!

drdneast
1 month ago

If Watson and Nelson get but by the Bucs they will surely get snatched up by some other team. Ditto for Tanner Hudson due to the depth at those posiitions. The Bucs do have good depth although like most teams it isn’t so good that a starter wouldn’t be missed if he was out for an exended time.

Horse
1 month ago

Some of the PS will be picked for other teams. Griffin to Cowboys or Saints to learn more about how to beat the Bucs. See us keeping 4 TE’s; other than that, good prediction.

nybuccguy
1 month ago

Fournette could be a surprise cut. Bruce Arians isnt playing around with vaccinations and the addition of Bernard can make him expendable.

fredster
Reply to  nybuccguy
1 month ago

Dream on. Fournette being cut is funny. Even funnier for not being vaccinated.

inspecto
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

maybe not cut but traded? the Jags cut him and no-one wanted him.
That was all before ” playoff Lenny”

fredster
Reply to  inspecto
1 month ago

Zero chance he is traded for not being vaccinated. First because it’s stupid and law suits (as there should be!) We will have herd immunity in month at current rate according to the experts. You can also get Covid still being vaccinated have know several personally that did. About 10% of hospitalized now for Covid are vaccinated. Second it would be beyond stupid to go into season with just Jones proven who was hurt last year. Vaughn is a huge question mark and Bernard at his age is here for 3rd down not to carry the load.

scubog
Reply to  nybuccguy
1 month ago

You really thinks teams will start cutting/trading any player not vaccinated? Don’t think the teams or NFL want to deal with that lawsuit. So what happens if we learn that TB-12 wasn’t willing to inject his pristine body?

The Freeman
1 month ago

i know they like Cam Gill but Bowles likes to keep 5 safeties, more chances to see a 5th S than a 5th OLB.

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