Rookie Josh Freeman, the team's 2009 first-round draft pick, is listed as the third-string QB ahead of Josh Johnson. Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris downplayed the significane of the depth chart.
“The depth chart was released today for the Tennessee game,” said Morris. “I wouldn’t read too much into it. You have to pick somebody to be in the front, and we have a long way to go to see who will be there permanently. September 13th is when the real depth chart will come out.”
There were very few surprises on the first depth chart, which will surely change over the course of August as Tampa Bay’s preseason games kickoff on Saturday on the road against the Titans. Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton are running first-team at wide receiver with Maurice Stovall and Brian Clark as the second-team receivers ahead of Dexter Jackson and Cortez Hankton. If the Bucs were to keep six receivers this year, based on this depth chart newcomers Sammie Stroughter and Kelly Campbell would not make the team.
This depth chart should be taken with a grain of salt though as Stroughter had an impressive week of practice.
At running back, Earnest Graham is listed as the starter with Derrick Ward as the No. 2 back, followed by Carnell Williams. Clifton Smith is listed as the fourth-string running back, followed by Kareem Huggins.
There were no surprises along the starting offensive line. Sean Mahan is listed as the backup center with rookie Marc Dile as the second-string left guard and Julius Wilson as the second-string right guard.
The starting defense offers no surprises from the organized team activities (OTAs), but Dre Moore and Roy Miller are listed as the backup defensive tackles ahead of Greg Peterson.
At strongside linebacker, Quincy Black is the starter, followed by Adam Hayward, although Geno Hayes has been the primary backup at Sam linebacker during the first week of practice. Hayes is listed as the backup at weakside linebacker behind Jermaine Phillips, while oft-injured Angelo Crowell is listed as the third-team Sam.
Rod Wilson is Barrett Ruud’s backup at middle linebacker, while Niko Koutouvides is listed as the third-string.
Elbert Mack and Torrie Cox are listed as the backup cornerbacks behind starters Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib. E.J. Biggers and Kyle Arrington are the third-string corners.
At kicker, Matt Bryant is listed ahead of Mike Nugent. Smith is listed as the starting kick and punt returner while Jackson is the current backup, followed by Stroughter.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org