The Buccaneers made the most of their first choice of the NFL waiver wire and claimed five players on Sunday – defensive end Kourtnei Brown, linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Jeremiah George, center Eric Kush and quarterback Ryan Griffin. In order to make room for these players, the Bucs parted ways with wide receiver Rannell Hall, linebacker Jason Williams, guard Kadeem Edwards, tackle Reid Fragel and tight end Cameron Brate.

Tampa Bay will get a look at their new players this week in practice, and will continue to tweak the roster over the next few weeks as more players become available on the waiver wire. The Bucs will have the first choice through the third week of the regular season before it reverts to the NFL teams’ current records during the 2015 season.

With Tampa Bay’s roster more settled now than it was yesterday when the team had to whittle down to 53 players, it’s a good time to analyze the current crop of Buccaneers and see how each position shapes up.

QUARTERBACKS – 3
QB Jameis Wintson
QB Mike Glennon
QB Ryan Griffin

PR Analysis: Winston, the first overall draft pick in 2015, is the starter with Glennon a young, experienced reserve. The Buccaneers surprised everyone by acquiring another quarterback in Griffin off waivers. The plan for Griffin, who played collegiately at Tulane and spent the last year and a half with New Orleans, is to come in on the 53-man roster and learn the system. If he’s deemed a keeper as a future backup, that could make Glennon expendable and a candidate to be traded later this year before Week 8, but more likely next offseason.

RUNNING BACKS – 5
RB Doug Martin
RB Charles Sims
RB Bobby Rainey
RB Mike James
FB Jorvorskie Lane

PR Analysis: Martin is the starter and Sims is deemed the backup, although he underwhelmed in the preseason. Rainey will compete with Sims for carries because he is a reliable backup that brings speed, shiftiness, pass-catching ability and punt and kick return ability to the table, while James offers power in short-yardage situations. Lane returns as the Bucs’ lead blocker, although tight end Luke Stocker can also serve in that capacity, too.

WIDE RECEIVERS – 5
WR Vincent Jackson
WR Mike Evans
WR Louis Murphy
WR Russell Shepard
WR Adam Humphries

PR Analysis: Tampa Bay kept five wide receivers with Jackson and Evans as the starters and Murphy as the slot receiver. Shepard, a special teams ace, proved he could do more than just cover kicks in the preseason and will see a big role on offense. He may do some kick returns this year. Humphries, an undrafted free agent, beat out Rannell Hall, Kaelin Clay and Donteea Dye for a roster spot with his clutch hands and ability to separate. Humphries can also return punts and may be involved in kick returns, too.

TIGHT ENDS – 3
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
TE Luke Stocker
TE Brandon Myers

PR Analysis: The Bucs kept three tight ends with Seferian-Jenkins being the starter and Stocker being the primary blocker on the edge, which is his specialty. Tampa Bay kept Myers over Cameron Brate because of experience and reliability. Brate dropped an easy catch against Miami after being wide open in the preseason finale, and Myers is a safer alternative as a backup tight end. The Bucs traded fifth-string tight end Tim Wright for kicker Kyle Brindza, who was never going to make the roster anyways.

 

Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Getty Images

OFFENSIVE LINE – 9
LT Donovan Smith
LG Logan Mankins
C Evan Smith
RG Ali Marpet
RT Gosder Cherilus
OT Kevin Pamphile
C Jeremiah Warren
G Matthew Masifilo
C Eric Kush

PR Analysis: The starters are set from left to right with Smith, Mankins, Smith, Marpet and Cherilus, but this unit as a whole is very, very inexperienced. Warren proved to be a reliable backup center and earned a roster spot. Because Garrett Gilkey went down with a season-ending knee injury, Tampa Bay claimed Kush off waivers from Kansas City. He’ll be cross-trained at center and guard. Pamphile is capable of playing either side and will be the swing tackle in Tampa Bay, while Dotson, who was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return later this season, recovers from his knee injury he suffered in the first preseason game. Masifilo deserves major credit for making a position switch from defensive tackle to guard this offseason. That’s very hard to do successfully at the NFL level.

DEFENSIVE LINE – 9
LE George Johnson
DT Gerald McCoy
NT Clinton McDonald
RE Jacquies Smith
DT Henry Melton
DT Tony McDaniel
DE Will Gholston
DE T.J. Fatinikun
DE Kourtnei Brown

PR Analysis: The Bucs have the league’s deepest defensive tackle position with McCoy, McDonald, Melton and McDaniel. Gholston also shined there in the preseason as a nickel rush interior lineman, and has experience as a left defensive end on run downs – as does Melton. The defensive end position lacks proven experience and production as a whole where starters Johnson and Smith have a combined 12.5 career sacks – and all of those came last year. Fatinikun and Brown, who starred on HBO’s Hard Knocks with the Houston Texans, are fast, light and inexperienced pass-rushing specialists.

LINEBACKERS – 6
WLB Lavonte David
MLB Kwon Alexander
SLB Danny Lansanah
SLB Bruce Carter
MLB James-Michael Johnson
WLB Jeremiah George

PR Analysis: The Bucs starters – David, Alexander and Lansanah – along with Carter, who can back up at any position, were in Tampa Bay this offseason through training camp, while Johnson, who plays middle linebacker, and George are newcomers. They’ll start by helping on special teams as they learn the defense. Having only four linebackers know Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme one week prior to the season opener is a bit of a risk from a depth standpoint. Carter can fill in adequately if the Bucs lose one linebacker to injury, but if two should go down against Tennessee, Tampa Bay’s defense could be in trouble.

 

Tampa Bay added former Bears CB Tim Jennings on Wednesday – Photo: Getty Images
Bucs CB Tim Jennings – Photo by: Getty Images

CORNERBACKS – 5
CB Alterraun Verner
CB Johnthan Banks
CB Tim Jennings
CB Mike Jenkins
CB Sterling Moore

PR Analysis: Verner and Banks are the starters, but there are a host of veteran cornerbacks behind them in the newly acquired Jennings, who will sign on Monday, Jenkins and Moore. Jennings and Moore will likely see time at nickel cornerback, although both can play outside as well, which gives the team great versatility and experienced play inside and outside on defense. Nickel cornerback was a weakness last year with Leonard Johnson and Isaiah Frey as neither were the playmakers that Jennings and Moore have the track record of being in the slot.

SAFETIES – 5
FS Bradley McDougald
SS Major Wright
SS D.J. Swearinger
FS Keith Tandy
FS Chris Conte

PR Analysis: McDougald and Wright are the starters, although Swearinger earned playing time at strong safety with a great preseason, too. Tandy earned a roster spot with great play on special teams and defense in the preseason, especially in the finale at Miami. Conte was hurt for much of training camp and the preseason, but he is a veteran with experience at free safety and strong safety in Smith’s Tampa 2 defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS – 3
K Kyle Brindza
P Jacob Schum
LS Andrew DePaola

PR Analysis: Brindza was acquired in a trade with Detroit, who parted ways with their backup kicker. Brindza was 5-of-5 on field goals in the preseason, including a 57-yarder and a 55-yarder in the preseason finale at Miami, where he won Tampa Bay’s kicking duties. Schum beat out veteran Michael Koenen and newcomer Karl Schmitz in the preseason with a healthy gross and net average and good holds on placements. DePaola is a reliable long snapper for punts, field goals and extra point placements.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

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: sr@pewterreport.com
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Thanks you for the update Scott. I can only assume that L & L are driven to win now and not worry about next season. I really don’t get the pick ups and drops, but maybe it will become clearer in a week or two.

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

Horse you always has great comment. But I see these five moves that may be long lasting effect.I don’t thing Tampa may pick another one or two players pickup before week 3. Go Bucs

georgehicks
georgehicks
5 years ago

Excellance pick ups go bucs

macabee
macabee
5 years ago

Even though the Bucs new DE Kourtnei Brown has been on the following teams and has never played in an NFL game, George Hick’s enthusiasm is not dampened. God bless you George, the Bucs need more fans like you! (not sarcasm, genuine compliment)
________________________________________________
San Francisco 49ers (2012)*
Washington Redskins (2012-2013)*
Buffalo Bills (2013-2014)*
Detroit Lions (2014)*
St. Louis Rams (2014)*
Spokane Shock (2015)*
Houston Texans (2015)*
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2015–present)

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

THANK YOU MACABEE-I HAVE BEEN WITH THEM SINCE DAY ONE. I KNEW JOHN MCKAY WHEN I FOLLOW HIM AT USC. I ALSO WAS LAUGH AT WHEN TAMPA WAS 0 & 26. i WATCH TAMPA AT HOME VS CLEVLAND AND I SEE GOOD PLAYS AND BAD PLAYS. TAMPA WILL WIN MORE GAMES THAT LAST TWO YEARS IN 2016 & 2016 GO BUCS AND ALL THE FANS.

Brandonges
Brandonges
5 years ago

That Offensive Line depth is scary!

surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

Not impressed. Seems like we got rid of average players who know the system, for average players who don’t. Depth still a big concern on O line, and D end.