There are still some starting jobs and roster spots up for grabs as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field for the second time this week against Cleveland on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium. With two preseason games left for the Bucs, PewterReport.com offers up its 53-man roster prediction complete with analysis.

QUARTERBACKS – 2
QB Jameis Winston
QB Mike Glennon

PR ANALYSIS: The Bucs have one of the most talented and advantageous quarterback situations in the NFL with Winston, the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and Glennon, a strong-armed, intelligent backup with 18 NFL starts and plenty of upside. The Bucs may keep third-string QB Seth Lobato on the practice squad.

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

PR ANALYSIS: Martin is in great shape and is deserving of the starting job after a sensational camp. Sims and Rainey have roles as third-down, change-of-pace backs, and Rainey will contribute on special teams. James has good hands and is the most powerful runner in the Bucs’ stable, while Lane is the best and most experienced blocking fullback that can also catch the ball out of the backfield.

WIDE RECEIVERS – 6
WR Mike Evans
WR Vincent Jackson
WR Louis Murphy
WR Kenny Bell
WR Russell Shepard
WR Kaelin Clay

Bucs WR Russell Shepard – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs WR Russell Shepard – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR

PR ANALYSIS: Evans and Jackson are both playmaking starters that give Winston a pair of big, 6-foot-5 targets. Murphy brings experience and the ability to play inside and outside to Tampa Bay’s offense, while Bell and Shepard are developing receivers and special teams standouts. The Bucs have been pushing Clay to be the return specialist, but poor blocking has hindered his production. Rookie Rannell Hall is a practice squad candidate.

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

PR ANALYSIS: Seferian-Jenkins is a young, emerging playmaker at the tight end position, while Stocker is the team’s premier blocking tight end on the edge and also as a reserve fullback. Myers is a veteran jack-of-all-trades and has more experience than either Cameron Brate or Tim Wright. If the Bucs keep four tight ends it could be Brate, who plays special teams and has been more consistent than Wright. Brate also has practice squad eligibility.

OFFENSIVE LINE – 10
LT Donovan Smith
LG Logan Mankins
C Evan Smith
RG Ali Marpet
RT Gosder Cherlius
C-G Jeremiah Warren
OT Kevin Pamphile
G-C Garrett Gilkey
OT Reid Fragel
OT Demar Dotson

PR ANALYSIS: Rookies Smith and Marpet will get the start at left tackle and right guard, and newcomer Cherlius starts at right tackle. Tampa Bay will keep 10 offensive linemen on the roster including the injured Dotson. Dotson should be back after missing the first 2-4 games of the regular season. Warren is the backup center and Gilkey can play center guard. Pamphile is the swing tackle, and the Bucs will keep Fragel as Cherilus’ backup until Dotson returns.

DEFENSIVE LINE – 9
RE Jacquies Smith
DT Gerald McCoy
NT Clinton McDonald
LE George Johnson
DT Henry Melton
DE Larry English
DE Will Gholston
DT Tony McDaniel
DE Lawrence Sidbury

PR ANALYSIS: The starting front four remains unchanged with Smith, McCoy, McDonald and Johnson. Reserve nose tackle Akeem Spence is suspended for Week 1, so he won’t count towards the 53-man roster, and he may wind up on the PUP list as he continues to recover from offseason back surgery. The Bucs will keep McDaniel as a result, and have some extra depth as Gholston can play inside or at defensive end, too. The final defensive line roster spot will either go to Sidbury or T.J. Fatinikun, who missed the first two preseason games. Fatinikun needs to play in the final two games to have a chance to beat out Sidbury. Defensive tackle Caushaud Lyons and defensive ends Ryan Delaire and Jamal Young are practice squad candidates.

LINEBACKERS – 6
WLB Lavonte David
MLB Kwon Alexander
SLB Danny Lansanah
LB Bruce Carter
LB Jason Williams
LB Khaseem Greene

PR ANALYSIS: The Bucs have one of the fastest linebacking corps with David, Alexander and Lansanah as the starters. With Alexander, a rookie, claiming the starting middle linebacker position – and rightfully so – Carter is now a backup middle linebacker and strongside linebacker. Williams and Greene are special teams aces and are progressing as defenders, too, as they edge out Josh Keyes and Larry Dean. Keyes is a practice squad candidate.

CORNERBACKS – 5
CB Alterraun Verner
CB Johnthan Banks
CB Mike Jenkins
CB Sterling Moore
CB Leonard Johnson

PR ANALYSIS: Jenkins and Moore have had good preseasons, and both Moore and Johnson can play nickel cornerback. Moore may get the start until Johnson recovers from a sprained ankle he suffered against Cincinnati. Johnson’s injury could prompt the Bucs to keep six cornerbacks and keep one less offensive or defensive lineman. If that’s the case, Brandon Dixon or nickel cornerback Isaiah Frey would make it.

Bucs SS D.J. Swearinger – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs SS D.J. Swearinger – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

SAFETIES – 4
FS Bradley McDougald
SS Major Wright
SS D.J. Swearinger
FS Chris Conte

PR ANALYSIS: Tampa Bay will keep four safeties on its roster with McDougald and Wright as the starters, and Swearinger as the backup strong safety. The final spot, the backup free safety role, will either go to Conte, who missed the first two preseason games and most of training camp with a hamstring injury, or Keith Tandy. Tandy is a better special teams player, but Conte has more starting experience. This will be a close call.

SPECIAL TEAMS – 3
LS Andrew DePaola
P Karl Schmitz
K Patrick Murray

PR ANALYSIS: The Bucs’ long snapper will be DePaola, but with two weeks left, it’s undetermined who will be the team’s punter and kicker. Michael Koenen is overpaid and was ineffective last year and Tampa Bay has brought in several punters to compete for his job. Our guess is that Schmitz steals it. As for the kicking duties, Murray’s two missed field goals and a missed extra point in two preseason games was cause for alarm, and that prompted the Bucs to bring back veteran Connor Barth.

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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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macabee
macabee
5 years ago

TAMPA BAY PROJECTED 53 MAN ROSTER _____________________________________________ Keep in mind fellas, I’m just having fun here – never got this right before, don’t expect to this time. But gave it my best shot! ______________________________________________ QUARTERBACK – 2 8 Glennon, Mike QB 6-6 232 25 2 North Carolina State 3 Winston, Jameis QB 6-4 230 21 R Florida State RUNNING BACK -4 25 James, Mike RB 5-10 223 24 3 Miami (Fla.) 22 Martin, Doug RB 5-9 223 26 3 Boise State 43 Rainey, Bobby RB 5-8 212 27 3 Western Kentucky 34 Sims, Charles RB 6-0 211 24 R West… Read more »

macabee
macabee
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

You don’t get do overs, but I inadvertently left out FS D.J. Swearinger. Meant to whack CB Brandon Dixon. What happens when you have to much free time on your hands. lol. There are probably a bunch more I got wrong, but I had fun. Glad I don’t have to do this for real. The WR group is a tough one!

DreadNaught
DreadNaught
5 years ago

Good list, I dont’ see us keeping 5 OT’s even w/ Dotson out a few games. We normally only dress 3 OT’s on gameday anyway.

I like 6 LBs b/c it strengthens the ST, although I doubt we dress all 6 on gameday.

Brate has had a good TC, would be surprised if wasn’t claimed (Redskins?) if we cut him.

blind melon
blind melon
5 years ago

Macabee – strong PS. Like very much. That show we have some talent.

surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

Conte is a waste of a roster spot, Tandy is better, and plays teams. Clay has not shown enough to stick, his returns have been average, and Humphies has been our best slot receiver. Didn’t have three third down conversions on Monday? He looks like a young Wes Welker. Having a guy who gets open on every 5 yard out shouldn’t be ignored.

warren
warren
5 years ago

Swearinger is a lock for safety.

macabee
macabee
Reply to  warren
5 years ago

Warren, you’re right. huge oversight on my part. I agree Swearinger is a lock!

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Coach always says keeping the best players on the field is the priority. I don’t see a couple of the selections based on keeping players that we know will never start unless there is no one else versus giving a younger guy a shot. I’m addressing the DL, Safety, OL. Go Bucs!

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
5 years ago

There are always one or two surprises….at the risk of going on a limb I’ll say Sims gets the ax (he probably won’t of course because he was a third round pick)…he’s shown me nothing last year and even less this year…maybe we’ll wAit until we pick up another RB off waivers, but that would be my call for a surprise cut this year. The one thing I do feel very sure of is that our compliment of OL will include at least a couple guys currently on other teams’ rosters right now….looking forward to seeing who we can pick… Read more »

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

I once won a contest picking the then final 45 man roster from the old It’s Sports Magazine (grandfather of Pewter Report. Back in those days practices were closed to the public, but I spent a lot of time looking over the fence from the bed of my little truck watching. I suppose that gave me a little advantage. Here, I think Scott and Macabee probably have it nailed within a couple of late surprises as East End suggested. Practice Squad eligibility is always a factor too. Wouldn’t be surprised if Kaelin Clay ends up there instead of the final… Read more »

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
5 years ago

Not that I think he should be a lock to make the roster but I would definitely like to see Matthew Masifilo get more reps in some higher pressure situations. According to Pro Football Focus he has graded out as the #2 guard during the preseason. By no means am I saying that he’s a future Pro Bowler but after looking at some of the underachievers on the line he’s certainly nothing to overlook.

Gerardski
Gerardski
5 years ago

Gilkey better be cut. Just cuz he can “play two positions” doesn’t mean you keep him. Any one who has watched knows he can’t play one.

owlykat
owlykat
5 years ago

Agree totally with Gerardski. There have to be better cut linemen than Gilkey. He needs to GO! Edwards needs to be cut too. Liked your picks Scott, however, Clay is awful. I would rather have Sullivan back or a cut returner to try out. I also think Hall is a toss up with Humphries and I prefer Hall.