This is easily the Bucs strongest position on the field. Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin and Head Coach Jon Gruden know that for the Tampa 2 defense to be succesful, pressure on the QB is essential. Last season we had a deeper rotation on the defensive line with us regularly using 6 or 7 guys. With the FA additions from the offseason, and the draft pick used in Round 4 at DT, I think the possibility of us using an 8 man rotation is a reality.
Currently on the Roster - Gaines Adams, Chris Bradwell, Kevin Carter, Marques Douglas, Jovan Haye, Chris Hovan, Dre Moore, Greg Peterson, Ryan Sims, Greg White, Jimmy Wilkerson
Gauranteed Roster Spots – Gaines Adams
I know that it seems insane to only put 1 player out of 11 guys on the list for gauranteed spots, but I truly think the other 9 (Bradwell, no chance) are battling for the other 7 spots on the roster. Adams had a tough first few games last year, but who wouldn’t facing the lines of Jamaal Brown, Walter Jones, and some other top tier LT’s in the NFL. He finished the season with 6 sacks and 38 tackles, and to me, looked like a rising star down the stretch for us. He brings a lot of Simeon Rice to the table, but in my opinion, has the chance to be a much better player in run support. He apparently stopped eating junk food this past offseason and came to OTA’s looking and feeling in the best shape of his life. A 10+ sack season seems like an easy goal.
No Chance – Chris Bradwell
Battling for Spots – Kevin Carter, Marques Douglas, Jovan Haye, Chris Hovan, Dre Moore, Greg Peterson, Ryan Sims, Greg White, Jimmy Wilkerson
I believe we are essentially looking at 4 more ends making the roster, and 3 more DT’s making the roster. Kevin Carter appeared to fit perfectly into our defense last season. He finished the season with 54 total tackles, 3 sacks and a fumble recovery. He would seemingly be battling the other two hybrid players on our roster, Jimmy Wilkerson and Marques Douglas. I would say that there is a distinct possibility that both Douglas and Carter end up making the final roster due to their versatility. Douglas finished the season with 74 tackles with the Niners and 3 sacks. He was playing a hybrid end spot in their 3-4 scheme so I would expect those tackle numbers to come down a bit, but he also has the ability to increase the sack numbers. Wilkerson brings the same kind of versatility to the table as Carter and Douglas, but just has not been as productive in his career as the two aforementioned players. Greg White would seem to have a good chance of making the team after his 8 sack season last year. He has been angling hard for a new deal, so I would not rule out some kind of trade by the Bucs, being as though we are stacked at this position. Him and Gaines on passing downs though, should be a formidable duo. That leaves Jovan Haye, Chris Hovan, Ryan Sims, Dre Moore and Greg Peterson battling for 3 or 4 spots on the line. Ryan Sims showed the ability to be a nice cog in the middle in his brief time on the field last season. It would appear as an outside observer that we would be more inclined to take 2nd year player Greg Peterson, who I think has a bright future, or rookie Dre Moore (whom the Bucs were apparently ecstatic to get in the draft) over Sims, due to the fact that we spent draft picks on both of them. To me it seems like our DT tandem of the future would be Peterson and Moore, with Moore playing the run stuffing role, and Peterson being mini-Sapp. Jovan Haye and Chris Hovan should still be provided the opportunity to maintain their starting positions from a year ago. Hovan almost always seems to be in the middle of big plays, and is a fearless player with good leadership qualities. He can’t dance for shit, which he does during every timeout at RayJay, but nonetheless is a scary, productive player. Haye finished the season with 88 tackles and 6 sacks, and was a true bright spot on our Dline last season. Another guy wanting a new deal, or he would have been put on the Gauranteed Roster Spot list.
Starters – RE/Adams, DT/Hovan, DT/Haye, LE/Kevin Carter
Backups - RE/Greg White, DT/Peterson, DT/Moore, LE/Douglas