With Training Camp set to being Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium (I will be there) and continue at the gorgeous One Buc Place in Tampa (will be at all afternoon sessions) I figured it was time for the Pewter Plank Annual Roster Prediction. This is the third straight year we have done this at the Pewter Plank and I encourage everyone to leave comments. Defense and Special Teams will be up tommorow.
Without further ado…
QB - Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich, Josh Freeman, Josh Johnson
This position is all very dependent on the progress that rookie QB Josh Freeman makes in camp. If Freeman shows the ability to be the starter or at least #2 on the depth chart, there is a good chance that the loser of the McCown-Leftwich battle could be released. The salary cap hit would be minimal and it would signal a clear shift to Freeman as the QB. If Freeman ends up being the third string QB and the clipboard holder for most of the games this season (still the route I would prefer) than Josh Johson is most likely headed to the Practice Squad (if he can clear waivers).
Prediction: QB1-Luke McCown, QB2-Josh Freeman, QB3-Josh Johnson. I think the coaching staff is too in love with Josh Freeman to allow him to be solely a clipboard holder. Luke McCown ends up being the starter but ends up being replaced if he has a bad week or two. Byron Leftwich gets released or traded. I’m sure the Steelers would gladly take Leftwich back for a 5th-7th round pick.
50 Roster Spots Remain
RB/FB – BJ Askew, Jameel Cook, Ernest Graham, Kareem Huggins, Clifton Smith, Josh Vaughan, Derrick Ward, Carnell Williams, Byron Storer
Graham, Ward, Smith and Askew are locks. Huggins Vaughan are locks to be released. Although the initial reports are that RB Cadillac Williams is progressing quite well from his knee injury that the Bucs will place him on the PUP to start the year and activate him after Week 6. The ability to stash a quality RB until midseason would seemingly be a good option for the Bucs to hedge their bets against an injury to Graham or Ward. Storer is an interesting player as well, as he played quite well after our RB/FB corps was depleted last year. BJ Askew has had some injury issues the past two years, so having a second FB might make sense, but Ernest Graham has shown the ability to play the FB position, and with Ward, Smith and eventually Cadillac Williams around, I think Storer has a slim chance of making the roster.
Prediction: RB1-Derrick Ward, RB2-Ernest Graham, RB3-Clifton Smith, RB4-Carnell Williams, FB1-BJ Askew.
44 Roster Spots Remain
WR/TE – Antonio Bryant, Kelly Campbell, Patrick Carter, Brian Clark, Michael Clayton, Joel Filani, John Gilmore, Cortez Hankton, Dexter Jackson, Jason Pociask, Ryan Purvis, Jerramy Stevens, Maurice Stovall, Sammie Stroughter, Kellen Winslow
Bryant, Clayton, Gilmore, Stevens, Winslow are locks. Filani, Purvis, Pociask are locks to get cut. I think the Bucs will carry 7 WR/TE so that leaves 6 WR most likely battling for 2 roster spots. Campbell and Stroughter were impressive in mini-camps and bring a different element to the team than Bryant and Clayton do, so as of right now, I think they have the inside track on the last two receiver spots. If we were to carry 8 total WR/TE that would leave Patrick Carter, Brian Clark, and Maurice Stovall battling for that last large slot receiver slot and Dexter Jackson battling Clifton Smith for a return man spot (which he won’t win). I predict all 4 get cut.
Prediction: WR1-Antonio Bryant, WR2-Michael Clayton, WR3-Sammie Stroughter, WR4-Kelly Campbell, TE1-Kellen Winslow, TE2-Jerramy Stevens, TE3-John Gilmore.
37 Roster Spots Remain
T – Antony Alabi, Marc Dile, Demar Dotson, Xavier Fulton, James Lee, Donald Penn, Jeremy Trueblood
From what I have read, the coaches have been quite impressed with Truebloods work ethic and weight gain in the offseason (he got a little too skinny last season) and have quite the opposite feeling about LT Donald Penn. His contract whining and arrival at too heavy of a weight has not looked good to the new regime. I find it hard to imagine he doesn’t make the team though. I know last season that the Gruden regime liked James Lee, but not sure how the Morris regime views Lee. Fulton was a draft pick by the Dominik/Morris regime so he has a great chance of making the roster. Alabi, Dile, Dotson and Lee are possibly fighting for 1 backup T spot.
Prediction: LT1-Donald Penn, RT1-Jeremy Trueblood, T2-Xavier Fulton, T3, James Lee
33 Roster Spots Remain
G/C – Rob Bruggeman, Jeff Faine, Davin Joseph, Sean Mahan, Maurice Miller, Aaron Sears, Julius Wilson, Jeremy Zuttah
The huge question mark here is G Aaron Sears. The reports now are that Sears is suffering from depression and hasn’t been seen at One Buc Place since April. As of right now he certainly has lost his job to Jeremy Zuttah, but don’t see how he doesn’t have a roster spot if/when he comes back. I’ll assume for the excercise that he does come back. Faine, Joseph, Sears and Zuttah are locks. One of Sears/Zuttah ends up being a backup. If Sears does come back though, Mahan who would have a roster spot for sure if Sears is gone, might be out of a job. I’m gonna say the Bucs keep both, regardless of Sears.
Prediction: LG1-Jeremy Zuttah, C1-Jeff Faine, RG1-Davin Joseph, G2-Aaron Sears, C2-Sean Mahan
28 Roster Spots Remain