This season’s roster cuts will play out a little different from what we are traditionally used to seeing. Due to the less time to evaluate the players, the Bucs will first have to reduce their roster down to 80, instead of 75 players. The second deadline for roster cuts will be on Sept. 3, and the team will be reduced to the 53 man roster that will be active during the regular season.
This offseason has brought tons of new names and faces that the coaching staff and fans have begun to grow attached to. It’s possible that several draft picks have performed well enough to secure a spot for themselves. Returning players like Dekota Watson and Dezmon Briscoe may have proved enough to inherit a more contributing role for the Buccaneers. However, other athletes may be lost under a depth chart full of youth and talent, and may find themselves on their way out if they don’t shine against the Dolphins on Saturday.
Running Back, Allen Bradford, did well in being one of the few bright spots in the game against the Patriots. Right now, the Bucs will be focusing hard on who can back up Legarrette Blount, and it appears Earnest Graham or Kregg Lumpkin will be the primary back up. Armando Allen had a very good game against the Chiefs. Mossis Madu will need to flash his elusiveness if he wants to stick around any longer. Wide receivers, Ed Gant, Preston Parker, Jock Sanders, Maurice Price, Sammie Stroughter, and Michael Spurlock are all competing for a roster spot. It appears that Spurlock and Parker are ahead of the pack, but outside of Parker, none of them sufficiently stand out more than the other, in my opinion. The third roster spot for a tight end is still up for grabs. Rookie, Daniel Hardy, struggled at first, but showed some upside. Ryan Purvis andNathanOverbayare still in the mix for tight end. There aren’t many seats available in the linebacker’s club. Derrell Smith, Brandon Heath, and Simoni Lawrence will all be under a microscope. Smith appears to have the edge. Corey Lynch, Dominique Harris, Devin Holland, Larry Asante, and Ahmad Black are competing at safety. It’s unfortunate that Black is injured and unable to showcase what he can do, but that doesn’t mean the Bucs will cut him. Lynch andAsantehave really showed up in the preseason, and should make the 53 man roster. The Bucs may hold onto an extra spot for cornerback since it’s still uncertain what punishment Commissioner Roger Goodell will hand down to Aqib Talib, and for how long. If he faces suspension this season, the Bucs have some good options in the rise of EJ Biggers, Elbert Mack, and Myron Lewis. DJ Johnson, Aston Youboty, Anthony Gaitor are competing for a spot. In my opinion, Gaitor stands tall above his competition. Kyle Moore, Alex Magee, Brandon Gilbeaux, and George Johnson are competing to back up at defensive end. I predict Moore and Johnson to stick around. There are some other unmentioned position battles, but I’ve listed the ones that are either most important or have the most competition. Expect many of the names listed to vanish after downsizing to an 80 man roster, and even more in the final roster cuts. Also consider that the Buccaneers could take advantage roster cuts from other teams to add depth and talent to their roster like they did with Blount last season.
Stay tuned for the 53 man roster prediction.