Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Offseason Tracker 2013: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense and Special Teams Outlook


The Playoffs have begun, but for the Buccaneers, this is the beginning of the offseason. As we look forward to the 2013 NFL season, The Pewter Plank will keep you up to date on the state of the Buccaneers roster, and provide insight and analysis of any trades, signings, releases, and other changes. Over the course of the offseason, we will look over either side of the ball, give the current depth chart, and consider what changes are yet to come.

Player names that are italicized are unrestricted free agents.

Player names that are underlined are restricted free agents.

Player names that are bolded are likely members of the 53 man roster in 2013, in my opinion.

DE:

Michael Bennett

Adrian Clayborn

Da’Quan Bowers

Daniel Te’o-Nesheim

Aaron Morgan

Markus White

Lazarius Levingston

Ernest Owusu

As Josh Hill pointed out, bringing Bennett back should be a priority. However, I don’t think the Buccaneers should overspend for him, and the Franchise Tag is definitely not an option for the defensive end. A return to health for Clayborn will be a big impact, and Te’o-Nesheim has been a huge surprise, playing at a serviceable level when pressed into action. There is certainly plenty of 2012 experience on the roster here, so there’s plenty of tape for the coaches to evaluate. Should the Buccaneers bring in some talent via the draft or free agent, it will be interesting to see who makes the cut.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

DT:

Gerald McCoy

Roy Miller

Gary Gibson

Corvey Irvin

Matthew Masifilo

The Buccaneers would have a massive hole to fill, literally, if Roy Miller doesn’t return. Miller has to be a priority to re-sign this offseason, as the Buccaneers would have to look outside the team to find a replacement for the University of Texas product. McCoy is obviously the star here, but he needs a space-eater next to him to make the system work as it should.

LB:

Lavonte David

Mason Foster

Adam Hayward

Dekoda Watson

Quincy Black

Najee Goode

Jacob Cutrera

Joe Holland

The future status of Quincy Black will impact the future of this position in a serious way. If Black is able to fully recover from the spine and neck injury that left his left arm lacking in function, he will slide right back in as a starter and the Buccaneers will be set at linebacker. However, if Black is unable to return, Mark Dominik will need to pick up another linebacker to fill the third starting spot, as Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson are not of the same quality as Black.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports]

CB:

Eric Wright

E.J. Biggers

Leonard Johnson

Danny Gorrer

Anthony Gaitor

Brandon McDonald

Keith Tandy

Myron Lewis

James Rogers

This position will go through plenty of changes this offseason. Biggers’ status as a free agent will likely draw interest from other teams, but no team should want Biggers more than the Buccaneers, who will need his knowledge of the system to help stabilize a fluctuating roster.  Wright is unlikely to return, and Gorrer, Tandy, and Lewis will compete for roster spots, but the position will go through much evaluation this offseason. There are free agent options, and there will be draft choices spent in the defensive backfield as well. This is the position to keep the closest eye on this offseason.

Safety:

Mark Barron

Ronde Barber

Ahmad Black

Cody Grimm

Sean Baker

Nick Saenz

Ronde Barber’s decision on whether or not to return will impact this position, but regardless of the decision made by Barber, the Buccaneers will bring in more talent at this position in the offseason. Ahmad Black is serviceable, but he is not a starting defensive back in the NFL at this point. The same can be said about Grimm. Look for multiple players to come in and compete for roster spots in 2013.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kicker:

Connor Barth

Connor Barth will be the Buccaneers kicker in 2013. Moving on.

Punter:

Michael Koenen

Michael Koenen will be the Buccaneers punter and kickoff specialist in 2013.

Long Snapper:

Andrew Economos

Of all the Buccaneers free agents, Economos is the most likely to be resigned. He has performed admirably since arriving in Tampa, and consistency in special teams is important. I see no reason the Buccaneers don’t open the checkbook to bring back the long snapper.

That makes 27 bolded players, likely to be a part of the 53 next season. A few players likely to be resigned means there will be open competition for about 20 spots on the active roster. It will be very interesting to see how the offseason unfolds, as the Buccaneers continue to rebuild and work to become a contender.

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Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers