The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released their first unofficial depth chart of the summer, and it features a couple of surprises. Here is the depth chart, in its entirety (thanks to Jenna Laine for posting it to Twitter):
|WR||Vincent Jackson||Kevin Ogletree||Chris Owusu||Derek Hagan||Carlton Mitchell||Bobby Sewall|
|LT||Donald Penn||Mike Remmers||Howard Barbieri|
|LG||Carl Nicks||Cody Wallace||Roger Allen|
|C||Jeremy Zuttah||Ted Larsen||Jace Daniels|
|RG||Davin Joseph||Jamon Meredith||Adam Smith|
|RT||Demar Dotson||Gabe Carimi|
|TE||Luke Stocker||Tom Crabtree||Nate Byham||Zach Miller||Danny Noble||Tim Wright|
|WR||Mike Williams||Tiquan Underwood||David Douglas||Eric Page||Terriun Crump|
|QB||Josh Freeman||Mike Glennon||Dan Orlovsky||Adam Weber|
|RB||Doug Martin||Brian Leonard||Mike James||Peyton Hillis||Michael Smith|
|FB||Erik Lorig||Spencer Larsen|
|LE||Da’Quan Bowers||Daniel Te’o-Nesheim||William Gholston||Ernest Owusu|
|DT||Gerald McCoy||Derek Landri||Pep Levingston|
|DT||Gary Gibson||Akeem Spence||Matthew Masifilo||Andre Neblett|
|RE||Adrian Clayborn||Aaron Morgan||Steven Means||Markus White|
|SLB||Dekoda Watson||Jonathan Casillas||Ka’lial Glaud|
|MLB||Mason Foster||Najee Goode||Jacob Cutrera||Dom DeCicco|
|WLB||Lavonte David||Adam Hayward||Joe Holland|
|LCB||Darrelle Revis||Danny Gorrer||Rashaan Melvin||Myron Lewis||Deveron Carr|
|RCB||Leonard Johnson||Johnthan Banks||Michael Adams||Anthony Gaitor||Branden Smith|
|SS||Mark Barron||Cody Grimm||Sean Baker||Troy Nolan|
|FS||Dashon Goldson||Ahmad Black||Keith Tandy|
|P||Michael Koenen||Chas Henry|
|K||Lawrence Tynes||Derek Dimke|
|LS||Andrew Economos||Andrew DePaola|
|PR||Eric Page||David Douglas||Branden Smith|
|KR||Michael Smith||Mike James||Tiquan Underwood|
So what are the biggest surprises from this depth chart? I’ll call out three specifically.
- Leonard Johnson over Johnthan Banks as starting RCB is a surprise to many, as the rookie from Mississippi State figured to be used heavily in his first season. But Johnson has been solid during camp, and is being cross-trained in the slot to make sure he’s able to cover anyone on any given play, while still retaining the role as the starting corner. However, there are no other rookies starting for the Buccaneers, so this might also be a sign to Banks, and fellow rookie Akeem Spence, that starting jobs must be earned, and a couple of weeks worth of camp isn’t enough to leap ahead of a veteran.
- Cody Grimm’s place ahead of Sean Baker is a surprise to me, but might be further evidence of Schiano’s preference for competition, and a reluctance to name rookies into advanced positions so early in camp. And while Baker is technically not a true rookie, he has never played in a regular season game, and still has a lot to prove.
- Michael Smith’s fall to the bottom of the running back depth chart is shocking. He’s got the talent and skills needed to be a backup running back, but he’s apparently failing to stand out in any appreciable way this summer, being passed by even Peyton Hillis on the depth chart.
The starting status of Dekoda Watson is encouraging, but he’s going to need to continue to prove himself to maintain that job. The athletic linebacker from Florida State has the tools needed to be a monster on the strong side of the defense, but he hasn’t “put it all together” yet in his career.
Likewise, the backup status for Akeem Spence is likely just a chip for Spence’s shoulder, as the rookie from Illinois has been impressive in camp, and is favored to win the nose tackle job.
And finally, the depth of Eric Page on the wide receiver chart is discouraging, but his presence as the number one punt returner is a sign that his roster spot is likely closer than he could have imagined, as the Buccaneers held a punt return specialist for much of last season without taking into account any offensive contribution, as Roscoe Parrish was not going to add anything to the Bucs’ offense, and was only brought in to not drop punts.
What stands out to you on the depth chart? Let us know in the comments.