Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made six draft picks in April’s draft, and added a few undrafted rookies to the training camp roster as well. But not all of these rookies will make the cut come training camp. Most of the undrafted free agents will probably be weeded out by the start of the season, but the big question is what about the 6 draft picks?
Which will win starting jobs, and which will have to fight just to stay in the roster come August?
That is what we will attempt to answer today. From 2nd rounder Jonathan Banks all the way down to 6th rounder Mike James, we examine them all to give you “the Verdict” on their chances on making it to opening day.
Jonathan Banks, Cornerback
Banks is one of the few members of this draft class that is almost guaranteed a roster spot. Banks, a 2nd round pick, joins what was the weakest secondary in the league last year. Tampa gave up a league worst 4758 yards passing last season. This offseason they spent heavily to fix that problem, from signing Dashon Goldson to trading for Darrel Revis. Banks now joins the fray and looks to entrench himself in the starting lineup. He will be competing with Eric Wright for the job next to Revis. Even should Wright win the job, Banks will almost certainly earn the nickel spot, though he could see competition from Leonard Johnson.
The Verdict – Likely Nickel corner, could earn starting job.
Mike Glennon, Quarterback
Glennon is a bit more simple of a case than many want to make him out to be. He was drafted as the backup QB, and is not going to start unless Freeman sustains an injury this season. Glennon is a simple issue of value. He will be one of the cheapest backups in the league, and has all the physical traits Freeman possesses, making him the most obviously candidate for the backup job in Tampa.
The Verdict – Backup QB.
Akeem Spence, Defensive Tackle
Spence comes in as the most likely starter of the 2013 draft class. The tilt nose tackle position is left vacated now that Roy Miller has left for Jacksonville, and Spence has the skill set to do everything that Miller could do but with a splash more pass rush ability than Miller brought to the table. Spence will see competition in the form of Derek Landri and Gary Gibson, but Spence should be a crucial part of the rotation, if not the opening day starter.
The Verdict – Starting nose tackle on opening day.
Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
William Gholston, Defensive End
The Gholston name is not exactly a positive one in the NFL. After all, the Jets once had a player by that name, and that did not turn out well. Now, Tampa hopes their Gholston can turn the names fortune around. Gholston heads into the NFL with low expectation and many questions surrounding him. In college, his issue was mostly his motor. In Tampa, he won’t be asked to start, which should help that issue. Gholston has two things working in his favor; the small workload he will be asked to take on initially, and the lack of quality depth along the defensive line. While those speak well to Gholston’s chances of making the roster, he will have to compete with Steven Means for any substantial play time.
The Verdict – Makes the roster, but probably won’t see much action come Sundays.
Steven Means, Defensive End
Means is a dark horse to push for serious playing time in Tampa. Means physical talent is outstanding, but he is very raw and will need to polish up before he earns anything more than a rotational job at this point. If Means works on his technique, he will most certainly earn a large role in the line rotation.
The Verdict- Backup defensive end behind Da’Quan Bowers.
Mike James, Running Back
James has been well hyped by GM Mark Dominik and Head Coach Greg Schiano. Both seem to indicate he is one the inside track to being Doug Martin’s backup. He will have to prove himself by beating out Brian Leonard and DJ Ware for the role, but it seems apparent that he should see significant play time in 2013.
The Verdict – Back up running back to the Douggernaut.