Bucs Easter Egg Hunt: Who are the Hidden “Easter Eggs” on the Buccaneers Roster?
By Nick John
Aug 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) is announced as he runs through the smoke prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
It’s late in the day on Easter Sunday, and I hope you’ve all celebrated it with your family and friends.
Maybe you watched the Rays, the NBA Playoffs, or took the kids on an Easter egg hunt and now you just want to unwind a little bit.
Well, as a special treat, I decided to give you guys some late-Easter reading material on your Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their roster.
We know the Bucs have some star players on their squad like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin. But who are the hidden gems? Who are the bright and colorful Easter eggs that are just waiting to be discovered?
Who are the guys that could make an impact this year that might not jump out at you when you look at the roster today?
Here’s my take.
FIVE BUCS EASTER EGGS (Hidden Gems)
Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) intercepts the ball in the end zone during the second half of the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium. Arizona defeated Tampa Bay 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
1. Johnthan Banks, CB
Banks was just a rookie last year, and his inexperience was exploited on a few separate occasions while teams decided to avoid Darrelle Revis in 2013. Trial by fire is a real thing, and the 2nd-year man out of Mississippi State has been battle tested because of it. He got to learn a few things from Revis before his departure, and now has the luxury of being tutored by a defensive mind like Lovie Smith. With Alterraun Verner as the team’s #1 corner, Banks will have plenty of opportunities to grow and to show that it is dangerous to throw towards him as well.
November 25, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Jamon Meredith (79) runs out of the tunnel prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jamon Meredith, T
Offensive linemen are different than most other players in the NFL. Most guys want their names to be known by the public and heard during each game’s broadcast…but not them. When they’re at their best, you won’t hear a peep about them until you watch the tape and see just how well they performed. Meredith wasn’t perfect last season, but he was one of the few bright spots on an underachieving offensive line and looks to improve upon his 2013 campaign by solidifying his starting spot this upcoming year.
Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jeff Demps (32) gets tripped up by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (31) as he attempted to run back a kick off return during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Arizona Cardinals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
3. Jeff Demps, RB/KR/Offensive Weapon
After deciding that he’d like to play football after running track well into the 2013 NFL season, Jeff Demps suffered an unfortunate groin injury that sidelined him the rest of the way. It put the Buccaneers into an awkward position, because while they are disappointed that they weren’t able to get the production they wanted out of him, they are still poised to hang on to him because of the potential he possesses. His literal Olympic track speed can change the game, wherever the Bucs decide to line him up on the gridiron. Only time will tell if his potential can be reached.
Dec 1, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (35) runs against Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston (92) during the second half of the game at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina wins 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
4. William Gholston, DE
There were a few times last season in which I was watching the Buccaneers defensive line and saw a monster of an athlete break past the line and make a play in the backfield that made me say “wow!” That monster was rookie defensive end William Gholston, who Gerald McCoy recently compared to Julius Peppers. While I don’t believe Gholston can be mentioned in the same breath as a former Pro Bowler like Peppers, I do believe he has the tools to get there if he can put it all together. He is a very raw, but talented player. I know the Bucs still want to see what they have in Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn, but I would not be shocked if Gholston emerges as a consistent pass rushing threat on Tampa Bay’s roster.
Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) prior to kickoff of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
5. Mike Glennon, QB
He sure wasn’t hiding last year, but with everything happening during this offseason, you would think Glennon didn’t even exist. Not only did he exist, but Glennon managed to squeeze four wins out of one of the most inept and poorly coached teams in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. He did so by playing small ball: protecting the football, accurate passing, and not trying to do too much. He threw for 19 TDs and 9 INTs by just trusting Mike Sullivan’s (quite awful) system, and with injuries to both his starting and 2nd-string tailbacks. As much of a bad rap that Glennon seems to be getting due to his immobility and unwillingness to let loose, that style of play actually generated some success in 2013, which was his rookie season. Glennon could enter 2014 as the 2nd or 3rd string quarterback in Tampa Bay, which most definitely qualifies him to be a hidden gem. If Tampa Bay were to part ways with him, he’d easily find a new home that would want to groom him into their starting quarterback based on last season.
Who are your hidden “Easter eggs” on Tampa Bay’s roster? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter (@ThePewterPlank)! If you liked this column, please share it with or retweet it to your friends. It helps us out a lot. Happy Easter!