The Buccaneers, like every team, have their share of position battles – as highlighted here – to work out as camp opens up. There are questions surrounding who Tampa Bay’s no. 3 wide receiver will be, who the top tight end will be, who will line up at center and who will start at cornerback. All of these battles have their own interesting stories behind them, all of which are certainly worth following in training camp.
The number three receiver job could go to a veteran like Louis Murphy, but seeing as how he is coming off of a significant injury, there are plenty of other names that could slide in and start alongside Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson in three-receiver sets. Last year, the Bucs saw good things from both Adam Humphries and Donteea Dye, two young receivers under the age of 24. Added to the mix this year is Kenny Bell, who missed all of last year after being selected by Tampa Bay in the fifth round of the draft. All four guys are intriguing options for the slot position, and all four should get their share of time to audition throughout the preseason.
The tight end position is an interesting one for Tampa Bay. 2014 second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins seemed to hurt his case during OTAs, getting booted from practice by head coach Dirk Koetter before lashing out at critical Bucs fans on Twitter. He still has the potential to be a huge difference-maker for the offense, but Cameron Brate showed a lot of promise last year and Jameis Winston seems to like him quite a bit. Luke Stocker and Brandon Myers are also still on the roster, as well as rookie Dan Vitale, who can fill it at tight end and fullback.
Joe Hawley stepped in and played well at center last year, taking over for Evan Smith, who has struggled with injuries during his time in Tampa. Hawley seems to be penciled in as the team’s starter again this year, but Smith could factor into the team’s plans if he can stay healthy and perform well throughout camp.
Tampa Bay spent $16.5 million, over two years, on Brent Grimes (and his problematic wife). There is no way he doesn’t start at one of the corner positions on what should be a revamped Buccaneer defense. The position battle to watch here is at the other corner position. From the talk surrounding the defense, it seems like rookie Vernon Hargreaves will see time at nickel, so the frontrunners to start on the opposite side of Grimes will be Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner. Newcomer Josh Robinson could see time as well.
Position battles are usually training camp’s biggest storylines every year, and the Bucs certainly have their share of them this summer.
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