WR1- Mike Evans
WR2- Desean Jackson, Chris Godwin
WR3- Adam Humphries, Jesus “Bobo” Wilson
LT- Donovan Smith, Leonard Wester
LG- Kevin Pamphile, Evan Smith
C- Ali Marpet, Joe Hawley
RG- J.R. Sweezy, Caleb Benenoch
RT- Demar Dotson, Cole Gardner
TE- Cameron Brate/O.J. Howard, Antony Auclair
QB- Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB- Doug Martin, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jeremy McNichols, Peyton Barber
FB- Luke Stocker
To begin, let us address the elephant in the room and the biggest surprise… Where is Charles Sims? Now before you jump ship on this article, realize that rookie running back Jeremy McNichols has around the same skill-set that Sims has. Soft hands out of the backfield, along with a good third down threat… the only difference is that McNichols has potential to carry the rock. If you take a gander back at the Pewter Plank’s article The Situation at Running Back, it is mentioned in detail about how much of a disappointment Sims has been for the Bucs.
If you take that with a grain of salt whether you like the running back or not… his time in Tampa may be running out. Now come week one whether Sims remains on the roster is up in the air, but it is certain that when Martin returns from his three-game suspension that Sims may be on a new team one way or the other.
Besides the Sims controversy, the biggest surprise may be the fifth receiver. As mentioned in the roster prediction, Wilson brings a return threat to the table that the Bucs may appreciate once pre-season rolls around. It is known now that quarterback Jameis Winston has taken Wilson under his wing… which could bode well for the undrafted rookie and gives him the edge over his fierce competitors. (This is a competition to watch during the pre-season!)
What about Alan Cross? As mentioned in two former articles featured on the Pewter Plank, the final tight end spot is also a hairy question. The later of the articles, The Situation at Tight End, sheds light on this issue. The fact of the matter is which ever tight end between Cross, Luke Stocker, and Austin Johnson can both lead block as a fullback and block near the line of scrimmage will win this battle. The edge here goes to Stocker due to his veteran presence in the locker room and usage last season.
Now let’s take a look at the defense.