Buccaneers: Five defensive players to look forward to watching
By James Hesdra
Who are the five players on defense that Buccaneers fans should be most excited about?
A week after going through the five players on the offensive side of the ball to be most exited about, we know turn our attention to the defense. Under defensive coordinator Mike Smith, the Bucs have made a lot of steps in the right direction compared to the units thrown out there in years past. Between the years 2013-2015, the Bucs ranked in the bottom twelve in points given up per game. Last year, that number climbed up to the 15th spot.
The defense was especially good in the second half of the season when the Bucs went 5-2 to finish out the year. They held three good teams, the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, and New Orleans Saints, all to under 18 points during that run. It seems like the players know exactly the roles they need to play in Smith’s defense. Having tough veterans such as Gerald McCoy, Robert Ayers Jr., and Brent Grimes have been excellent in teaching the young players exactly what is needed from them.
Speaking of young players, the Buccaneers have assembled a nice cast of homegrown talent in their twenties who can be pillars on this defense for years to come. Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, William Gholston, and Vernon Hargreaves are just a few of the young names that the Bucs will be counting on to take meaningful snaps this year. Some of them have already produced at the professional level while others have only shown glimpses. Here are the five players that I’m going to be keeping an extra eye on once the season begins on September 10th.