Defensive End Battle: Vinny Curry vs Noah Spence vs William Gholston
The defensive line questions don’t end with the tackle position. Tampa features a handful of starting caliber defensive ends.
While free agent acquisition Vinny Curry is the front-runner, the Buccaneers have been grooming William Gholston and Noah Spence since they were drafted.
Curry, like Beau Allen, was the backup defensive end on the Eagles last season. Mainly due to the elite rotation of players they had along the line, both were asked to play complimentary roles for the Super Bowl Champions. However, Curry was one of the Eagles better pass rushers even with limited snaps. His sack numbers may be low, but with the added benefit of McCoy and Jason Pierre-Paul, those numbers should skyrocket if he can win the starting gig.
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Spence has been one of my favorite Buccaneers since they drafted him in the second round three years ago. His potential is through the roof but his issue with staying on the field still looms large.
Alike McCoy, Spence spent most of his first two NFL seasons on the sidelines with serious shoulder injuries. Spence has come out and said he is 100% healthy and has looked like an absolute freak in recent Instagram posts. To say he’s bulked up is an understatement.
The Buccaneers haven’t had a ten sack player since Simeon Rice but Spence as a rookie had 5.5, a glimpse into his potential. Tampa Bay may even mix up their schemes rotating between 3-4 and 4-3 possibly using Spence as an outside linebacker to rush the quarterback. It will all depend on if he can stay healthy this year, if not his injuries may not warrant a contract extension.
William Gholston was the late round prospect that the Bucs have tried to make blossom into an impact starter for the past two seasons. The Bucs signed him to a five year $27.5 million contract extension but could be cut after this year with no cap hit.
Last season he did not show the team that he deserved that contract. He was unable to register a sack, but with his size and physical tools, he has the potential to become a force along the Tampa front.
Gholston may not be a pass rushing specialist like the team hoped but he’s a good enough run stopper to play in the NFL. He is a dark horse candidate for sure.