What position battle are you watching the closest? What makes that battle stand out?
Michael Horan (@MJ3_TB): I’m going to be glued to the quarterback competition between Ryan Griffin and expected starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Though I believe it’s an uphill battle for Griffin to win the job, he did a solid job last season of competing for the #2 spot and was essentially tied with Fitzpatrick before going down with an injury. Fitzpatrick will likely get more time with the starters than Griffin, so it will take quite an effort from Griffin as he works with the back-ups; there will also be quite a bit of pressure on Griffin to make the most of his time with the starters in practice. Griffin winning the job would be good news in the big picture for the Buccaneers, as it presents a potential safety blanket in the event Jameis Winston lets the team down in the future.
Brian DeFeo (@bpd68): The battle I will be watching the closest will be the defensive tackle battle between Beau Allen and Vita Vea. I am most interested in this battle is because they paid Allen starter money but the Bucs also selected Vea with their first-round pick. The selection of Vea seems like more of a luxury pick. While he was one of the best prospects in the draft the Bucs could have addressed a bigger need selecting Derwin James, the safety from Florida State. If Vea can’t match or play more snaps than a former backup defensive tackle he may look like a wasted pick in a year where Jason Licht and all the coaches are on the hottest seats in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ryan Doyle (@RDoyle27): I’ll be looking at the cornerback position. Although Vernon Hargreaves has plenty of time to become the lockdown corner many thought he could become, talented rookies, are right on his heels. M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis could surpass him in the starting lineup when the regular season begins. With a stout front seven, the Tampa Bay secondary could hold this defense back. They need a strong showing from their youth at cornerback to turn this defense into one of the league’s best.
Derek Quesenberry (@DQempire): The position battle that I am most interested in will be the starting nickel back position. I believe Carlton Davis will lock up the starting outside corner spot opposite of Brent Grimes, so I am curious to see how Hargreaves will respond. M.J. Stewart and Hargreaves will go at it. I believe Hargreaves is a good player, he just hasn’t proved it yet. I really hope the fact the Bucs just drafted two corners pisses Hargreaves off and motivates him. He is running out of time to live up to his draft hype. If he wants to replace Grimes after he retires he needs to dominate this position battle.
Jamil king (@jamilking96): The position Battle I’ll be locked into will be at the safety position. Chris Conte, Justin Evans and Keith Tandy all return this season. The Bucs also added the fourth-round pick, Jordan Whitehead. I’ll be looking to see how quick Whitehead can make an impact and carve out playing time. I don’t expect him to become a starter immediately but I’m excited to see what he can add to a secondary that quite frankly needs all the help they can get.
Jerry Stalheim (@ND1Bucsfan): The battle that I am going to be watching the closest during training camp and preseason is the battle for the available cornerback spots. With two second-round picks in M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis added to the mix of Vernon Hargreaves, Ryan Smith and other cornerback candidates it should be a great battle to see who claims the starting spots. With most expecting Carlton Davis to jump up and grab the second cornerback spot very early it should be an interesting battle to see if and how quickly that happens, and then what happens next with VHIII, Stewart and Smith. If this position is gets settled, the Buccaneers could finally put a solid all-around defense on the field.