Tell us about your training camp crush. Which player have you been itching to watch this offseason?
Horan: My camp crush is defensive end Vinny Curry. Even more than Jason Pierre-Paul, I expect Curry to light the Buccaneer pass rush on fire this season, and I think we’ll see that in training camp right away. Curry has been kept on a leash for most of his career in Philly but with the Bucs he’ll be unleashed and given a full helping of snaps to work with. Curry is also a force against the run, and in general is all of the best parts of Robert Ayers. I’m fascinated to see Curry match up with Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson, and even more fascinated to see how he works in conjunction with the rest of the defensive line.
DeFeo: My training camp “crush” is Carlton Davis, the Bucs third pick in the second round. The reason I want to watch him so much is that it seems like he will be forced into playing the most across from Brent Grimes. The Bucs needed to drastically improve their pass defense from last season and they added three defensive backs in the Draft. Davis is the biggest corner on the Buccaneers roster and they are likely going to need him to be a starter. Last season Vernon Hargreaves was matched up against players like Julio Jones and Michael Thomas twice a season and he just isn’t big enough to be a shutdown corner against those elite players. No corner has been able to shut down those guys but with the Bucs having to play them twice a year, they need someone who can play better than what they’ve had. I think Davis can be that guy but he’ll need to prove it to me and the rest of the Bucs fans in training camp.
King: My training camp “crush” is a lesser-known player to some, and that’s linebacker Jack Cichy. I am going to enjoy watching the former Badger try to earn a spot on the team. He won’t be taking Kwon Alexander‘s spot but Cichy can help on special teams from day one. Cichy had injuries pile up on him in Madison causing him to miss a large number of games. I look forward to seeing him bring a lot of heart and passion to camp.
Quesenberry: My camp crush is Jordan Whitehead. I can see him having a Justin Evans type of emergence. Evans was injured to start out camp last year, as was Jordan Whitehead for minicamp. I may speak for many Bucs fans when I say I am tired of seeing Chris Conte in the starting lineup. It’s not really fair for Conte, he has made some big plays. But I want an elite playmaker to pair with Evans and form a dangerous duo. Call me crazy but Conte isn’t striking fear into many opponents.
Doyle: Shaun Wilson is the player I’m pumped to see hit the field. There’s no reason to be excited if Rodgers or Sims wins the RB3 job, but Wilson has some potential to move up the depth chart alongside Jones. Being a UDFA he will likely be on the field a ton in the preseason. Head coach Dirk Koetter and his staff will be keeping a close eye on the Duke product.
Stalheim: I could pick several players as my training camp crush but I think I will go with a player who could restore the Buccaneers run game in Ronald Jones II. Now that might be putting a lot of pressure on the young man who has never taken an NFL snap, but the Buccaneers need a spark to the run game and he just might be it. Now he likely will not come right out of the gate at training camp as the starting running back with Peyton Barber in place, but I am guessing he will be taking handoffs and running routes with the number ones quite a bit. With Jones and Barber in the backfield, this run game could finally bring the spark that the offense has so desperately been missing the last few seasons. If Barber and Jones end up being anything close to the Saints Kamara and Ingram were last season, this could be a very potent offense that finally has a run game. I mean the run game can’t get any worse than it has been, can it?