Defensive tackles – Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea, Beau Allen, Mitch Unrein (4)
If healthy, these four players will be the defensive tackles for the Buccaneers. The pecking order at this position has yet to be established as Vea, Allen and Unrein will all fight to line up next to McCoy. Regardless, this is one of the best units on the team.
Defensive ends – Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, Noah Spence, William Gholston, Will Clarke (5)
Another solid group for Tampa Bay. Pierre-Paul, Curry and Spence are locks to make the roster. Gholston and Clarke do have young players breathing down their necks.
Regardless of who wins the final spots, the Buccaneers should keep plenty of bodies up front. Tampa was brutal defensively last season and they need to be able to rotate players to rush the passer. Keeping fresh legs on the field was key for defenses like Philadelphia and Jacksonville last season.
Linebackers – Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Kendell Beckwith, Jack Cichy, Adarius Taylor, Devante Bond, Cameron Lynch (7)
Behind the trio of David, Alexander and Beckwith, Tampa Bay doesn’t have much quality depth. Hopefully, Jack Cichy can step up and become a trustworthy fourth linebacker for the Bucs.
Cornerbacks – Brent Grimes, Vernon Hargreaves, Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart, Ryan Smith, Josh Robinson (6)
The addition of rookie corners Davis and Stewart have created urgency for both Hargreaves and Smith. Hargreaves will make the team this season but both rookies have put him in the hot seat in regards to starting.
Smith, on the other hand, should have concerns about even making the team out of camp. Josh Robinson’s special teams play likely earns him a spot on the team.
Safeties – Justin Evans, Chris Conte, Keith Tandy, Jordan Whitehead (4)
Not much competition here. These four appear to be the favorites to make the team. Conte and Evans will likely keep their starting role unless rookie Jordan Whitehead has a fantastic preseason.
Specialists – K Chandler Catanzaro, P Bryan Anger, LS Drew Farris (3)
There should be no questions at kicker this season. Catanzaro was solid with the New York Jets last season and should provide consistency in the kicking game.
Total: 26 (defense) 3 (specialists)
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