With training camp in full swing, Noah Spence has grabbed ahold of the spotlight with a stellar level of play at training camp for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Training camp has reached its height with players moving to full pads in practice. The hits, while measured, are providing a way for new players and returners alike to begin to show off their craft that they prepared this past offseason. Many players are being called upon to step up, but one returner in specific may have set the bar high for himself thus far in camp.
Noah Spence is one of the most physically imposing players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His height mixed with his size and no visible body fat gives Spence the appearance of a force of nature at the outside linebacker position. While size is not everything in the NFL, one minute of watching Spence move will really show offensive players why Number 57 is one to watch out for.
Despite his size, Spence moves like a much smaller player. In drills Spence has looked faster and has had quicker changes of direction than any other outside linebacker or pass rusher. Spence looks as though he could line up as a large inside linebacker in a 3-4 and not look too out of place with the positional requirements. Due to his size and speed, it is fitting that Spence’s name seems to pop up every single time someone recaps a day of training camp.
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Despite his stellar training camp, some people now will look at Spence and wonder why he hasn’t come onto the scene already in his career. In three years Spence only has 6.5 sacks to his name, which does not pair with his athleticism at all.
While he has underperformed at defensive end, the move to outside linebacker should allow Spence the opportunity to use his athleticism in a way that is more conductive to his game. In addition to a position change, Todd Bowles has also taken over the reigns at defensive coordinator and will be able to better develop Spence.
Spence is currently starting as a replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul who still does not have a certain return date. For the time being, Noah Spence is the starting right outside linebacker and will look to make a case for maintaining that title. As far as play style goes, his hands are the best of the outside linebackers and he is the fastest, meaning that when JPP returns Spence could be competing with Carl Nassib for the other starting spot as his coverage skills are the best of the group.
Look for Spence to have a breakout season this year. While previous years may make this hard to believe, Spence is in the best position that he could hope for under Todd Bowles. Will he post 12.5 sacks like JPP did last season? That answer is likely no, but Spence could certainly post a respectable number for a starting player of his caliber in the fourth career of his year. Expect big things from Noah Spence in 2019.