Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Pre-preseason 53-man roster projection

Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Benning Potoa’e, Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Buccaneers Defensive Line (7): Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, William Gholston, Rakeem Nuñez-Roches, Steve McLendon, Khalil Davis, Pat O’Connor

The defensive line of the Buccaneers is rocksolid, and shouldn’t see too much, if any change from a season ago. This is mainly due to the fact that not only are the starters proven, but the depth is as well. Even with that said, this is still arguably the most slept on unit on the Bucs roster oddly enough.

Ndamukong Suh provides the veteran presence in the room, which is bolstered by the fact that he may be on his way to Canton one day. He is obviously not the player that he was in his prime with the Detroit Lions, but he can still be dominant even in his age. William Gholston is a Buccaneers mainstay, and one of the most underrated players on the entire team. He may not be what one would call a “great“ player, calling him “serviceable“ would also be doing him a disservice. As the third best player on a three man defense of front, you can absolutely do much worse than Gholston.

Then we have the man in the middle. Vita Vea (full name Tevita Tuli’aki’ono Tuipulotu Mosese Va’hae Fehoko Faletau Vea) has come to be the best in the entire NFL at manning the nose. He is the motor that makes the dominant defensive machine run, and the medical miracle that he has returned for the playoff run, was perhaps the biggest reason for the defensive dominance that lasted all the way to Super Bowl LV. We have set a lot about they are here, and you better get used to it, because we’re going to be saying a lot more.

When Vea was on the shelf a year ago though Rakeem Nuñez-Roches and Steve McClendon filled in amicably. There is no reason for their roster spots to be in jeopardy, even in reserve roles, because at the end of the day they are proven players.

With Suh and McLendon being 34 and 35, respectively, Khalil Davis should get a bigger role in 2021 and Pat O’Conner’s spot should be secured as a special teams ace.