Biggest takeaway from Buccaneers first unofficial depth chart

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released their first depth chart. While it is unofficial, there’s one thing that Buccaneers fan should take away from it.

When teams release their first unofficial depth chart during training camp ahead of their first preseason tilts, it’s always going to get people talking, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no different. It’s primarily due to the fact that fans get a taste of honey of what their favorite teams will look like, before getting the whole beehive of the NFL regular season.

They certainly are a lot to take away here, particularly where all the rookies are sitting pretty. The thing with that is though, rookies will all more often than not be towards the back of the first unofficial depth chart, due to still getting acclimated with the system and playbook. With that being the case, while there is clarity on who may make the cut for the skill positions, we don’t know exactly how it will all end up yet. It’s also interesting that Ryan Jensen is still listed as the starting center given what happened to his knee, so that’s certainly a juicy bridge we may end up coming across down there down the road.

However, the biggest take away of the Buccaneers first unofficial depth chart is on defense.

For this, we’re going to the trenches, particularly as it pertains to the Bucs pass-rush. The depth for the front three down-linemen along the defensive line is absolutely solid. The outside is a different story though.

Shaq Barrett is of course back, and should still be expected to wreak the havoc that he has been known to wreak since coming to Tampa Bay. Opposite of him is Joe Tryon-Shoyinka entering his sophomore campaign. The first-round pick of the Bucs a year ago, Tryon-Shoyinka will go from the rotational role he played as a rookie to the replacement starter for the departed Jason Pierre-Paul. While it is still unknown what he will do in the starting role, the Buccaneers are confident in the second-year man that he is more than capable of having a breakout season, and has shown flashes of his talent before.

Behind them though, is where things get dicey for the Buccaneers.

Anthony Nelson is solid, to the point where he’s maybe even a little underrated. He is a very good depth piece, however they need more. The undrafted Cam Gill has been around since 2020 and hasn’t made that much of an impact. Elsewhere, there’s Elijah Ponder, who the Buccaneers brought in as an undrafted free agent last year and spent the season on the practice squad, seventh-round rookie Andre Anthony, and two undrafted rookies in Jordan Young and JoJo Ozougwo. We don’t even know if these four will end up making the final roster.

The point is, the Buccaneers need to bring in a veteran pass rusher. Three capable pass rushers is not going to cut it in today’s NFL. Sure, defense may not be able to win a Super Bowl essentially by itself anymore, like the Buccaneers in 2002 for instance, however that doesn’t mean defense is not important. With more and more emphasis on offense and the passing game, defenses are just as important as ever, if not more so. You need to be able to get to the quarterback, and do it often and efficiently. They are perfectly capable veterans the Bucs can bring in for insurance and depth, even a couple that have been in Tampa Bay before like Carl Nassib or even a reunion with Pierre-Paul, who is still without an NFL home.

The first depth chart release is always unofficial. That said, that doesn’t change the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should highly consider bringing in a veteran pass rusher to provide more stable depth. That is the biggest takeaway from the first unofficial death chart of training camp ahead of preseason.