Defensive Line (6)
There might not be a positional group on the Bucs depth chart that better embodies the chip-on-the-shoulder mentality than the defensive line.
Everyone on the team has a fire in their belly thanks to the way the team has been written off, but the defensive front has it tattooed on their soul. Vita Vea is a stud, but outside of him there are guys all over the defensive line room with something to prove.
Calijah Kancey was the Bucs first round pick this year, and while he drew comparisons to Aaron Donald — fair or unfair — he didn’t get the high marks or grades other guys taken around him did. After an offseason of smoke-and-mirrors about what they’d do with the No. 19 pick, the Bucs taking Kancey almost felt like it as received anticlimactically, which is sure to stick in the rookie’s craw as he builds a name for himself next to Vea.
Free agent Greg Gaines is expected to rotate with Vea as the Bucs nose tackle, and veterans Will Gholston and Pat O’Connor are back as important depth pieces.
Nobody on the line has more to prove — or perhaps a bigger chip on his shoulder — than Logan Hall. He’s entering his second season and already trying to beat Draft Bust allegations. It’s foolish to assume Hall has already busted, but he didn’t help himself by having such a slow and low impact rookie season. The Bucs traded down and landed Hall, in the process passing on Lewis Cine and George Karlaftis. Cine got hurt his rookie year but is a top safety prospect who the Bucs could have used as the position was depleted in free agency, and Karlaftis looks like the guy Tampa Bay is hoping Hall can be.
Todd Bowles named Hall a starter ahead of the final roster getting put together, so he has the endorsement of his coaches and needs to deliver on the hype.