Surprising Buccaneers rookie named early offseason standout

  • ESPN named one player breaking out for each team
  • Calijah Kancey has been great, but he's not the rookie chosen

Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Jason Allen/ISI Photos/GettyImages

As Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp approaches, fans are beginning to familiarize themselves with some of the new names who are joining the cause this season.

Perhaps the most notable is Baker Mayfield, not only because he's the biggest name but the season hinges on how well he performs in his new role. The assumption is that he'll win the starting quarterback role and carry the flag for a team looking to prove everyone wrong this season.

Baker isn't the only name to keep an eye on as training camp begins, though. The Buccaneers rookie class is hotly anticipated thanks to Jason Licht's well-established history of hitting home runs in the NFL Draft.

Calijah Kancey headlines a draft class that includes the next potential anchor on the Bucs offensive line and a handful of other players who could develop into the next generation of contributors. One of those guys is standing out so much already that he's catching the eye of the national media as a name to keep an eye on.

Buccaneers rookie named as surprise standout by ESPN

Jenna Laine, who covers the Buccaneers for ESPN, named a rookie out of Pittsburgh as the player breaking out the most at Bucs camp but it's not the one the team spent a first round pick on. Instead, Kancey's Pitt teammate SirVocea Dennis has been making a name for himself so far this offseason.

"A rookie fifth-round pick known more for his pass-rushing ability than his coverage skills at Pitt, Dennis had two pick-sixes in offseason practices — one in rookie camp, then one off Kyle Trask in minicamp," Laine said. "For a defense that has struggled to get interceptions, it certainly got my attention."

Dennis was taken in the fifth round of the NFL Draft this year, and it's not hard to imagine Bucs scouts falling in love with him while looking at tape of Kancey.

He enters camp competing for the third inside linebacker spot on the depth chart, and will be in fantastic company if he continues to deliver on his early promise. Should Dennis make the team, he'll be in a position to learn the ropes from Devin White and Lavonte David -- something that surely went into the thought process of drafting him.

Of course, it's a tall order to live up to those two players but Dennis already seems like a guy who Bucs fans will be getting to know very well over the next few years. It's still early to say he'll take the torch as the next start at the position, but it's not hard to see him working hard to achieve that.

David isn't going to be around forever, and White could be gone as early as next offseason if he doesn't get a new contract. If Dennis is able to capitalize and live up to the early hype he's building, Jason Licht could have another prized draft gem to add to his crown.