- Jamel Dean
- Carlton Davis III
- Zyon McCollum
- Dee Delaney
- Josh Hayes
There shouldn't be much turnover in the defensive secondary for the Bucs, despite how the unit might have performed late in the season. We're going to chalk it up to the team just running out of gas after three seasons of relentlessly chasing a Super Bowl (one of those years being a successful hunt, lest we forget) and remember how the unit played in years past.
Jamel Dean choosing to re-sign was a massive boost and a tremendous sigh of relief. He was the top cornerback on the free agent market but decided to take a team-friendly deal to return, and in doing so ensured the tandem with Carlton Davis III remained intact. The question will be who steps up to replace Sean Murphy-Bunting, who left in free agency to sign with the Titans.
Zyon McCollum is a decent option, as is Dee Delaney. Both of those guys are returning from last year's roster and bring continuity to the position. Rookie Josh Hayes is the newbie and should make the roster if all goes well in training camp. Tampa Bay carried five cornerbacks into last season, which seems like a safe bet to assume will be the case again.
- Antoine Winfield Jr.
- Ryan Neal
- Kaevon Merriweather
- Christian Izien
Safety will be interesting, as Antoine Winfield Jr is not only the sole returning starter but he's the only player at the position be back after last season. Mike Edwards left for Kansas City and Keanu Neal joined the Steelers, which decimated the depth at safety this offseason.
That doesn't mean things are a disaster at the position, rather the turnover could create one of the best positional groups on the roster. Ryan Neal came over from the Seahawks and might end up breaking out as a star for the Buccaneers playing alongside Winfield and forming an underrated duo.
Depth behind those guys could create an ideal situation as well. It's likely that Kaevon Merriweather and Christian Izien, two undrafted rookies, step into the backup roles and rotate in while trying to make a name for themselves. Both of them carry chips on their shoulders after going undrafted and have a reason to prove themselves, which feels like something Todd Bowles will love in terms of a tone setter following how much the defense fell apart in the second half of last season.
Special Teams (3)
- Chase McLaughlin (K)
- Jake Camarda (P)
- Zach Triner (LS)
Let's spare hyperbole: Jake Camarda is one of the best players on the Buccaneers roster.
He made more than a few mind-blowing plays last season, including one that might have helped saved the Bucs season. All of this from the punter, which shouldn't be framed as a slight the way folks with an anti-Buccaneers agenda might try. The big question on special teams is what will happen at kicker after the team moved on from Ryan Succop this offseason.
Succop was a victim of circumstance, as he was a cap casualty to reduce a $55 million bill and struggled to make long kicks on an offense that failed to score points last season. It wasn't Succop's fault the offense folded like a cheap poker table whenever it took the field, but that lack of success amplified his struggles to hit long kicks, which is something the Bucs are hoping Chase McLaughlin can come in and do.
Of course, the most ideal situation is that McLaughlin isn't called on for those big kicks because the offense is working better than it was last season.