One Buccaneers player on the roster bubble at each position group

Eventually the roster will need to get trimmed down, and a few guys are firmly on the roster bubble one way or another.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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Offensive Line - Robert Hainsey, C

Add Robert Hainesy to the group of players on the future roster bubble with a lot to prove in training camp. There’s a scenario where he doesn’t make the team, with Graham Barton the new center and players like Elijah Klein and Sua Opeta blocking his role as a backup guard.

Hainsey is looking at a role as the backup center or a depth guy, and the Bucs might determine that other players fit the mold better. He’s also in a contract year, which puts even more pressure on him to shine in a limited role and could add incentive for the team to move on now rather than wait.

Defensive Line - Judge Culpepper, DE

Not every player is on the roster bubble in a negative sense. Judge Culpepper could be this year’s Christian Izien and step forward as an undrafted rookie who shines. He’s the son of former Buccaneers defensive tackle Brad Culpepper and has already garnered some excitement heading into camp.

Culpepper is also coming into a situation with the Bucs where undrafted free agents are leaned on perhaps more than anywhere else. Tampa Bay brought in a huge class last season and saw guys like Keavon Merriweather and Keenan Isaac have success alongside Izien.

Mike Greene and Eric Banks are far from roster locks and there’s a clear path for Culpepper to emerge as Calijah Kancey’s backup heading into the season.

Linebacker - Jose Ramirez, LOLB

He wasn’t among the undrafted free agent group, but Jose Ramirez was a rookie the team refused to move on from when looking for places to clear roster space.

That might change this offseason.

Much like Rakim Jarrett and Ko Kieft, the thing working against Ramirez the most is the sheer depth of talent at his position. The Bucs don’t have a true superstar linebacker outside of Lavonte David,and Yaya Diaby is slowly coming along, but the depth at each spot is pretty insane.

KJ. Britt jumped over Devin White to earn a starting role last year, J.J. Russell has cut his teeth and earned a spot, and the Bucs added Randy Gregory and Chris Braswell to the outside linebacker pool this offseason. All of that is bad news for Ramirez as an already crowded and talented room got even harder to stand out in.

Safety - Chris McDonald

Much like Judge Culpepper, Chris McDonald finds himself on the roster bubble in a good way. The undrafted safety from Toledo has one of the clearest paths to the 53-man roster, and can follow in the footsteps of Christian Izien.

McDonald is entering a safety room where depth was a serious issue last year, and the Bucs didn’t do a whole lot to address it this offseason. The team signed Jordan Whitehead to replace Ryan Neal but outside of that no major moves were made.

Tampa Bay doesn’t even need to trim down the roster at safety to make room for McDonald, who can play either position and might even be able to spend time at nickel, which gives him a swing man value that has all the markings of UDFA succes story this year.

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