Saturday, 28 April 2012

A way, way, way too premature prediction for the Bucs' 53-man roster come Week 1

On the eve of the 2012 draft, I'm gonna throw together a very quick, extremely premature prediction of what the 53-man roster might look like when the season opener against the Panthers rolls around - depth chart included (where applicable).



Quarterbacks

1) 1. Josh Freeman
2) 2. Dan Orlovsky

Running Backs

3) 1. Doug Martin
4) 2. LeGarrette Blount
5) 3. Michael Smith
6) 4. Mossis Madu

Full Backs

7) 1. Erik Lorig

Wide Receiver

8) 1. Vincent Jackson
9) 2. Mike Williams
10) 3. Arrelious Benn
11) 4. Preston Parker
12&13) 5/6. Two of Ed Gant, Raymond Webber, possibly Dezmon Briscoe (though he will have to shine hugely after missing the minicamp), and/or whoever impresses in training camp

Tight End

14) 1. Kellen Winslow
15) 2. Luke Stocker
16) 3. Drake Dunsmore

Offensive Linemen

- Tackles

17) 1= Donald Penn
18) 1= Jeremy Trueblood
19) 3. Demar Dotson
20) 4. Meredith/Ingersoll/Riley/whichever camp meat performs best in training camp

- Interior

21) 1= Davin Joseph (G)
22) 1= Carl Nicks (G)
23) 1= Jeremy Zuttah (C)
24) 4. Ted Larsen (C/G - Larsen is the no.1 back up at both spots)
25) 5. Derek Hardman (G - can also kick out to tackle if needed)

Defensive Ends

26) 1= Adrian Clayborn
27) 1= Michael Bennett
28) 3. Da'Quan Bowers
29) 4. George Johnson

Defensive Tackles

30) 1= Gerald McCoy
31) 1= Brian Price
32) 3. Amobi Okoye
33) 4. Roy Miller OR a DT who impresses in training camp

Linebackers

34) 1= Mason Foster (ILB)
35) 1= Lavonte David (OLB)
36) 1= Quincy Black (OLB)
37) 4. Adam Hayward (OLB)
38) 5. Dekoda Watson (OLB)
39) 6. Najee Goode (ILB/OLB)
40) 7. Rennie Curran* (ILB)

Corners

41) 1. Eric Wright
42) 2. Ronde Barber
43) 3. Leonard Johnson
44) 4. Anthony Gaitor
45) 5. Quenton Washington

Safeties

46) 1= Mark Barron (SS)
47) 1= Cody Grimm (FS)
48) 3. Ahmad Black (SS)
49) 4. Keith Tandy (FS)
50) 5. Devin Holland (SS)

Specialists

51) Andrew Economos (LS)
52) Michael Koenen (P)
53) Connor Barth (K)

Notes:

- Most position groups that have two starters, I list with "equal first" on the depth chart. Others I didn't. Why? Well, let's take WR for example - the reason for this is VJax is a clear starter. Mike Williams, however, as has been already explained in this blog, struggles against press coverage, so might be better used sparingly against the right mismatches - meaning I wouldn't be surprised if he's taken out for another receiver in some of our sub packages next season. Jackson, on the other hand, should see pretty much every snap.

- You might notice that Eric Wright is top of the depth chart for corners - and is the lone number one on the depth chart, similar to VJax at WR, rather than an =1, like there is for other position groups. You may also notice that, after Rennie Curran's name, there's an asterisk. These two points are related. To explain: this is a projection for the week one roster - when Aqib Talib will be serving a suspension handed down from Goodell. Come week five, however, Talib's suspension will be over - at which point, Curran will be cut, and then resigned to the practice squad. Talib then takes his place as =1 with Wright at the top of the corner depth chart.

- You might think that having only 8 DL, yet 7 LB (at least through the first four weeks), is a bit of an odd balance for a 4-3 team. Ordinarily I'd agree, but I'm basing this on the idea that Dekoda Watson showed enough on film that the new coaching staff will continue using him as a rush end in sub packages, reducing the need for a pure speed rusher on the roster.

- Yes, we only just drafted him at corner, but I'm predicting by week one Keith Tandy will be the no. 2 free safety on the roster. When both the GM and the HC mention in their separate press conferences that they can see you moving to safety, you're moving to safety.

- Will both Smith and Madu make the roster? Certainly, they appear to be similar types of back, at least on paper. Still, remember what happened in 2010 - we only carried one scatback-type on the roster, and that was Kareem Huggins. After Huggins went down, we had no-one left who could fill that role. I think Dominik's learnt his lesson, and both should be able to contribute on at least kick/punt coverage units (with Smith fielding returns too), justifying both of them making it to the roster.

- I really think we got a steal in Leonard Johnson. He'll be a solid nickel guy at the very least, and could be more in the future - hence him being higher than Gaitor in the depth chart.

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