Heading into the month of February, it was completely fair to say...
Grading the Bucs 53 Man Roster
Rosters Are Set And The Season Is About To Begin. How Does The Buccaneers 53 Man Roster Grade Out?
The moment many have been waiting for is finally upon us. With the final rosters in place the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for opening day kickoff against the Atlanta Falcons. With all the hype surrounding the up and coming Bucs, how does the 53 man roster stack up….
Quarterbacks- Jamesis Winston, Mike Glennon, and Ryan Griffin. Grade: B+
The Buccaneers and their fans are expecting big things from Jamesis Winston this year. The growth and leadership Jamesis has shown this offseason has him poised to improve upon a successful rookie campaign. Mike Glennon is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league, and could fill in if needed without the feeling the season is lost. Ryan Griffin wasn’t exactly promising this preseason, but has an understanding of the offense and his surrounding cast.
Running Backs- Doug Martin and Charles Sims. Grade: B- *Reports are Peyton Barber will be promoted to the team and Mike James will be placed on the practice squad. This would raise the grade to a B+ with depth now at the position.
Doug Martin and Charles Sims form one of the best duos as running mates in the league, so what gives with the B- grade? There are only two backs currently on the roster. Doug Martin was the runner up for the rushing title while Sims is fantastic catching the ball out of the backfield. The Bucs will almost certainly have to make a move to add some depth to their running back core, especially with the threat of injury always looming for the running back position.
Offensive Line- Donovan Smith, Leonard Wester, Kevin Pamphile, Joe Hawley, Evan Smith, Ali Marpet, Caleb Benenoch, Demar Dotson, and Gosder Cherilus. Grade: C-
The offensive line actually played better last year than anyone expected. The biggest difference between this and last year’s squad is the retirement of Logan Mankins. Coincidently, he was the best member of the line, and it remains to be seen if Kevin Pamphile can transition from tackle, which he was listed at last season, to guard. Also will he be able to be anywhere near as effective as Mankins? J.R. Sweezy should provide relief at guard when he returns from the physically unable to perform list. If so, this line could once again surprise people.
Wide Receivers- Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Adam Humphries, Cecil Shorts, and Russell Sheppard. Grade: B+
Mike Evans is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous receivers in the league, while Vincent Jackson is a skilled veteran that is a great player as a second wide receiver. The depth of the wide out position received a boost when veteran Cecil Shorts joined the roster, and although Adam Humphries should be fine as the third wide receiver, the veteran Shorts could give him a run for his money at the spot as the season goes on. Russell Shepard was named a special teams captain so it should be interesting to see if the Bucs roll with six wide receivers when Louis Murphy returns for the PUP list.
Defensive Line- Robert Ayers, Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, William Gholston, Noah Spence, DaVonte Lambert, Akeem Spence, Jacquies Smith, Howard Jones, and Channing Ward. Grade: C+
The Bucs spent the offseason trying to solidify the defensive line. They brought in Robert Ayers to play end and have three rookies in the depths with Noah Spence, Channing Ward, and DaVonte Lambert. The Bucs led every NFL this preseason in sacks so that is a very encouraging sign. If Ayers can produce and the rookies can contribute, the line has the chance to be the most improved unit this season.
Linebackers- Daryl Smith, Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David, Adarius Glanton, and Devante Bond. Grade: B+
The starting trio of Daryl Smith, Kwon Alexander, and Lavonte David have the ability to be top notch. All three players seem to be able to sniff out the ball carrier wherever he may be on the field. Smith may be aging, but he hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down yet, and was an excellent offseason pickup. The roster depth behind the starting three is very unproven, especially with Bond being a rookie, and is the reason the crew doesn’t receive an A.
Defensive Backs- Alterraun Verner, Brent Grimes, Chris Conte, Bradley McDougald, Vernon Hargreaves, Jude Adjei-Barimah, Johnathan Banks, Kieth Tandy, Ryan Smith and Josh Robinson. Grade: D+
The grade isn’t impressive as there are still big time question marks in the secondary. Can newcomer Brent Grimes become the dominant corner he once was, or we he continue to be average? Can Alterraun Verner bounce back after a few sub-par seasons? Will Vernon Hargreaves become the player the Bucs believe he can be? Will the safeties be able to play better than last season. That’s a lot of questions for the secondary, and if all goes well, new defensive coordinator Mike Smith and his new schemes will be able to answer.
Special Teams- Brian Anger, Roberto Aguayo, Andrew DePaola, Adam Humphries, Ryan Smith. Grade: C
The potential of the kicking duo of Brian Anger and Roberto Aguayo are sky high. Anger has a big leg while Aguayo is the most accurate college football kicker off all time. Aguayo struggled through the first two games of the preseason, but was lights out the final two. Humphries and Smith are capable returners, but not all that flashy. Special team play overall was a bit shaky in the preseason, but that a great place to iron out the folds.