2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart
|Quarterback||Jameis Winston||Blaine Gabbert|
|Running Back||Peyton Barber||Ronald Jones||Andre Ellington|
|Left Wide Receiver||Mike Evans||Bobo Wilson||K.J. Brent|
|Right Wide Receiver||Chris Godwin||Breshad Perriman||Sergio Bailey|
|Tight End||OJ Howard||Cameron Brate|
|Left Tackle||Donovan Smith||Leonard Wester|
|Left Guard||Ali Marpet||Ruben Holcomb|
|Center||Ryan Jensen||Evan Smith|
|Right Guard||Caleb Benenoch||Earl Watford|
|Right Tackle||Demar Dotson||Michael Liedtke|
Dirk Koetter has been known to favor the defensive side of the ball. This former defensive coordinator used the off-season to tailor the defense to his liking. The team had the most cap room to utilize this off-season, keeping the defensive rebuild hot and heavy. The team did little to sprinkle offensive improvements, but that was due to the consistency of their core pieces. They used a little of this space to improve areas upfront, helping move players to their desired roles at the offensive line and limiting any confusion in terms of protection schemes.
The off-season started when the team traded for Jason Pierre-Paul. Paul has seen a small decrease in his production over the past few seasons, but these fall-off points are minimal compared to his body of work. He will create a formidable attack when partnered alongside Gerald McCoy on the outside edges. Both headline gaudy statistic numbers in terms of pass-rush capabilities and pressuring the quarterback. This line also saw the addition of two Super Bowl champions in Vinny Curry and Beau Allen. Curry is agile and creates a serviceable role player at both defensive end and linebacker. He can come out of a stance in a hurry, leaving him as dual-threat talent. Allen is a bigger body and usually favors the middle regions. He will be slotted into a defensive line position, which might call for a learning curve given he was mainly a nose tackle last season. The talent level upfront is mirrors the historical rosters that took aim at Super Bowls and division titles in the early 2000s.
The secondary is also much improved compared to last season. Chris Conte comes over from Chicago to serve as the leading safety. He comes from a system that historically preaches defense. He also serves a role in a vital position for this team who has struggled to find consistency within the position. Brent Grimes fills one of the corner positions, marking yet another defensive signing for the team. He will be slated as a starter, which eliminates another concern for the team heading into 2018.
The draft represented a second instance where defensive reigned supreme. The team’s first-round pick came upfront. Vita Vea is a quicker edge-rusher. He will have to force himself into bigger shoes and slide back to linebacker if he hopes to start within this defense. His production will be based on how fast he can adapt to a strong system that preaches consistency. He creates another body for the team to work with in their creation of defensive sets. The secondary also received the bulk of the attention on draft weekend. Two cornerbacks were selected in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft. These players will not be instant impact, rather their development will occur at a quicker clip due to the talent they have to feed from.
The biggest question mark heading into this season for the team is the running back position. Last year, the team rotated many different talents through the backfield. Doug Martin made his exit to Oakland this off-season, voiding that position to the next man up. Peyton Barber looks to be the most promising option the team has on the roster. Barber got run last season and is working his way into the system. Ronald Jones was selected high in the 2nd round, representing one of the best running back talents on draft boards. Jones continues to trend the team’s rushing stance towards change of pace roles. All of their rostered players can catch, but their pass-blocking capabilities are limited.
The team will start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Jameis Winston will serve his suspension for incidents that occurred last season. There is no learning curve attached to Fitzpatrick, which is a good sign for the team. They are going to have to come out of the gate strong as their division continues to improve. They compete within one of the best divisions in all of the league, which calls for offensive production. Their defense made the necessary adjustments to slot their players within the correct roles. The offensive line also followed this suit, but the scoring is going to have to come quick and often for this team to penetrate the likes of the Falcons, Saints, and Panthers.