An Early Look At The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Roster - Defense

After looking at the offensive side of the ball yesterday, let's take a look at the defense. Who will start where, and who will be the backups? Here are my thoughts. 

DE: Adrian Clayborn (Starter - unsigned draftee), Da'Quan Bowers (Starter - unsigned draftee), Michael Bennett (exclusive rights free agent), Alex Magee - Clayborn will get the chance to start immediately and Bowers will start if he's healthy. If he isn't healthy he'll likely be placed on PUP and Kyle Moore could make the roster while he continues rehabbing. Alex Magee really impressed me in limited time last season. Michael Bennett has a lot of potential and got the chance to start at right end late last season. The Bucs could also decide to re-sign Tim Crowder, who has been solid during his tenure as a Buc. Kyle Moore's career as a Buc is likely over, as the 2009 fourth-rounder has done nothing whatsoever this season. 

DT: Gerald McCoy (Starter), Roy Miller (Starter), Brian Price, Al Woods - I think Miller retains his starting job another year as Price learns the ropes and rotates in on third down. McCoy is the obvious starter, and Al Woods will have to fight Frank Okam for the last roster spot. I think Woods showed a little more than Okam did, so he's more likely to make the roster. 

LB: Dekoda Watson (Starter), Mason Foster (Starter - unsigned draftee), Geno Hayes (Starter), Adam Hayward(Restricted free agent), Tyrone McKenzie, A Special Teamer - Mason Foster will get the chance to earn the starting job at MLB immediately and I think he grabs it. Geno Hayes will likely return his starting spot as a weakside linebacker, while Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson can platoon on the strong side. Yes, this means I think they resign Hayward, who's very valuable as a multi-purpose backup. The coaching staff supposedly loves Tyrone McKenzie, and there's no reason to think he doesn't make the roster. The Buccaneers need another linebacker to fill out the roster, and there's an outside chance they re-sign Quincy Black to start at SAM again. 

CB: Ronde Barber (Starter), E.J. Biggers (Starter), Myron Lewis, Anthony Gaitor (unsigned draftee), Elbert Mack (Restricted free agent) - I don't have Aqib Talib listed here because he's likely facing a suspension and the Bucs may trade or release him anyway. Assuming Talib isn't back, this is what the roster will look like. If he is back, slide everyone down one spot and Elbert Mack ends up off the roster. 

S: Cody Grimm (Starter), Sean Jones (Starter), Ahmad Black (unsigned draftee), Larry Asante, Corey Lynch - Yes, that's five safeties for the Bucs. This isn't unprecedented as they went into last season with five safeties as well. Grimm and Jones are the starters and it'd be a minor miracle if Black, Asante or Lynch could challenge them for a starting job. But all three are good enough to stay on the roster as backups, special teamers and situational players. 

P - Robert Malone - He was decent as a punter last year and while the Bucs will probably bring in some competition in camp, he's good enough to hold onto the job.

And that makes 53! Of course, this will all change significantly if the labor situation changes, as the roster could be expanded and the rules for restricted free agency could add more players currently scheduled to be free agents to the Bucs' roster. 

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