The Buccaneers have a handful of high round draft picks from the Morris era that are yet to have their coming out party. This year is a make-or-break year for some of them, and odds are good atleast one will break out this year and live up to (or beyond) their draft status. Especially given that there was hardly an offseason last year. Let's take a look at who's most likely to meet their expectations:
Roy Miller: The third round pick from 2009 has been solid and unspectacular. Solidly unspectacular. He doesn't get injured, he doesn't miss tackles, and he doesn't get pressure. He may struggle to make the roster with Akoye and Price competing to play next to McCoy. It doesn't help that he was drafted into Jim Bate's system, which was abondoned mid-season in his rookie year. If he doens't make some waves this year...
Gerald McCoy: Before you make this your obvious choice, let's set a standard here. A higher standard, because of his higher draft status than any Buccaneer in I don't even know how long. For McCoy to live up to his status, he doesn't have to have a 15 sack season. But he should contend for the Pro Bowl. I mean, the talent is pretty underwhelming at his position (2012 pro bowl selections)He's got all the talent, he's just got to stay healthy and produce. He's not as injury prone as the uneducated think: in both of the last two seasons, he tore a bicep muscle reaching out to tackle someone. If he stops doing that, he'll stop tearing triceps. Another bonus, he's only 24 and logic only follows that at this young age he's only getting better.
Brian Price: A much more serious injury. He's not had an easy time, and has been excused from practice after he was hospitalized following the death of his sister. I like Price though. Being a DT selected 3rd overall in the second round of the 2010 draft would make him a first rounder in any other year. On the upside, he's only 23. 23! Some guys are being drafted at 23, this guys got 2 years under his belt.
Arellious Benn: He's got ability. Like the last two, he's been injured his first two seasons. Physically he's bigger and faster than Mike Williams, fast enough to be a deep threat. I've always like the guy. But where does he fit? If Parker gets the slot position, Williams and Jackson line up on the outside...? Four reciever sets would be interesting, especially given his run blocking ability isn't much different from Dallas Clark's. In Schiano's run heavy offense though, I don't see it.
Myron Lewis: The whole top half of the 2010 draft class is here! The third round draft pick has been frequently described as "talented but raw." This team needs a good corner, and if he's got the talent, maybe Schiano can turn him around. However he spent last year below everyone else on the depth chart. If all he's got going for him is being a draft pick though, he could be jettisoned for a late draft pick to a cornerback desperate team, cover-2 team(Minnesota?).
Mason Foster: We'll get to know a lot more about him this year. He's got a real offseason under his belt, so there's that. He was a tackling machine in college, though a bit undersized and not the fastest guy either. Still, he's slotted to start. Has the potential to be another solid if unspectacular guy, but then again Zack Thomas didn't have a great combine either.
Bowers is left out because he'll be out, possibly for the season. Freeman had his breakout year in 2010, and Claiborne is already living up to his potential, it seems.