Buccaneers 53-Man Roster 2013: Projecting the opening day players

USA TODAY Sports

Who will the Buccaneers keep at the bottom end of their roster? Which surprise rookies will get to play some Buccaneer football this year?

The offseason has started, the draft is over and the Buccaneers are probably done adding players. So, what could the opening-day roster look like? Here's my try.

Offense

QB (2): Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon

The Buccaneers could certainly use the extra draft spot afforded by cutting Dan Orlovsky, even though they guaranteed the veteran $300,000 in salary this season.

RB (3): Doug Martin, Mike James, Brian Leonard

Doug Martin is the undisputed starter, while Mark Dominik has made it clear they see Mike James as the backup. Leonard should be the third-down back. Michael Smith has a chance to stick as a kick returner and change of pace back but the numbers don't work out right now.

FB (1): Erik Lorig

Lorig's a pretty decent all-around fullback, and has essentially no competition to take his job.

TE (4): Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree, Nate Byham, Evan Landi

The Buccaneers apparently think Stocker can be a good starter, while Crabtree offers some speed as a receiver in an H-back role. Byham's a very good blocker but doesn't offer much as a receiver, while Landi may beat out Danny Noble.

WR (6): Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree, Chris Owusu, Tiquan Underwood, Eric Page

Lots of bodies at this position but little certainty behind the top two. The Bucs gave Ogletree a decent amount of money to be the third wideout, but it's any man's game behind them. Underwood has some experience in the system, while Owusu has been with the team since the middle of last season and was very productive in college. Page put up ridiculous numbers at Toledo and may fit as a slot receiver.

OL (8): Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, Jeremy Zuttah, Davin Joseph, Demar Dotson, Ted Larsen, Jamon Meredith, Jace Daniels

The starters are obvious, while Larsen and Meredith are decent and versatile backups. Jace Daniels gets the backup tackle job. The Bucs lack depth, here.

Defense

DL (9): Adrian Clayborn, Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence, Da'Quan Bowers, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Derek Landri, William Gholston, Steven Means, Aaron Morgan

Spence grabs the starting spot at nose tackle, and his and Landri's presence pushes Gary Gibson off the roster. The Bucs can bring Gholston or Te'o-Nesheim inside as a backup three-technique. Morgan showed some skills as a pass-rusher last season.

LB (6): Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Jonathan Casillas, Najee Goode, Adam Hayward, Dekoda Watson

The Bucs are content with their linebackers, and they have some decent depth across the board.

CB (6): Darrelle Revis, Eric Wright, Johnthan Banks, Leonard Johnson, Deveron Carr, Rashaan Melvin

The questions here mostly come beyond the third cornerback spot. The Bucs have a slew of players who could stay on the roster. I like Melvin's size as a press corner on the outside, while the Bucs gave a decent amount of money to Carr to get him to compete in Tampa. They beat out Gorrer and Gaitor, whose size is too big of a handicap in today's NFL.

S (5): Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, Ahmad Black, Keith Tandy, Cody Grimm

Cody Grimm barely makes it as a special teamer, but he's the last man on the roster.

Special Teams

ST (3): Connor Barth, Andrew Economos, Michael Koenen

Andrew Depaola might beat out Economos, but I think the veteran has it in him to stick around another year. It's conceivable that Chas Henry forces Koenen and his sizable salary off the roster, but only if he can take over kickoff duties as well.

Read more:

Interceptions don't matter

Freeman helped Martin, a lot

The Bucs missed too many tackles in 2012

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