The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have published their first depth chart of the offseason, as is required of them ahead of the first preseason game. The Bucs play the Baltimore Ravens next Thursday at home at 7:30 p.m. ET. These depth charts may be official, but they're never what the Bucs actually use internally (or even of that form). The Bucs also aren't obligated to actually stick to that depth chart, so it doesn't mean much.
The depth chart isn't all that surprising, but there are a few interesting notes to make.
- None of the rookies have earned starting jobs, at least officially. This may be a kind of standard practice, as the Bucs do have decent veterans ahead of each of them. Last year, Doug Martin didn't have an official starting job in the team's first depth chart, either.
- Brian Leonard is the second-team running back, ahead of Mike James as the third-team running back. Peyton Hillis and Michael Smith are way at the back, listed as "other". Hillis hasn't done anything noteworthy in training camp, but Smith may have a shot as a returner and third-down back. Neither Hillis nor Leonard is listed among the fullbacks.
- Leonard Johnson is the starter at right cornerback ahead of Johnthan Banks, while fast-rising rookie Rashaan Melvin is the third-team cornerback behind Darrelle Revis and Danny Gorrer.
- Despite still returning from injury, Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph, Darrelle Revis and Adrian Clayborn are all listed as starters.
- Dekoda Watson is winning the battle with Jonathan Casillas, as he's listed as the starter at strongside linebacker.
- Gary Gibson is still listed as the starter at nose tackle, despite missing basically all of training camp with an injury and despite the rave reviews Akeem Spence has been getting.
- Derek Landri is the backup three-technique behind Gerald McCoy.
- Eric Page is the starting punt returner while Michael Smith is the starting kick returner. No Darrelle Revis or Mike Williams for those jobs, even though they have practiced at returning punts.
- Michael Koenen has no backup for kickoffs or as a holder, weirdly enough.
Right Tackle: Demar Dotson, Gave Carimi
Running Back: Doug martin, Brian Leonard, Mike James, Peyton Hillis, Michael Smith
Defensive Tackle: Gerald McCoy, Derek Landri, Lazarius Levingston
Defensive Tackle: Gary Gibson, Akeem Spence, Matthew Masifilio, Andre Neblett
Strongside Linebacker: Dekoda Watson, Jonathan Casillas, Ka'lial Glaud
Punter: Michael Koenen, Chas Henry
Kickoffs: Michael Koenen
Holder: Michael Koenen
Punt Returner: Eric Page, David Douglas, Branden Smith
Kick Returner: Michael Smith, Mike James, Tiquan Underwood