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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 53-man Roster Projection - Defense

We've taken a look at the offense already, so now it's time to evaluate the defense. Who will stay and who will go? 

Defensive Tackles (5): Gerald McCoy, Frank Okam, Roy Miller, Brian Price, Al Woods

Roy Miller is expected to be fine once the season starts, but his injury is also expected to bother him all season long. Similarly, Brian Price likely won't be ready to play a lot of snaps early in the season. With those two questionable, the Bucs need an extra tackle in the form of Al Woods, at least early on. That could change later, but injuries and depth concern push Al Woods on the roster. That's not to say that Al Woods is a bad player - he looks like a pretty decent nose tackle, and seems to be similar to Roy Miller. 

Defensive Ends (5): Adrian Clayborn, Michael Bennett, Da'Quan Bowers, Tim Crowder, Kyle Moore
Practice squad candidate: George Johnson

The question here is whether they keep five defensive ends or six. Clayborn, Bennett and Bowers are all guaranteed roster spots, but it gets iffy after that. Crowder, Moore and Johnson have all played well this preseason. Ultimately I think Crowder's experience and Moore's status as a former draft pick win out over Johnson. The fact that Johnson is still eligible for the practice squad while the other two are not certainly helps as well. It's a very close race, though, and I wouldn't be surprised if Johnson  beats out either Moore or Johnson. 


Linebackers (6): Quincy Black, Mason Foster, Geno Hayes, Dekoda Watson, Tyrone McKenzie, Adam Hayward
Practice Squad candidates: Nick Reveiz, Derrell Smith, Simoni Lawrence, Brandon Heath

This is pretty straightforward. The three starters and three backups are basically all guaranteed roster spots and have done nothing to lose them in the preseason. In fact, Dekoda Watson has earned significant playing time as a pass rusher. No one behind those six guys has made a splash. The only real question is who lands on the practice squad. 


Cornerbacks(5): Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib, E.J. Biggers, Myron Lewis, Anthony Gaitor
Practice Squad candidates: D.J. Johnson

This is pretty straightforward again. With Aqib Talib not being suspended the Bucs don't need to keep an extra cornerback. Barber, Talib, Biggers and Lewis were all guaranteed roster spots going into training camp and have done nothing to lose them. Gaitor has really played very well this preseason and has clearly earned a spot on the roster. This pushes Elbert Mack and D.J. Johnson off the roster, and the latter could land on the Bucs' practice squad. 


Safeties (4): Sean Jones, Cody Grimm, Larry Asante, Corey Lynch
Practice squad candidates: Ahmad Black, Vince Anderson, Dominique Harris, Devin Holland

Yes, that's Ahmad Black missing out on the roster. The fifth-round pick has been injured throughout training camp, and that really hurts him. The fact that almost all the other defensive backs have played well certainly doesn't help him either. If he passes through waivers he'd be perfect for the practice squad, but I don't see this working out in terms of numbers. The fact that Tanard Jackson could return after week 2 will make it even harder for him to stick around. 


Punter (1): Michael Koenen


Longsnapper (1): Christian Yount

Andrew Economos is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and Christian Yount has really looked pretty decent. So why not keep the healthy longsnapper?