clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Surprise: After roster cuts, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still the youngest team in the NFL

Despite cutting only young players to get down to a 53-man roster, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still the youngest team in the NFL. They aren't just young at any one position group - they are young across the board. No team has a younger offense, defense or special teams group. The Bucs are entering year three of their rebuilding process, but they just keep shedding veterans and adding younger players. 

For some, this may be a cause for concern. Former Buc Chidi Ahanotu wrote about a lack of leadership on the Bucs defense for Pewter Report. According to Ahanotu, the Bucs would have done well to add a grizzled veteran leader to the team. The Bucs need a voice like Hardy Nickerson in the room.


Of course, the Bucs don't seem to agree. The oldest player on defense is Ronde Barber, but no one has ever described him as a leader - except by example. But youth is not necessarily a bad thing, and leaders need time to grow and step up.

The Bucs are in a unique position, one that can't be compared with any other recent team. The Green Bay Packers have had one of the youngest rosters in the NFL for years on end, and this got them a Super Bowl last year. But those Packers did and still do have old veterans throughout their roster: Chad Clifton and Donald Driver stand out on offense, while Charles Woodson is the heart of that team on defense. While the Bucs may be superficially similar in the way they are buidling their team, at the core they are different. 

That's also why it may take the Bucs a little longer than most fans would like to become a true contender again. Tampa Bay has done a good job of collecting young, talented players. However, it has yet to create a real team, rather than just a group of talented players. We've seen glimpses of the heights this team can reach during the preseason, but we've also seen them beaten into the dirt by the New England Patriots. It will take time for the players  to grow together and turn into a good team.

 Having such a strong group of young players means the future is very bright, but it may take a season before we can say the same about the present.