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Comparing the Buccaneers' 2015 and 2013 starting lineups

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lovie Smith has overhauled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster over the past two years. That's an obvious statement, but it really stands out when you compare the starting lineups. Even adding common positions that may not technically start, like a third receiver, second tight end and slot cornerback, the team has just seven starters who were starting in 2013.

But does that mean that they've actually gotten better, or have the Bucs simply been treading water? Let's go through the Bucs' "starting" lineups, including a few positions that may not technically start, but will still be on the field a lot.

Pos 2013 2015

QB Josh Freeman Jameis Winston
RB Doug Martin Doug Martin
FB Erik Lorig Joseph Iosefa
WR Vincent Jackson Vincent Jackson
WR Mike Williams Mike Evans
WR Kevin Ogletree Louis Murphy
TE Luke Stocker Luke Stocker
TE Tom Crabtree Austin Seferian-Jenkins
LT Donald Penn Donovan Smith
LG Carl Nicks Logan Mankins
C Jeremy Zuttah Evan Dietrich-Smith
RG Davin Joseph Ali Marpet
RT Demar Dotson Demar Dotson

DE Adrian Clayborn Jacquies Smith
DT Gerald McCoy Gerald McCoy
DT Akeem Spence Clinton McDonald
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim George Johnson
WLB Lavonte David Lavonte David
MLB Mason Foster Bruce Carter
SLB Jonathan Casillas Danny Lansanah
CB Johnthan Banks Johnthan Banks
CB Darrelle Revis Alterraun Verner
NB Leonard Johnson Sterling Moore
SS Mark Barron Bradley McDougald
FS Dashon Goldson Chris Conte

So maybe it's just me, but I'm not seeing a massive improvement here. I think defensive end is better, but I'm not sure the difference is gigantic: Jacquies Smith and George Johnson are pretty much just as unproven as Adrian Clayborn was at the time. That's actually true across the defense: a lot of unproven players who may be good, or may not be good at a lot of positions. In hindsight, a lot of those players in 2013 didn't work out -- but we tend to overlook that uncertainty this year.

The same is true on offense. Yes, Josh Freeman turned out to be useless but that wasn't necessarily completely obvious at the time. People still had 2010 in their heads and a few good games in 2012, with hopes that he'd improve. I think there's certainly a better chance that Winston succeeds now than that Freeman would have succeeded in 2013, but again, there's a lot of uncertainty there.

Even worse, the offensive line actually looked outstanding in 2013 -- before we knew that Carl Nicks  would see his career end thanks to MRSA, and before Davin Joseph's injuries turned out to be serious enough to truly end his career. This year, we have rookies -- which means more question marks -- at two positions. At least the receiving corps is better.

Overall, I'm not sure we can say that this group is definitely better than that of 2013. It certainly has the potential to be, and there's been a lot of turnover since then, but this is not a fundamentally different group.