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Buccaneers first depth chart: Key takeaways ahead of the first game

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released their first depth chart yesterday, which means we get to overanalyze what's not really a very important piece of data. Still, the depth chart says something about the state of the team, even if Lovie Smith doesn't really think so.

"As I said last year, OK we are going to release the depth chart," Lovie Smith says. "Because we're supposed to release the depth chart. Don't put too much into it right now. As I'm saying now, once we start playing games and then we start getting a depth chart, then put a little more stock into it."

Donovan Smith starts, Ali Marpet doesn't

The biggest competition battle this offseason is along the offensive line. The Bucs would like to see rookie Donovan Smith earn the job of starting left tackle, but it looks like they feel he's already done so. No playing games with listing Kevin Pamphile at number one just to push Smith: he's the starter, even though he and Pamphile are still rotating in training camp.

Marpet's situation at right guard is a little more curious. Like Smith, he's been rotating with backsup -- Garrett Gilkey and Kadeem Edwards in his case -- but the Bucs feel Marpet isn't ready to start yet. Gilkey's listed as the starter, which is ominous given his disastrous performance last year -- although Gilkey has supposedly looked better in training camp. I'd expect Marpet to take over the starting job by the end of preseason, though.

Doug Martin will get the ball

Doug Martin is still listed as the starting running back, and he's looked good enough in training camp for him to hold on to that job. In fact, some reporters have noted that he's looked better than at any time since his rookie season. The depth chart doesn't quite back that up, but he'll at least get a good shot at proving that he's returned to form.

As expected, Charles Sims is listed as the main backup while Bobby Rainey's number three and pretty much out of the picture for a significant amount of work. In fact, he may have to work for his roster spot.

The defensive line is taking shape

The Bucs' defense will stand or fall with its pass rush, and we have a pretty good idea of what it will look like: Jacquies Smith is listed as the starter at left end, and George Johnson is the right end -- which is flipped from how I'd expect it to be, but both players can play both sides. The depth chart also belies a lack of depth at the position: T.J. Fatinikun and Larry English are the main backups, and there's no experience or even much potential behind those two.

Intriguingly, the Bucs apparently see William Gholston as a defensive tackle right now -- he's listed as the second nose tackle behind McDonald and ahead of Tony McDaniel. The latter will move up to number two before long, but with Gholston and Bowers the Bucs are moving a lot of defensive end talent inside to provide even more depth at the deepest position on the team. It's not clear whether Gholston will get a shot at defensive end at this point.

Danny Lansanah has won the strongside linebacker job

Kwon Alexander has been doing well at middle linebacker, but he has no real shot at displacing expensive free agent Bruce Carter as a starter. But that move to middle linebacker also means he has no chance of displacing Danny Lansanah, who has apparently locked up his starting spot on the strong side. Josh Keyes is no threat to him, so we can look forward to another season of Lansanah's explosive plays.

Here's the full depth chart:

Offense

POS FIRST SECOND THIRD OTHER
WR Vincent Jackson Louis Murphy Robert Herron Rannell Hall
Kaelin Clay
Donteea Dye
LT Donovan Smith Kevin Pamphile Edawn Coughman
LG Logan Mankins Kadeem Edwards Matthew Masifilo
C Evan Smith Jeremiah Warren Josh Allen
RG Garrett Gilkey Ali Marpet Antoine Everett
RT Demar Dotson Patrick Omameh Reid Fragel
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins Brandon Myers Luke Stocker Timothy Wright
Cameron Brate
WR Mike Evans Russell Shepard Kenny Bell Tavarres King
Adam Humphries
QB Jameis Winston Mike Glennon Seth Lobato
RB Doug Martin Charles Sims Bobby Rainey Mike James
Dominique Brown
FB Jorvorskie Lane Joey Iosefa Evan Rodriguez

Defense

POS FIRST SECOND THIRD OTHER
LDE Jacquies Smith T.J. Fatinikun Jamal Young
DT Gerald McCoy Henry Melton Da'Quan Bowers Caushaud Lyons
DT Clinton McDonald William Gholston Tony McDaniel George Uko
Quayshawne Buckley
Akeem Spence
RDE George Johnson Larry English Lawrence, Jr. Sidbury Ryan Delaire
SLB Danny Lansanah Josh Keyes Orie Lemon
MLB Bruce Carter Kwon Alexander Larry Dean
WLB Lavonte David Jason Williams Khaseem Greene
CB Alterraun Verner Sterling Moore Brandon Dixon Jude Adjei-Barimah
CB Johnthan Banks Mike Jenkins Leonard Johnson Isaiah Frey
Al-Hajj Shabazz
SS Major Wright D.J. Swearinger Kimario McFadden
FS Bradley McDougald Chris Conte Keith Tandy Chris Hackett

Special teams

POS FIRST SECOND THIRD OTHER
P Michael Koenen Spencer Lanning Karl Schmitz
PK Patrick Murray Brandon Bogotay Michael Koenen
KO Michael Koenen Patrick Murray Brandon Bogotay
H Michael Koenen Mike Glennon
LS Andrew DePaola
PR Kaelin Clay Bobby Rainey
KR Kaelin Clay Bobby Rainey