The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finalized their 53-man roster, which gives us a chance to look at the depth chart and how the Bucs decided to distribute all of their roster spots.
Quarterback: Jameis Winston, Mike Glennon, Ryan Griffin
The first two names are obvious and don't really require any commentary. The third is a bit of a mystery, though. One theory suggests Griffin is on the roster just to give the Bucs extra insight into the New Orleans Saints offense, who the Bucs play in week two. That seems like a waste of a roster spot -- but then, so does carrying a third quarterback who won't get on the field.
Running back: Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey, Mike James, Jorvorskie Lane
The Bucs were going to have a kind of competition for running back carries this offseason, but Doug Martin took his ball and went home -- home being the starting job. Martin was obviously the best running back on the roster, and he'll get the bulk of the carries. Sims couldn't stand out as a runner, which means he'll likely be limited to third-down duties again, with Bobby Rainey only coming onto the field as a injury replacement. Mike James will get to spend the season inactive, like he did last year, while Lane will be the team's primary fullback.
Wide receiver: Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Louis Murphy, Russell Shepard, Adam Humphries
With Jackson and Evans on the outside, the Bucs have an outstanding pair of starting receivers. It's beyond that that things get interesting. Murphy's the reliable, solid veteran who won't wow anyone, but won't embarrass you either. Shepard is the incredibly athletic special teamer who's still trying to fit in at receiver, but who has shown up when he's been asked to play there. Shepard secured his spot on the roster and in the receiving corps with a terrific preseason, and he could see quite a few snaps this year as a fourth receiver in spread sets -- or as an injury replacement.
Humphries is the most intriguing player there, though. Not because he's a gamebreaking receiver, but because he's different from everyone else. The rest of the corps consists mostly of players who are best going in a straight line making contested catches, while Humphries is a small slot receiver who wins by turning quickly in small spaces. He may see more playing time than Murphy and Shepard just because of that.
Tight end: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Luke Stocker, Brandon Myers
No surprise here. The Bucs want Seferian-Jenkins to be their starting tight end who can function as a blocker and reliable receiver. He's not quite there, but he has the raw tools to turn into that kind of player. The one thing he still needs to work on is his hands -- he's not dropping passes exactly but he's not making the tough catches, and that's exactly what big tight ends are expected to do. Stocker's going to be the team's primary blocking tight end, while Myers is more likely to be the move tight end/utility guy who gets used wherever Seferian-Jenkins and Stocker don't suffice. Watch for Cameron Brate to rejoin the roster as soon as any kind of injury hits.
Offensive tackle: Donovan Smith, Gosder Cherilus, Kevin Pamphile
The Buccaneers are carrying surprisingly few offensive tackles on their roster right now. Just three of them, with Demar Dotson on short-term injured reserve and Reid Fragel and Edawn Coughman on standby on the practice squad. One of them will likely get called up to the regular season roster if the currently-injured Smith can't go on Sunday against the Titans.
Still, this is a fairly strong group of tackles. Smith has looked impressive in the preseason and while he isn't a dominant player, he should give the Bucs a solid presence at left tackle. Cherilus is aging and not the player he used to be, but as a half-season fill-in at right tackle he should do nicely. Finally, Pamphile has developed impressively and wouldn't look bad starting a couple of games at left tackle -- as long as he's kept off the field on the right side of the line.
Interior offensive line: Logan Mankins, Evan Smith, Ali Marpet, Jeremiah Warren, Matthew Masifilo, Eric Kush
The three Bucs starters are known commodities and weren't really doubt for much of the offseason, though Marpet's elevation to the starting lineup has been slightly more rapid than expected. Warren's on the roster mostly because he can snap the ball, and you need a backup who can do that -- it'll be interesting to see how long he sticks now that the Bucs have picked up center Eric Kush off waivers. The surprise on the roster is Masifilo, who converted from defensive tackle to offensive guard and didn't look great doing so -- but the Bucs may be unwilling to let go of him and are banking on his further development at the position. In all, the Bucs mostly lack depth here -- neither Warren, nor Masifilo nor Kush are reliable backups and if any injuries hit the interior line the team could run into significant problems.