The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just finished the 2016 NFL draft, adding seven players to fill out their roster. They also signed 19 undrafted free agents, and released eight players. And all of that after free agency, so the Bucs have made some pretty significant alterations to their roster already.
That means we can take a quick look at the possible opening day depth chart. Yes, it's early: we've seen no injuries yet, there will be some late free agency additions, and there are always a few late additions to the roster as the season approaches. Plus, we have no idea how the key roster competitions will go -- some veterans will lose their roster spots to young, unknown players.
With that in mind, here's our early 53-man roster prediction. Rookies in italics.
Quarterback (3): Jameis Winston, Mike Glennon, Ryan Griffin
The Bucs hung on to Ryan Griffin as a future backup for the entire 2015 season. They should do the same thing this year, with Mike Glennon set to leave in free agency. Obviously, Jameis Winston is going to be the starter.
Running back (3): Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Mike James
The Bucs had the best running back duo in the league last year. Mike James is a solid third guy who won't get a lot of touches. Storm Johnson and Russell Hansbrough should compete for his spot.
Wide receiver (6): Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Kenny Bell, Adam Humphries, Dez Stewart, Russell Shepard
Evans and Jackson return as starters, and Kenny Bell should win the third receiver job behind them after missing all of last season with an injury. Humphries sticks as a slot specialist, Russell Shepard is a special teamer who can contribute at the position, and Dez Stewart is my wild card this offseason: an undrafted free agent with a lot of potential.
Tight end (4): Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Luke Stocker, Cameron Brate, Dan Vitale (FB)
These are all pretty obvious. The Bucs hope Seferian-Jenkins struggles so far have mostly been due to injury, and he can pick it up this year. Stocker's a blocking tight end only, Brate more of a slot/move tight end, and Vitale is an H-back who can line up all over the formation.
Offensive tackle (4): Donovan Smith, Demar Dotson, Kevin Pamphile, Caleb Benenoch
Smith and Dotson are the obvious starters, with Pamphile the swing backup and a likely future starter somewhere on the offensive line. Benenoch is this year's fifth-round pick and should at least get a year to develop as a backup. Gosder Cherilus is too expensive to keep around as a backup at $4.5 million, so he loses out.
Interior offensive line (5): J.R. Sweezy, Joe Hawley, Ali Marpet, Evan Smith, Josh Allen
The three starters are set in stone, more less. Smith is cheap enough to stick around for a year as a swing backup, while Josh Allen adds some depth but could easily lose out to a number of competitors.
Defensive tackle (3): Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Akeem Spence
The Bucs are pretty thin at defensive tackle, but the lack of depth at the position itself is mitigated by the fact that defensive ends Robert Ayers, William Gholston and Cliff Matthews can all play inside, especially on passing downs. Still, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Bucs pick up a defensive tackle in free agency later this offseason.
Defensive end (6): Robert Ayers, Jacquies Smith, William Gholston, Noah Spence, Howard Jones, Cliff Matthews
Lots of depth and versatility here. Ayers, Gholston and Matthews are more big, base defensive ends who can stuff the run, while Smith, Spence and Jones are pass-rush specialists with some run defense deficiencies. The Bucs should be able to have a pretty strong rotation at this position, and Spence and possibly Smith bring some special pass-rush ability.
Linebacker (6): Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Daryl Smith, Devante Bond, Jeremiah George, Luke Rhodes
Kwon Alexander returns from his suspension, Lavonte David's the best weakside 4-3 linebacker in the NFL, and Daryl Smith adds some really veteran quality to the group. Downside: there's a lack of depth here, with two rookies including sixth-rounder Bond filling out the group.
Cornerback (5): Brent Grimes, Vernon Hargreaves, Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks, Jude Adjei-Barimah
Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves give this position a massive quality boost, though it may take Hargreaves a while to adjust to the NFL: cornerbacks often struggle as rookies. Verner and Banks will battle it out for the third spot, with Verner likely winning because he can play in the slot. Adjei-Barimah beats out free agent signing Josh Robinson, just because.
Safety (5): Chris Conte, Bradley McDougald, Ryan Smith, Keith Tandy, Major Wright
Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald start for the second year in a row. They're not the best pair of safeties in the league, but they're good enough: the Bucs allowed the fewest 25-yard-plus plays in the NFL. Ryan Smith will be groomed as a long-term starter, while Keith Tandy should get playing time in sub packages and Major Wright is a versatile backup.
Special teams (3)
Roberto Aguayo (K), Bryan Anger (P), Andrew DePaola (LS)
The Bucs have a lot more talent at this position than they did last year, with a second-round pick and a former third-round pick manning the two most visible specialist positions. DePaola has been fine the past couple of years, so he should retain his job this season.