During the 2019 offseason, the Buccaneers made many changes to the defense and signed new players that will fit in well with the defensive scheme. Todd Bowles, the new defensive coordinator, is one of the major changes that has been made to improve the unit. He will be changing the defense to a 3-4 scheme and focusing on having an aggressive style defense with more blitz packages. This is a major scheme change in the defense because the Bucs have mainly been in a 4-3 defensive scheme under past head coaches. The changes made for this season will hopefully lead to players performing well under it and help improve the defense.
Carl Nassib has been one of the best acquisitions that the Bucs have signed over the past season because he has exceeded many initial expectations. He was recently named the defensive captain alongside Lavonte David, which shows the team believes he will be a leader among other players and perform well. Nassib will fit perfectly in the 3-4 scheme because Bowles is known to call many blitz packages that sets up the pass rushers great opportunities to get to the quarterback. He will be switching from DE to OLB in the new defensive scheme and will be a crucial part in the success of the defense line during the 2019 season.
Vita Vea is another candidate for breakout player that will have a great impact on the defensive line this season. During his rookie year, he had a slow start due to an injury he sustained but was able to get to the quarterback more frequently and help stop the run after gaining more experience. He finished last season with three sacks, and I expect him to have more with the change of Bowles’ new defense. The new addition of Ndamukong Suh is one of the key reasons why I think Vita Vea will have a breakout year since they both have similar playing styles. He has had the opportunity to learn and play alongside two of the best interior defensive linemen in Gerald McCoy and Suh. If Vea stays healthy, he will have a great season and be a disruptive force for the Bucs defensive line.
Coming off a solid rookie season and great preseason, Jordan Whitehead will look to be a key factor in the Bucs secondary. He will be starting at FS during Week 1 versus the San Francisco 49ers and should fit well in Todd Bowles’ defense throughout the regular season. Whitehead should be a good fit in this scheme because he has an aggressive and downhill playing style that is great for accumulating tackles and stopping the run. This season the Bucs will have him more involved in pass coverages which was shown in the preseason games. During Week 3 of preseason he had a great read and interception off Baker Mayfield and will look to continue that performance into the regular season. If he continues playing like he has in training camp and preseason, he will have a breakout year in the Bucs defense.
Three other possible breakout players that weren’t mentioned: Devin White, Carlton Davis, and Vernon Hargreaves
Who will have the biggest breakout year on the Bucs defense?
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