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Buccaneers projected depth chart, post-NFL Draft

Plenty will change between now and training camp, but here’s an initial glimpse at the potential pecking order.

NFL: APR 29 Buccaneers Press Conference Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We now enter the only true quiet portion of the year for NFL activity, as not much will happen aside from mini-camps and OTAs before the entire roster reports for training camp in late July.

Everything is subject to change until then, but the Buccaneers added roughly 30 rookies into the fold between their official draft class, undrafted free agent signings, and camp invitees. Many of those won’t see the roster, but we have a good idea of guys with a serious chance of being in Tampa come kickoff for actual games.

We won’t list every single new addition, but we’ll include drafted rookies and notable UDFAs for this exercise as we examine the potential pecking order for the 2023 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

* denotes rookie


The offense will be completely new-look from years past with plenty of competition across multiple positions and a new scheme.


  1. Kyle Trask
  2. Baker Mayfield

This will be a true competition, but it’s not a stretch to say that the team wants third-year pro Kyle Trask to win this job. They invested a second-rounder in him, but he has sat behind Tom Brady and Blaine Gabbert for two years with no meaningful playing time. They clearly like him to pass on drafting a QB this year (Will Levis was available at No. 19), but this will be his only opportunity prove that faith wasn’t misguided.

Baker Mayfield has the former No. 1 pick pedigree and is aiming to reignite his career with what presumably will be his last chance for awhile before he becomes a bonafide backup. Mayfield has always flashed the tools and good stretches of play, so he will need to show he can finally remain consistent.

Running Back

  1. Rachaad White
  2. Ke’Shawn Vaughn
  3. Chase Edmonds
  4. Sean Tucker*

The Bucs have an undisputed running back No. 1, and his name is Rachaad White. The Arizona State product gave reason for optimism in his rookie year despite operating within a horrible overall ground game and having to cede way too many snaps to Leonard Fournette. White touts true three-down potential if he can take further steps in his development.

After White, the situation gets very interesting. The Bucs passed on drafting another running back, but they gave strong guarantees to Syracuse UDFA Sean Tucker, who was widely regarded as a draftable prospect. He’s decisive and explosive, and he brings that home run element currently missing from the roster. He will seriously compete for primary backup snaps with former third-rounder Vaughn and veteran journeyman Edmonds.

Wide Receiver

  1. Mike Evans
  2. Chris Godwin
  3. Russell Gage
  4. Trey Palmer*
  5. Deven Thompkins
  6. Kaylon Geiger
  7. Rakim Jarrett*

No need for discussion with the top 3, there will be no changes there unless an injury occurs. The team may add more veteran competition for camp to push the rookies and sophomores, but right now it’s easy to see the team focusing on what they have.

Palmer is a burner with decent size who will provide a valuable downfield element. Thompkins and Geiger primarily contributed on special teams but will get further opportunities to show usefulness in the passing game.

Jarrett is definitely someone to keep an eye on. He received some of the highest reported guarantees of any UDFA, and he’s absolutely in a situation where he will be allowed to fight for snaps. He has all the physical talent in the world as a do-it-all slot, but the route running is unpolished and he suffered from a concerning lack of production. The tools are there, but the difference between the final 53 and the practice squad will be how well and how quickly he takes to coaching.

Tight End

  1. Cade Otton
  2. Ko Kieft
  3. Payne Durham*
  4. David Wells

The Bucs are clearly comfortable with youth in the tight end room, as no one will be older than 27 if this group holds. Otton will enter as undisputed TE1, with Kieft likely getting first dibs on 12 personnel looks (as well potential 21 personnel as a fullback) due to his blocking chops. Durham has better receiving ability than Kieft, but he’ll need to continue his blocking development before he earns more looks in 12 personnel rather than 13.

Wells is a darkhorse but the team did keep him on the practice squad most of last year.

Offensive Tackle

  1. Tristan Wirfs
  2. Luke Goedeke
  3. Brandon Walton
  4. Matt Feiler

The draft confirmed that the brass is comfortable with moving Tristan Wirfs to left tackle and letting second-year Luke Goedeke get his chance at redemption by playing right tackle. It’s a risky proposition given Goedeke’s below-average length for the position (only 32 1/4” arms), but he now has pro experience and did offer a hopeful performance there against Atlanta in Game 17 last year.

The team likes Brandon Walton, and he even played left tackle due to Donovan Smith’s injury last year. He’ll get first crack at taking over for Josh Wells as new primary swing tackle. Feiler is a well-experienced veteran who will compete at guard but has arguably played his best at right tackle as a pro. It wouldn’t be shocking for him to be the next man up if Goedeke falters.

Offensive Guard

  1. Robert Hainsey
  2. Cody Mauch*
  3. Nick Leverett
  4. Matt Feiler
  5. Aaron Stinnie
  6. John Molchon

This is easily the most competitive group on the team, and that’s a good thing. The team drafted Cody Mauch as a second-rounder this year — they in fact traded up to get him — so it’s overwhelmingly likely that he’ll continue the team’s stretch of installing small-school players as interior line starters. He looked natural there at the Senior Bowl, so he’ll get first dibs at the right guard spot in all likelihood.

Hainsey unexpectedly took the center reins after Jensen’s knee injury in 2022, and he played well there. With Jensen back for at least one more year, the team is likely hoping Hainsey can kick over to guard and continue as a starter given how well he did as a pass protector (0 sacks allowed last year). That leaves Leverett as the next man up for both guard spots, and that’s perfectly fine given how solid he was. Feiler will be available there as well.

Stinnie played meaningful snaps during the team’s Super Bowl run but missed all of last year with a knee injury. He’ll be back, but it will be an uphill battle given the greater versatility that most other players on the line currently look to provide. John Molchon is a versatile but limited athlete who’s best hope will likely be the practice squad.


  1. Ryan Jensen
  2. Robert Hainsey
  3. Nick Leverett
  4. Cody Mauch*

Jensen’s tone-setting leadership and overall skill level will elevate the entire interior line as long as his recovery continues without a hitch. If anything were to happen though, the team does have Hainsey ready and willing. Depending on how he does at guard and how Mauch’s development tracks, Hainsey may still be heir apparent at this position.

Leverett does have center experience in NFL games and will be the emergency guy there while Mauch learns more about the position.


The Bucs brought in several intriguing pieces who will push established veterans for playing time.

Defensive End

  1. Calijah Kancey*
  2. Greg Gaines
  3. Pat O’Connor

The team wanted more speed and more pass rush, and they’ll get it with their first-rounder, Kancey. He’s undersized, but his rare burst and skill level as a rookie will ensure he gets a lion’s share of the snaps as 3-technique.

Free-agent addition Greg Gaines is a steady player who will rotate all along the defensive line, but he might get first dibs here on obvious run downs. Pat O’Connor is a special teamer mainly who can contribute 5-10 snaps a game on defense.

Nose Tackle

  1. Vita Vea
  2. Deadrin Senat

Vea shook off a sluggish start to look more like his elite self toward the end of last year. He led the team in sacks, and he’ll finally have some young running mates to help take the heat off him along the interior.

Deadrin Senat provided meaningful snaps in 2022 (68.5 grade from Pro Football Focus), and he’s back to likely lock down a backup spot here.

Defensive Tackle

  1. Logan Hall
  2. Greg Gaines

The Bucs will hope to see more from Hall, who was their top choice in last year’s draft (33rd overall). He didn’t have an NFL-ready body, but reports of his offseason conditioning are promising. He’ll get first crack at taking over William Gholston’s role full-time, but Gaines will be ready to start if that maturation process remains slow. Bringing back Gholston should remain a possibility.

Edge Rushers

  1. Shaq Barrett
  2. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka
  3. Anthony Nelson
  4. YaYa Diaby*
  5. Jose Ramirez*
  6. Cam Gill

The team pushed a major talent infusion into an edge group that was far too thin the prior two seasons. Barrett, presuming he’s healthy, and Tryon-Shoyinka will return as primary starters, but Jason Licht brought in YaYa Diaby as a third-rounder and Jose Ramirez as a sixth-rounder.

They both should provide major juice and offer some different elements the team previously lacked, so it seems very likely that they’ll both push Anthony Nelson for playing time. Nelson got a 2-year contract, but he’s going to be a rotational guy on early downs if these rookies impress early. Cam Gill’s future is feeling dreary given how little the team has invested him financially.

Inside Linebackers

  1. Lavonte David
  2. Devin White
  3. K.J. Britt
  4. SirVocea Dennis*
  5. J.J. Russell

Not much discuss here, as the team will not trade Devin White so he’ll be starter for at least one more year. Lavonte David is also back, so no questions about that.

Behind them gets more interesting, as K.J. Britt will open as the primary backup but is going to struggle with holding off the more dynamic Dennis, who is a better overall athlete and fit for what Todd Bowles likes in his linebackers. Dennis should quickly become the primary backup, with the expectation that he’ll compete for a starting spot next season.

J.J. Russell stuck with the team throughout last season, bouncing between the practice squad and active roster. If he sticks as ILB4 over Britt, it will be because of better special teams play.


  1. Jamel Dean
  2. Carlton Davis
  3. Zyon McCollum
  4. Anthony Chesley
  5. Don Gardner

Dean returns on a long-term deal, and he will continue to form one of the best outside tandems with Carlton Davis. Second-year player Zyon McCollum still needs serious development, but his sheer athleticism and competitive demeanor will give him a lot of runway. He’ll probably be the designated backup for Dean and Davis.

Chesley is an interesting player with some live game experience, so he’ll get his shot at depth/special teams. The team also likes Gardner, who stuck around as a UDFA all throughout 2022 on the practice squad.


  1. Dee Delaney
  2. Zyon McCollum
  3. Josh Hayes*

By passing on several nickelback candidates until the sixth round, the team showed some degree of faith in Delaney. He’s been with the team since 2021 and saw his most action yet last year, playing snaps at both safety spots and slot corner. He’s unspectacular but fine as a stopgap.

McCollum has the athletic chops to be nickel, but OTAs and training camp will tell the tale on how far he’s come from his rough rookie year (46.3 PFF grade). The team drafting little-known defensive back Josh Hayes is a gamble, and it’s unreasonable to expect sixth rounders with mediocre athletic profiles to step into prominent roles. Hayes has a lot to prove.

Strong Safety

  1. Ryan Neal
  2. Josh Hayes*

Tampa getting Ryan Neal totally solidified the strong safety position, as Neal broke out as one of the top players in the league at that position last year. Hayes played safety for Kansas State this year, so he’ll get some run as a backup.

Free Safety

  1. Antoine Winfield, Jr.
  2. Dee Delaney
  3. Nolan Turner

Bowles emphasized that he’d like to keep Winfield at free safety most of the time and allot the fourth-year phenom the opportunity to do what he does best. That’s good news too, because he offers much more stability at that spot than either Delaney (who will likely be elsewhere anyway) and Nolan Turner, a UDFA from last year who impressed in camp but will need to continue that upward track this year.

Special Teams


  1. Chase McLaughlin
  2. Jake Verity
  3. Jake Bates*

This should be a true kicking competition, which none of us want to hear but it is what it is. McLaughlin has logged plenty of NFL kicks and sports a strong leg (career long of 57), but he’s been inconsistent between 40-49 yards so he’ll need to clean up his makes there (only 19 of 32 in that range).

Verity has bounced around practice squads with no regular season kicks attempted (6 for 7 in preseason), but he’s young and he’ll get his shot. Jake Bates is a UDFA from Arkansas who specialized in kickoffs for the Razorbacks — he attempted no field goals. He’s got a big leg though, placing fourth nationally in 2022 with a 64.47 yards per kickoff average and logging 64 touchbacks to rank fourth nationally.


  1. Jake Camarda

Camarda was one of the NFL’s best punters as a rookie last year — 72.5 PFF grade, which ranked 9th — and will come into camp completely uncontested. He’s the team’s punter for 2023.

Long Snapper

  1. Zach Triner
  2. Evan Deckers*

Triner has been the team’s long snapper for four seasons but will see some competition from Duke UDFA Evan Deckers. I’m not going to pretend like I know what goes into long snapper evaluation, so I guess we’ll see how this goes.

Kick / Punt Returner

  1. Deven Thompkins
  2. Trey Palmer*
  3. Rakim Jarrett*

Thompkins created a real spark on kick returns after taking the job from bust Jaelon Darden. He’s decisive and possesses some electric quickness despite his tiny frame. With a 54-yard return last year, he gave Tampa its longest return in more than 10 years.

That said, he’ll get pushed from rookies Palmer and Jarrett. Palmer especially is one to watch, as he returned multiple kicks for touchdowns in college and produced a healthy 25.4 average on kick returns for the Cornhuskers. Jarrett isn’t as impressive but is fast and has experience with the duties.

It really comesdown to these guys showing good return chops but also providing upside on offense. This may be an underrated battle to watch throughout the summer.