2014 Depth Chart: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

| June 20, 2014

2014 depth update TB

[Chart last updated 7/7/14]

Notes

•  One of the toughest decisions on this roster was where to slot running back Doug Martin. If we were going strictly off his 2013 season we’d be restricting ourselves to just 317 fairly unimpressive snaps. His 2012 season was much more impressive, however, and worthy of a high quality rating. So in the end the fairest decision seemed to be to meet in the middle, leaving him as a good starter heading into 2014. We know he has the capability to be more than that, but the start of the 2013 season before his injury just leaves that little bit of doubt.

•  Michael Johnson is a player I expect many will feel we should have higher, and I think it really boils down to what you look for in a defensive end. Johnson excels against the run, but he’s a little too inconsistent as a pass rusher, keeping him just shy of high quality for the time being.

•  Tampa Bay have two elite players on their roster and neither were a difficult decision when it came to deciding what level to have each player at. Both Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David are not only amongst the best players at their position, but the best in the entire league. There’s good reason that they were fourth and fifth in the PFF Top 101 list this year and give the Buccaneers an excellent base to build from in years to come.

Roster Battles

1.  Running Back

A fully healthy Martin will be their lead back in 2014, but how will the carries behind him be split up? We saw both Bobby Rainey and Mike James have big games after Martin went down last year, with James’ performance against the Seattle Seahawks and Rainey’s against the Atlanta Falcons both eye-opening showings. Then you add rookie Charles Sims into the mix and suddenly there doesn’t look to be enough carries to go around. Based on last year, James should be the favorite to be Martin’s top backup, as he showed a little more consistency with his play before his own injury.

2.  Tight End

Obviously a big priority for the Buccaneers this offseason, they picked up tight end Brandon Myers in free agency, before drafting Austin Seferian-Jenkins with their second round pick. Myers figures to be their top tight end in 2014, but the rookie will be expected to compete with Timothy Wright for snaps behind and alongside him. Both are big targets for quarterback Josh McCown, something he had success with in Chicago last year.

3.  Right Guard

It came as a surprise to many, including myself, to read that the untested Patrick Omameh was leading the race to be the Buccaneers’ starting right guard. His competition right now is Jamon Meredith and, while the former South Carolina Gamecock started on the offensive line in the second half of the 2013 season, he was largely disappointing.

 

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Comments (38)

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  1. Chris says:

    What am I going to do every morning after this series is over?

    • Gordon McGuinness says:

      Glad you’ve enjoyed it Chris, we’ll just have to come up with more content to keep everyone entertained before the season begins!

  2. Chris says:

    It’s unreal how much disparity there is between the good and bad players on this defense.

    • Barron Buc says:

      This defense is a actually very talented across the board. They could be top-10 with Lovie

  3. Nick says:

    Can’t believe they didn’t address the defence in the draft. Get McCoy and David some help! I do think their secondary would be better if the pash rush was better. Really have missed on DE’s the last few years

    • Grizzly says:

      totally agree, I think the addition of Johnson really helps the pass rush, and will result in the safeties playing much better this season. Lovie Smith has always been able to get good production from his safeties, and I think Bucs fans should be very excited about what Goldson and especially Mark Barron can do in this scheme.

      • Barron Buc says:

        Agreed, I think we’ll see high interception totals in the secondary this year. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Goldson or Barron be All-Pros.

  4. Eric says:

    DJ Moore seems to be the favorite for the slot corner position over Leonard Johnson, however, he doesn’t appear on the depth chart here? Better chance we cut a WR (shepard, page) before we role into the season with 5 CBs (none of the S depth can play that position effectively).

    • DrAWNiloc says:

      However inadvertent it might have been, “role into the season” was a brilliant pun. Kudos!

  5. Barron Buc says:

    Some of these grades seem a bit harsh. I agree with the offense, but the defense:
    *Clayborn: I’d say below average, right? He did a lot of stunting, so it’s hard to base his grade off his body of work
    *M. Johnson: He was one of PFF’s to pass rushers. Definitely should be high quality.
    *Foster: Seems to have a good nose for the ball. How’s his coverage?
    *Goldson: He was an All-Pro in 2012! I know that doesn’t mean much, but give him a year in the Tampa 2. I’m sure he’ll be high quality.
    Wright: He played well in 2012, but struggled with injuries this past year. You have to give him a mulligan.

    Also, D.J. Moore is set to be the nickel corner. Could you answer my questions please, PFF:)?

    • Barron Buc says:

      Edit: I meant to say M. Johnson is one of PFF’S best pass rushers. And one more correction: McDonald is going to start over Spence (and the defense starts looking better no doubt).

    • Gordon McGuinness says:

      Thanks for the correction on Moore – wasn’t on the depth chart I was looking at but I’ve sent in an update now with him in the slot.

      Johnson hasn’t graded well as a pass rusher in recent years, better against the run though but just not quite enough for high quality for me.

      Foster graded negatively both as a pass rusher and against the run last year.

      Goldson might indeed have a better year in 2014, but he struggled a lot in coverage last year so until he turns it around I think orange is fair (-3.7 and +5.1 coverage grades in 2011 and 2012 too so not off the charts even before he arrived in Tampa)

      With Wright I can see your logic but he was simply too bad in 2013 to go with anything else. Wouldn’t be right to have him higher but if he returns to previous form like you expect his rating will obviously improve.

    • Chris says:

      I can answer a couple of these.

      Johnson is one of the best run defending DEs, but he’s just average getting pressure. DEs need to be able to do both to be high quality.

      Foster has been below average for a while. I don’t know what else to say here.

      Clayborn is just downright terrible in all phases.

      • Barron says:

        Hmm, well the coaching staff seems to have a lot of faith in Foster, so perhaps he can improve.

        I agree that Clayborn has been bad, and doesn’t inspire much confidence, I just thought poor starter was a tad harsh

      • Joe says:

        Wrong. Clayborn ranked 4th in tackles for a loss after Quinn, Watt, and Lavonte David;
        had more sacks than Michael Johnson and is well regarded for his
        run-stopping ability.

        • Chris says:

          For a guy who’s that good it’s pretty impressive he put up a whopping -18.1 while playing next to the 2nd best DT in the league.

          • Barron Buc says:

            *Best DT 😉

          • Chris says:

            I’m a Bengals fan and sorry Atkins is the best :)

          • Joe says:

            He also played with Daniel Te’o Nasheim who is actually “downright terrible in all phases”, 2 rookies in Spence and Gholston, plus Bowers so what’s your point? Also, what does that -18.1 mean and where did you find that, anyway?

          • Chris says:

            I can’t believe you’re defending Clayborn. LOL JUST LOL

            -18.1 was his overall grade, near the worst of his position.

            I forget people visit this site that aren’t paying members.

          • Barron Buc says:

            Yeah, even as a Bucs fan I’m going to have to side with you Chris. If Clayborn doesn’t improve, he’s gonna lose his job, Lovie has made that clear. I hope that he does well though, he’s easy to root for.

          • Chris says:

            You’ll love Johnson though – dude hustles and is one of the best on the edge against the run. Very sad to see him go – I’ve watched him grow up as a Bengal.

          • Barron Buc says:

            How about Collins?

          • Chris says:

            Man i dunno. Really didn’t get to see enough of him. He was always a spot starter since he was drafted in 08. Probably started about 10 games in 5 years before this yeae. Showed some decent work as a pass blocker, which he excelled at this. But how much of that was because he was playing next to Whit, who played like the leagues best LG during his short stretch there?

            He’s unproven, but he’s shown some pass blocking ability. He could be a steal.

          • Chris says:

            I wanted the Bengals to resign him and keep him at LT and keep Whit at LG, because he’s getting up there in age and guard would suit him better. And Collins is only like 28. But that’s just my opinion

          • Barron Buc says:

            Well that’s awesome to hear. A strong pass-blocking LT is what we’ve needed for a while now. And if Nicks is able to play, then our O-Line could be something special.

  6. BITW44 says:

    Carl nicks still a high quality starter? Hes only played 9 games for the Bucs, were they that impressive?

  7. Grizzly says:

    its surprising that you saw enough of Mike James to warrant a ranking but not enough of Bobby Rainey. James barely played until Martin got hurt and then got hurt soon after.

  8. Grizzly says:

    nice to see Demar Dotson get some love. Could probably make the argument for an even higher ranking

  9. Grizzly says:

    A little surprised by Johnson’s ranking. He didn’t have the big sack totals that he put up 2 years ago but I’m pretty sure he actually had more QB pressures last season. I really hope Lovie can unlock Clayborn’s potential. The Poor Starter designation is so disappointing. I know he had a bad year, but I felt like a lot of his issues were scheme related (stunting that took him out of the play)

    • Barron Buc says:

      I’m concerned that Clayborn has never played on the left side before. He’s always been a right end.

    • Jordan MacGeever says:

      Michael Johnson would have to be on the Greg Hardy and Cameron Wake level to be high quality. And he is NOT. So the only option is to be a good starter. Since he isn’t a great pass rusher never has been never will.

      • Barron Buc says:

        And Brent Grimes would have to be on Sherman’s and Revis’ level to be elite.

        Did Cameron Wake even play in the Dolphins-Bucs game? Or was he completely taken out of the game by Demar Dotson?

        And what do you mean by Johnson never being high quality. How do you know?

  10. Jordan MacGeever says:

    don’t really understand why Bucs fans think Johnson is a great pass rusher? you have clearly never watched him before

    • Barron Buc says:

      Never said he was great, but 11.5 sacks in 2012, the fact that he was double-teamed in Atkins’ absence, and the fact that we brought him in to put pressure on the quarterback tells me something.

  11. asdf says:

    We’re going to see both Goldson and Barron flourish with Lovie as the coach. Not only will they get better at being football players, their strengths will be flaunted purely out of scheme. Lovie actually used quite a bit of cover 3 out of a cover-2 pre snap look. He’s blitz one of the SS sometimes or have them crash on a rb to take away the dump off and have Urlacher fill as the second middle deep zone. Foster supposedly dropped weight to help move around a bit. KJ Wright is hitting FA next year and I think that Lovie considers doling out some dough for him as his next Brian Urlacher. We’re also gonna see Lavonte David become even more of a star. He might not be as forceful physically as Briggs, but he could be just as effective in his own style. Also, McCoy and McDonald bringing it in nickel? Devastating.