[Chart last updated 7/7/14]
• 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.
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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