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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

2018 NFC South Roster Roundup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Do the Bucs have a strong enough roster to survive Jameis Winston’s three-game suspension and make a run when he returns?


Projected Starters



QB: Jameis Winston

RB: Ronald Jones
WR: Mike Evans
WR: Chris Godwin
TE: O.J. Howard

TE: Cameron Brate
LT: Donovan Smith
LG: Ali Marpet
C: Ryan Jensen
RG: Caleb Benenoch
RT: Demar Dotson



DE: Jason Pierre-Paul
DT: Gerald McCoy
DT: Vita Vea
DE: Vinny Curry
OLB: Lavonte David
MLB: Kwon Alexander
CB: Brent Grimes
CB: Carlton Davis

CB: Vernon Hargreaves
S: Justin Evans
S: Chris Conte


Roster Notes/Thoughts


Notable depth

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Ryan Griffin, RB Peyton Barber, RB Charles Sims, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Adam Humphries, WR Justin Watson, TE Antony Auclair, G Alex Cappa, G J.R. Sweezy, C Evan Smith, DE Noah Spence, DE Williamd Gholston, DT Beau Allen, DT Mitch Unrein, OLB Kendell Beckwith, CB Ryan Smith, CB M.J. Stewart, S Keith Tandy, S Jordan Whitehead


Biggest strength: Linebacker

There are several positions that could be considered the team’s biggest strength—wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, defensive tackle—but Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, and Kendell Beckwith make up one of the best (and fastest) linebacker groups in the league. David is one of the NFL’s underrated superstars, and he will need to be as good as ever against the NFC South running back combinations of Freeman-Coleman, Kamara-Ingram, and McCaffrey-Anderson.


Biggest weakness: Quarterback

Ardent supporters of former No. 1 pick Jameis Winston will disagree—and I wouldn’t call Winston a “bust”—but he is entering a make-or-break year in my opinion; and it didn’t get off to a great start with news of three-game suspension dropping yesterday. This is about the on-field performance, though, and Jameis simply makes too many mind-numbing decisions, especially on a team that is loaded with skill-position talent and has two monster tackles keeping him upright. If he’s not playing the best football of his career when he returns, the Bucs might be forced to blow things up in 2019.


Position battle to watch: Wide receiver

You might have noticed that DeSean Jackson wasn’t a projected starter, and I’m honestly not sure that he’s even a lock to make the team if head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht decide he doesn’t bring enough to the table with young guys ready to step up. Still, I think he will be around as a deep threat, but Chris Godwin is a better all-around player at this point and could earn the starting job across from Mike Evans in two-WR sets. Adam Humphries and rookie Justin Watson could also push for a starting role in the slot.


Early over/under: 6.5 wins (via Odds Shark)

Under. Tampa Bay built up the trenches this offseason, particularly on the defensive line, but I’m just not sold on them being contenders in arguably the best division in football. Perhaps Winston will return to play lights out and carry the team, but the Bucs are staring 0-3 in the face with their first three games of the season being @ NO, v PHI, and v PIT.


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