Time to take a final crack at what I think the Buccaneer roster will look like when it’s announced tomorrow. First, let’s start with the automatics (at least in my opinion):
Stylez G White
That’s 34 players with the following breakdown by position:
QB – 2
RB – 3
WR – 3
TE – 1
OL – 6
DL – 6
LB – 4
CB – 4
S – 2
ST – 3
We’re down to 19 spots left. Here’s my attempt position-by-position:
Candidates – Rudy Carpenter, Jevan Snead
I don’t think many would list Carpenter among the top 53 players on the team, but with Josh Freeman already dealing with an injury, I can’t see them going into the year with only 2 QBs. Carpenter got nearly all the snaps against Houston, and I doubt they’d do that if they didn’t plan on keeping him. Snead is a huge longshot.
Candidates – Clifton Smith, Carlos Brown, Chris Pressley, Rendrick Taylor
I’ve still got Peanut making the team as the primary return man, but with Derrick Ward properly disposed of and no one taking his place, it looks like Smith’s spot is even safer. Brown is a practice squad player at best. Will the Bucs keep a second FB with the way they’ve been using Hayward and Miller on offense? Don’t forget about Zuttah back there too.
Candidates – Reggie Brown, Micheal Spurlock, Maurice Stovall, Preston Parker
I have 3 autos, and I think they keep 6. Brown hasn’t done anything to earn a job in preseason action, but I still (for some reason) believe they’re going to keep him around as a veteran presence. Spurlock shined this preseason and provides return abilities in addition to his development as a receiver. I think Stovall makes it if he’s healthy, and I haven’t read anything about his injury being serious. Preston Parker had an impressive preseason, but I think he’s at the back of the line here.
Candidates – Jerramy Stevens, John Gilmore, Ryan Purvis, Jeron Mastrud
The Bucs will keep at least 3 TEs, and unless they get cute, Stevens is definitely on the team. If they do keep 4, Gilmore is automatic, and I still think he’s safe anyways. Purvis seems to have a leg up on Mastrud.
Candidates – James Lee, Xavier Fulton, Jonnathan Compas, Donivan Raiola, Marc Dile, Demar Dotson, Derek Hardman
Raiola and Hardman are tremendous longshots. Of my 6 autos, I have 1 center, 3 guards, and 2 tackles. I still have Lee over Fulton as he’s clearly outplayed him this preseason. I think Dotson is pretty much an auto pick seeing as how he’s Trueblood’s backup. Dile may make the team anyways, but he might make more sense than Compas if Zuttah can handle the backup center job.
Candidates – Erik Lorig, George Johnson, Ryan Sims, Carlton Powell, Dre Moore, Michael Bennett, James Ruffin
Of my 6 auto DL picks, 3 are tackles and 3 are ends. I think at least two more are kept, and at tackle, I still think the Bucs might prefer the veteran Sims over Moore behind the young guys. Bennett clearly looks like the best of the rest.
Candidates – Dekoda Watson, Lee Robinson, Niko Koutouvides, Rico McCoy
I have a hard time seeing them keep only 5 LBs, so it looks like one of those last 3 are going to make the team.
Candidates – Brandon Anderson, Elbert Mack, Derrick Roberson, Trae Williams
Mack is the veteran, but it doesn’t look like he is terribly interested in keeping his job. Roberson has been the most impressive of this bunch.
Candidates – Sabby Piscitelli, Corey Lynch, Cody Grimm, Vince Anderson
Anyone have Anderson making the team? Didn’t think so. Again, Corey Lynch must the cut. I feel even stronger about that after his performance against the Texans. Grimm looks like a lock too. What will they do with Sabby?
Near final cut
Of the candidates listed above, here are the ones I see taking some of those remaining 19 spots:
With Sims in, I think Moore is out. I also don’t think they keep Pressley or Taylor.
Ok, so now we have the following breakdown by position:
QB – 3
RB – 4
WR – 4
TE – 3
OL – 8
DL – 9
LB – 5
CB – 4
S – 4
ST – 3
That leaves 6 open spots, for the remaining candidates. Here’s my short list:
Let’s look at the positions and see where more players are needed:
QB – I’m good
RB – I’m good
WR – I see 2 more added
TE – possibly 1 more
OL – 1 more
DL – I’m good
LB – 1 more
CB – maybe 1 more
S – maybe 1 more
WR – Spurlock has certainly earned a spot, and Brown’s experience is the only thing helping him stick. I have them both in.
4 spots left
OL – I’m pretty sure Compas or Dile makes the squad. I’ve said Compas all along, and although I think I’m behind the wrong candidate, I’m sticking with the pick. Compas is in.
3 spots left
LB – Will Koutouvides really make the team? If it wasn’t for Alston’s injury, I would say no, but given that McCoy and Robinson are rookies, I think Koutouvides unfortunately has the inside track. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m saying Niko is in. One of McCoy and Robinson should be on the practice squad
2 spots left
The remaining candidates:
How do they match up with my remaining positions of need just above?
QB – set
RB – set
WR – set
TE – possibly 1 more
OL – set
DL – set
LB – set
CB – maybe 1 more
S – maybe 1 more
What’s the smarter move – releasing or keeping Piscitelli? I say they need to hold onto him even if it means keeping 5 safeties. The guy has talent but is really inconsistent in playing assignment football. Now he’s pissed. Maybe he doesn’t improve at all from where he is now as a player, but wouldn’t you want to see if you can get anything out of him now that he’s in a different mindset? I think/hope he sticks.
52nd man – Sabby Piscitelli
First, let’s narrow down corner. Personally, going on production and promise, I’d keep Roberson over Mack, but will the Bucs cut their veteran (former) nickel corner? Would they go with basically three (Biggers, Lewis, Roberson) rookies at the position? Roberson is a practice squad member if he’s not on the 53 man. Do we really need to keep a 4th TE on the final roster? Purvis is PS eligible, so why not let him start the season there? Are we that upset if he gets picked up elsewhere?
53rd man – Elbert Mack
Talib doesn’t count toward the 53 man roster during his week one suspension, so the Bucs could keep Piscitelli, Mack, and Purvis to start the season. When they have to make a cut the next week I think it comes down to Mack or Purvis, and at that point, I could buy in either way.
Positions of need – DE, RB, LB, T/G, QB
I think DE is the position that’s going to hurt us most this year. There isn’t anyone out there worth picking up, but if our edge guys besides Bennett don’t get a little more assertive and force the offense to adjust (or even just slow down), it’s going to be a very long season watching teams dink and dunk us on the edges all the way downfield. Watch for that early on, especially in week one against Cleveland. Want an early 2011 1st round pick? Adrian Clayborn, DE (Iowa). Others: Greg Romeus (Pitt) and Cameron Heyward (Ohio State). Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson) and Robert Quinn (UNC) are two underclassmen who could get into the discussion with a huge season, but right now my money is on Clayborn (even though I love Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU).
At RB, Javarris Williams is still my top target should he be cut. Other than that, I don’t think there will be anyone worth cutting Smith for. Would they spend the 53rd spot on a final free agent back and cut Mack, Purvis, or whoever is in that spot?
I’d like to see a veteran WLB and a lineman with T/G versatility brought in, but we’re unlikely to see anything worth buying on the waiver wire.
They’re not going to make a move at QB, but Jarrett Brown, one of the guys on my radar, was cut by the 49ers.
Here are the current Buccaneers I see making our 8 man practice squad:
Chris Pressley or Rendrick Taylor
I still think it’s going to be a long season, but I do see upgrades at multiple positions from last year. That’s a step in the right direction. I really just want to see development by our core young talent, namely Josh Freeman, Kareem Huggins, Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Roy Miller, Geno Hayes, Quincy Black, Aqib Talib, and Tanard Jackson. If they make the necessary positive strides, the wins will take care of themselves.