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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The State Of The League: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The State Of The League: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A first Look at the defending World Champions!
Publish Date: 07/27/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
TAMPA, FL - AUG 19: Giovani Bernard (25) of the Buccaneers carries the ball during the Tennessee Titans & Tampa Bay Buccaneers joint training camp on August 19, 2021 at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The NFL Draft and free agency is in our rearview mirrors. There is very little day-to-day NFL news aside from random minor transactions across the league and conversations about where/when this star player will be traded. The NBA finals are over and the NHL season has ended with a repeat champion. Baseball is gearing up for a long, hot second half of the season. The dog days of Summer are here. We will be going over the offseason happenings of all 32 teams, division by division: their player personnel moves, coaching changes, and projected preseason depth charts. Let’s take a look at the NFC South, starting with the GOAT Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champs: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pre-Training Camp Projected Depth Chart

Position Starter Backup
QB Tom Brady Blaine Gabbert
RB1 Ronald Jones Giovani Bernard
RB2 Leonard Fournette Ke’Shawn Vaughn
WR1 Mike Evans Scotty Miller
WR2 Chris Godwin Tyler Johnson
WR3 Antonio Brown Jaelon Darden
TE1 Rob Gronkowski O.J. Howard
TE2 Cameron Brate Tanner Hudson
LT Donovan Smith Josh Wells
LG Ali Marpet Robert Hainsey
C Ryan Jensen
RG Alex Cappa Aaron Stinnie
RT Tristan Wirfs Brad Seaton
DL Ndamukong Suh Rakeem Nunez-Roches
NT Vita Vea Steve McLendon
DL William Gholston Pat O’Connor
EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul Joe Tryon
ILB Devin White Kevin Minter
ILB Lavonte David K.J. Britt
EDGE Shaq Barrett Cam Gill
CB1 Carlton Davis Ross Cockrell
CB2 Sean Murphy-Bunting Antonio Hamilton
CB3 Jamel Dean Chris Wilcox
FS Jordan Whitehead Raven Greene
SS Antoine Winfield Jr. Mike Edwards
K Ryan Succop
P Bradley Pinion
LS Zach Triner
KR Tyler Johnson Jaelon Darden
PR Scotty Miller Jaelon Darden

*BOLD player name = Rookie*


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft Class

Round 1 (32nd overall): EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington

Round 2 (64th): QB Kyle Trask, Florida

Round 3 (95th): G/T Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame

Round 4 (129th): WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas

Round 5 (176th): LB K.J. Britt, Auburn

Round 7 (251st): CB Chris Wilcox, BYU

Round 7 (259th) LB Grant Stuard, Houston


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offseason Player Personnel Moves

Expired Contracts
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Info / Notes
LeSean McCoy RB 33 TB
A.Q. Shipley C 35 TB TB Off. Asst. Coach
Kenjon Barner RB 32 TB
Jack Cichy ILB 25 TB
T.J. Logan RB 27 TB
Deone Bucannon ILB 29 TB
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Acquired via
Giovani Bernard RB 30 CIN TB Free Agency
Raven Greene S 26 GB TB Free Agency
Antonio Hamilton CB 28 KC TB Free Agency
Joe Jones LB 27 DEN TB Free Agency
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Departed via
Chapelle Russell LB 24 TB JAX Waivers
Joe Haeg T 28 TB PIT Free Agency
Andrew Adams S 29 TB PHI Free Agency
Ryan Smith CB 28 TB LAC Free Agency
Antony Auclair TE 28 TB HOU Free Agency
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Info / Notes
Chris Godwin WR 25 TB TB *Franchise Tag*
Lavonte David LB 31 TB TB
Shaquil Barrett OLB 29 TB TB
Rob Gronkowski TE 32 TB TB
Ndamukong Suh DT 34 TB TB
Leonard Fournette RB 26 TB TB
Antonio Brown WR 33 TB TB
Ryan Succop K 35 TB TB
Steve McLendon DT 35 TB TB
Rakeem Nunez-Roches DT 28 TB TB
Blaine Gabbert QB 32 TB TB
Kevin Minter ILB 31 TB TB
Aaron Stinnie G 27 TB TB
Josh Wells T 30 TB TB
Zach Triner LS 30 TB TB
Pat O’Connor DE 28 TB TB
Tanner Hudson TE 27 TB TB
Ryan Griffin QB 32 TB TB
Ross Cockrell CB 30 TB TB
Jaydon Mickens WR 27 TB TB


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offseason Review

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off of an epic Super Bowl winning season. There were plenty of ups and downs during the regular season, but once December hit, this team got hot, winning it’s final eight games of the season – including the playoffs. The big question coming into last season was if Tom Brady still had it after seemingly struggling his last season in New England (60.8% completion percentage – lowest since 2013; 29 passing touchdowns – lowest since 2006) or if father time had finally caught up to the legend. Well…we now know that answer: father time can suck it. Brady had his best statistical season since 2017, throwing his most passing touchdowns since he threw 50 in 2007 and passing for his most yards since 2015. Oh, and Tampa Bay is the first Super Bowl winning team to return every single starter. 

The best player the Buccaneers lost this offseason was swing tackle Joe Haeg to the Steelers in free agency. Other than that, every single key member of the team returns, including all 22 starters. Brady restructured his contract,  as he had done so often in New England, so the team could re-sign their key free agents. The Buccaneers got the ball rolling when they put the Franchise Tag on star receiver Chris Godwin. Godwin may not be the WR1 on his own team, but he is a legit top option in his own right and forms maybe the best 1-2 punch in the NFL with Mike Evans. The Bucs also re-signed longtime stud linebacker Lavonte David and star edge rusher Shaquil Barrett. Barrett had only 8 sacks last season, but provided excellent pressure all season. David is one of the best off-ball linebackers in the NFL, and is the leader of this Bucs defense. Ndamukong Suh is no longer the force he once was, but he can still push the pocket and is one of the best run defenders in the league. The Bucs needed a third pass rusher, and drafted edge rusher Joe Tryon in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. Tryon opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid, but he is long and explosive off the edge, and has a chance to develop behind two upper echelon pass rushers in JPP/Barrett. 

The Bucs also were able to retain the services of Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, Antonio Brown, and Ryan Succop. Gronk came out of retirement last offseason and ended up playing a key role for the Bucs, including scoring two touchdowns in the Super Bowl. Fournette and Brown both played key roles down the stretch, and should continue to play important roles on offense this season. The rest of the additions and re-signings were to secure the kind of depth needed over a grueling 17 game schedule. Gio Bernard was the biggest free agent addition, and he should be able to fill the James White pass catching role for Brady. Aaron Stinnie was brought back after playing very well as a starter during the playoffs in place of the injured Alex Cappa (broken foot).

Tampa Bay was a tough team to figure out last season, but once December hit, the team turned it way up all the way to a ‘chip. The team has aging stars playing key roles, but as long as Brady keeps winning in his battle versus Father Time, this team will be a contender. The Bucs have a lot going for them: tons of talent, veteran leadership on the field, upper echelon coaching staff, quality depth on both sides of the ball, and a seemingly easy schedule. Will Brady and the Bucs be the first repeat Super Bowl winner since Brady and the Pats did it in 2003 and 2004?

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