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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Just for kicks, projecting the Bucs' starting lineup



Opening day in the NFL is more than five months away, and the Bucs’ roster could change markedly between now and then.

But after three weeks of free agency, we have a better picture of what the makeup of the team is for 2013. The draft will bring more changes, but it’s not too early to analyze how things are shaping up.

To that end, we’ve conducted a little exercise, putting together a projected starting lineup. Keep in mind, the operative word here is “projected.” This is so preliminary that there are a few spots where we didn’t even attempt guesses.

But with the exception of those key positions we expect to be addressed later, this actually looks like a pretty formidable starting lineup. Take a look and tell us what you think.


WR Vincent Jackson: Had career highs in catches and yards in 2012

LT Donald Penn: Consistent; hasn’t missed a start since 2007

LG Carl Nicks: All-Pro returns after foot surgery, shoring up left side

C Jeremy Zuttah: Returns to his strongest position after filling in for Nicks

RG Davin Joseph: Pro Bowler was lost for the season in 2012 preseason

RT Demar Dotson: Recently re-signed, but could see competition

TE Luke Stocker: Jury's still out; Will be challenged by Tom Crabtree

WR Mike Williams: Had a strong bounce-back season in 2012

QB Josh Freeman: Faces massive expectations in 2013, a contract year

RB Doug Martin: Had splendid rookie season, making Pro Bowl

FB Erik Lorig: This could change, but he’s only fullback on the roster


LDE Da’Quan Bowers: Needs to step up after decision to let Michael Bennett go

NT Derek Landri: Signed this week; Will compete with Gary Gibson at tilted nose

DT Gerald McCoy: Coming off his best season in which he made the Pro Bowl

RDE Adrian Clayborn: Hoping to bounce back after a torn ACL in 2012

WLB Lavonte David: Had a superb rookie season after selection in second round

MLB Mason Foster: Had an up-and-down season; looking for more slash plays

SLB ??: Undetermined after Quincy Black’s injury; Jonathan Casillas for now

LCB ??: Darrelle Revis? Perhaps; For now, Leonard Johnson?

RCB ??: Likely to be filled by a draft pick; For now, Eric Wright?

SS Mark Barron: Should fit nicely as a full-time strong safety

FS Dashon Goldson: Free-agent prize solidifies the back end of the defense


PK Connor Barth: Made a career-high 28 field goals in 2012

P Michael Koenen: Registered career-best 45.3-yard average

KR/PR ??: A source of frustration last season; Kevin Ogletree a possibility

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 1:34pm]


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