Koetter: Bucs can still upgrade some spots during final cuts
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has bluntly reiterated this month that in today's salary-cap world, NFL teams rarely have depth everywhere, so it's a concession that any team will have a few spots where they're more vulnerable to an injury exposing problems.
So as the Bucs project their final 53-man roster from the current 90, they can see upside in undrafted rookies, but Koetter made it clear as a little extra motivation to his players as mandatory minicamp ended Thursday that the Bucs will be active again in searching for upgrades during final NFL cuts in early September.
"You're never exactly where you want to be," Koetter said. "Every team has depth at some positions and not at others. We're looking to add some pieces at a couple of spots, but you're not going to add them this time of year. Some of those things aren't going to happen until final cutdowns. Think about it: When you start going from 90 to 53 and every team lets about 40 guys go, that's a lot of good football players on the streets, and there will be some guys out there at that time."
The Bucs, for instance, have only three defensive tackles with substantial NFL experience, so the fourth spot could be a young player like A.J. Francis or an undrafted rookie like Travis Britz. The third running back job, right now, would either be a player who missed last year's cuts, Mike James, or an undrafted rookie like Peyton Barber. The team's sixth linebacker spot could go to undrafted rookies like Cassanova McKinzy or Luke Rhodes.
Two years ago, the Bucs found defensive end Jacquies Smith off waivers, and last year, they added linebacker Jeremiah George and backup quarterback Ryan Griffin off waivers before the season started. Cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah was signed as camp started in late July, and last year's punter (Jake Schum) and kicker (Connor Barth) were added in late August.
"For now, our guys are our guys and we're going to coach them up and they're doing a good job of soaking it in," Koetter said.