The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released their first depth chart of the season in advance of Friday night's preseason opener, and it confirmed what was already obvious from watching practice.
Middle linebacker Mason Foster was atop the depth chart at middle linebacker and clearly is the team's choice to succeed free-agent departure Barrett Ruud.
The team is required to release a depth chart before its first preseason game, but outside of Foster, there weren't any real surprises.
The starting receivers remain Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, but Dezmon Briscoe is climbing the ranks in the receiving corps. The second-year player from Kansas who emerged late last season is the No. 2 flanker behind Benn. With Benn still being held out of contact drills, it's likely he won't play Friday at Kansas City, meaning Briscoe could get the start.
Also on offense, Earnest Graham is still listed as the first-team fullback, even though the club would like to make him more of a full-time halfback and hand the fullback duties to Erik Lorig. With Lorig being slowed by a slight Achilles injury, that potential transition has been slowed a bit.
On defense, while first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is the starting right defensive end, second-round pick Da'Quan Bowers is listed as the No. 2 left end behind Michael Bennett. Bowers has been somewhat limited because of his offseason knee surgery, but he has consistently taken numerous snaps with the first defense. Roy Miller remains a starting defensive tackle, with Brian Price – who is still working himself back into shape after a pelvic fracture – is his backup as the No. 2 nose tackle.
On special teams, Micheal Spurlock is listed No. 1 at both punt returner and kick returner, with Preston Parker No. 2 at both spots.