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Bucs' Gerald McCoy: Noah Spence 'can take over the NFL'

Bucs defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp Wednesday at One Buccaneer Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
Bucs defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp Wednesday at One Buccaneer Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Aug. 10, 2017

Many Bucs fans are hoping that defensive end Noah Spence can make a second-year leap like the Falcons' Vic Beasley did a year ago, and as the Bucs continue to search for their first 10-sack season since 2005, Gerald McCoy told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday that Spence can be that player.

"One of my main guys I go to is Noah Spence, This guy can take over the NFL, man," McCoy said in an interview with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller. "He can completely erase my name from everything, because he is that good. This can be his group. He is extremely talented. When he gets it down, it's scary."

Spence, a second-round pick out of Ohio State and Eastern Kentucky last year, played most of his rookie season while limited by a shoulder injury for which he underwent surgery after the season. He still managed 5.5 sacks, and McCoy reiterated that his athleticism makes him capable of much more.

"I know you have to see it first, but if you're just going off pure athleticism, he's Derrick Thomas, Von Miller-ish," McCoy said in the radio interview. "Very, very close. It's ridiculous. He can run, and when you look at it, we're always like 'Man, what is in your ankles? You don't have like bone. You don't have regular ankles.' There's no way you can run that fast with your ankles touching the grass and your knees on the ground and you're still running full speed. It's ridiculous how athletic he is."

The Bucs haven't had a player get 10 or more sacks in any season since Simeon Rice in 2005 -- McCoy has been close, getting 8.5 in 2014 and 2015 and even 9.5 in 2013. He said Spence could do much more than 10 once he reached his potential.

"He's just a natural-born pass-rusher," McCoy said. "He's working so hard, and once it clicks, man, you better get out of the way. He's doing to be a double-digit guy, easily, every year. Not just 'He might get double.' Just write it down. Double digits."

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