Buc Mag Predicts The 53-Man Roster

August 31 - Buccaneer Magazine predicts the Bucs' final 53-man roster on the eve of final cutdown day, which is Sunday, Sept. 2. There are no "on the bubble" or "longshot" picks here. They're either on the team or off the team and we'll tell you why.

Back in July in the Buccaneer Magazine Training Camp Issue we forecasted a roster surprise on cutdown day, and that appears to be the Bucs possibly putting QB Ryan Leaf on injured reserve. We broke the story about the possibility of Leaf landing on IR earlier in the week in the BucMag.com Insiders Pass and Buccaneer Magazine. Now we're going to breakdown the Bucs' 53-man roster and tell you who'll make the cut and who won't.


QB KEEP: Brad Johnson, Shaun King, Joe Hamilton
QB IR: Ryan Leaf
QB SUMMARY (Keep 3): As we first reported earlier in the week, the Bucs have the option of putting Leaf on injured reserve and will likely do so, so he can have wrist surgery and try to win a spot on next year's roster. Putting Leaf on IR means Hamilton is again the No. 3 QB.

RB KEEP: Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott, Aaron Stecker, Jameel Cook, Rabih Abdullah
RB CUT: Pepe Pearson
RB SUMMARY (Keep 5): The Bucs have to keep three centers on their opening day roster due to Jeff Christy's knee injury. That means one unit on the team gets shorted. It may come at running back. Stecker and Cook have been more impressive than Abdullah in training camp, but Abdullah is a good special teamer and a coaches' favorite. If there is one player literally on the bubble it's him. If they keep four, Abdullah's gone. If they keep five, he stays.

WR KEEP: Keyshawn Johnson, Jacquez Green, Reidel Anthony, Karl Williams, Frank Murphy
WR CUT: Robert Kilow, Khori Ivy, Gerald Harris
WR SUMMARY (Keep 5): Murphy and Kilow have an edge with their speed and ability to play special teams. The team has more invested in Murphy as far as time and energy, and he has more athletic ability. He'll likely be the fifth receiver. Kilow seems to be further ahead as a wide receiver, but makes too many special teams gaffes to lock up a roster spot. Ivy must have an impressive game in Atlanta to have any shot.

TE KEEP: Dave Moore, Todd Yoder, Damian Vaughn
TE CUT: Randy Palmer, Mike Rohberg
TE SUMMARY (Keep 3): With a solid performance against Atlanta, Vaughn may end up making the roster. If he doesn't shine, the team may keep two tight ends and scour the waiver wire for another prospect to bring in.

OL KEEP: Kenyatta Walker, Randall McDaniel, Jeff Christy, Cosey Coleman, Jerry Wunsch, Pete Pierson, George Hegamin, Todd Washington, Leon Hires, Wilbert Brown
OL CUT: Russ Hochstein, Kendall Mack, DeMarcus Curry
OL SUMMARY (Keep 10): Tampa Bay usually keeps eight or nine offensive linemen, but will have to keep 10 this year due to Christy's knee injury. Washington becomes the starting center and Hires sticks around for a few weeks as the backup. That adds up to nine, but the team also needs a reserve guard and that could wind up being Wilbert Brown, a veteran who can also play center in a pinch. In our view, Brown has outperformed Mack. Hochstein has James Whalen syndrome - you can't make the club in the tub.

DL KEEP: Warren Sapp, Anthony McFarland, Simeon Rice, Marcus Jones, Steve White, Chartric Darby, James Cannida, Ellis Wyms
DL CUT: Joe Tafoya, Ron Warner, Terry Jolly
DL SUMMARY (Keep 8): The superb play of Darby and Cannida locks them in, while the versatility of Wyms allows him to claim the final roster spot. Warner or Tafoya could be practice squad material.
LB KEEP: Derrick Brooks, Jamie Duncan, Shelton Quarles, Nate Webster, Al Singleton, Jeff Gooch
LB CUT: Marq Cerqua, Byron Thweatt, Al Rice
LB SUMMARY (Keep 6): Really the final spot in the 53-man roster could come down to Cerqua, RB Rabih Abdullah, FS John Howell and CB Corey Ivy. Cerqua, who hails from Carson-Newman, is a bit of an unknown, except to the Miami Dolphins QBs, whom he sacked twice. If the team likes Cerqua enough he could be a practice squad candidate. He might slip through waivers because teams don't have a lot of film on him.

DB KEEP: John Lynch, Donnie Abraham, Ronde Barber, Dexter Jackson, Brian Kelly, David Gibson, Dwight Smith, John Howell, Corey Ivy, Eric Vance
DB CUT: Than Merrill
DB SUMMARY (Keep 10): The Bucs get a lot of special teamers from this unit (Gibson, Vance, Ivy, Smith) and have always wanted to keep five corners, that's why Ivy might stick around, especially with Kelly being a free agent next year. The team will also keep five safeties because Lynch has become more injury-prone as he gets older and Jackson is a bit unproven. Howell sticks around because he's one of Monte Kiffin's pet projects.

ST KEEP: Martin Gramatica, Mark Royals, Sean McDermott
ST CUT: Andrew Bayes
ST SUMMARY (Keep 3): This is the simplest of roster cuts as the Bucs keep the kicker, punter and long snapper, cutting Bayes.

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