Watching the Buccaneers' defensive ends attempt to get to opposing quarterbacks has been quite comical in recent years. Yes, it was nice to see the emergence of Jacquies Smith in 2014, but the Bucs have been desperate for an edge rusher since Simeon Rice's last game in Pewter and Red.
While the Bucs did not make a splash addition at defensive end this off-season, they do hope that their pass rush off the edge comes with quantity rather than quality.
Here is our prediction on how the defensive ends may be categorized:
Jacquies Smith - Smith came out of nowhere in 2014 to record 6.5 sacks in the 2nd half of the season. The hope is that he puts together a complete season and reaches double-digit sacks. That hasn't happened for the Bucs in a LONG time.
George Johnson - The Buccaneers traded a 5th round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft to acquire Johnson. With the Lions in 2014, Johnson totaled 6 sacks...the first 6 sacks of his NFL career.
T.J. Fatinikun - Fatinikun might not be a lock, but he is safe after the praise he received this off-season. No, Fatinikun's half of sack in 2014 won't blow you away, but apparently his development this off-season has impressed Lovie Smith. Look for Fatinikun to get some opportunities in 2015.
On the Bubble
Larry English - English joined the Bucs in 2014 and was quickly part of the Bucs defensive end rotation. He's a veteran who provides good depth, but after recording just 1 sack in 2014, the Bucs may give other pass rush threats more opportunities to shine.
Lawrence Sidbury - Jason Licht was frustrated that he didn't sign Sidbury sooner in 2014. Sidbury's signature move is the "Sidbury spin," and he was known as a 4-3 pass rusher out of college. Once the Falcons, whom he was formerly with, transitioned to a 3-4 defense, Sidbury was out of position. Look for Sidbury to get a long look from the Bucs...especially if he's a favorite of Jason Licht.
Ryan Delaire - The biggest longshot of the bubble players is Ryan Delaire. Undrafted free agents always have a tough time making a final roster, but the Bucs wanted him badly enough after the draft that they gave him a $15,000 bonus. Delaire recorded 11 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss for Towson in 2014.
William Gholston - The potential has always been there with Gholston, but he has just never turned into the pass rush threat the Bucs needed him to be. Gholston is versatile enough to play end or tackle, but with the addition of Henry Melton, Gholston's role as a swing player may not be as necessary as his roster spot is.
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