The Buccaneers released their depth chart Saturday after a week of training camp. There aren’t any big surprises, but one thing to love is the balance of the Bucs starters. Just look at the wide receivers. No change from the past couple years, but Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are an excellent one-two punch. You have two big receivers, both listed at 6’5, with Evans entering his third season in the NFL and Jackson entering his twelfth. A perfect balance of a young, but not too young, and older, but not too old (he has played in all sixteen games four of the past five seasons), pair of receivers.
Doug Martin signed a 5-year contract extension with the Bucs in the offseason worth $35.75 million. Martin played in all sixteen games last year, racking up over 1,400 yards and six touchdowns. Martin is entering only his fifth season in the NFL, all with the Bucs. I think he will be used a lot this season and help second year quarterback Jameis Winston not have as much pressure put on him. Winston goes into this season knowing what to expect of the NFL. He now knows the speed and intensity the game brings. He has learned the Bucs offense and will improve from last season.
The big men up front protecting Winston and creating holes for Martin have an average age of 25.6 years old. Their ages range from 23 to 30 years old. With players two players only 23, they can create chemistry with no only each other, but Winston as well.
The Bucs defense has as good a balance as anyone could ask for. They have aging veterans who bring leadership and experience like Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers. They have young players on the rise like Kwon Alexander, Vernon Hargreaves, and Noah Spence. Finally, the Bucs defense has players in the prime of their career like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Alterraun Verner, and William Gholston. It's essentially the perfect blend to help put the Bucs' defense back on track.
The average age for the starters on the Bucs first depth chart is 26.9 years old. Last year, the youngest team were the Rams. The oldest were the Panthers. The Super Bowl winning champion Broncos were the 18th youngest team. So age may not prove anything, but it's always good for a team to be balanced. The veterans have the knowledge they can pass onto the younger talented players.
The Bucs don’t seem to have high expectations from a national perspective going into this season. That seems like the perfect formula for them to surprise not only their fans, but their opponents as well. It’s so early into the Bucs training camp, but the front office has done a great job in this offseason in putting together this well-balanced roster.