Mock 53-Man Buccaneers Roster

May 23 - Pewter Report editor-in-chief Scott Reynolds provides an early projection as to what the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 53-man roster may look like. Who stays? Who goes? Click here to check out his forecast.


Copyright 2002 Pewter Report/PewterReport.com
This story is intended to be read only by PewterReport.com Club Insiders only and TheInsiders.com. Sharing of the Club content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.
Is it too early to predict which 53 players will make the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster? Yes, especially after only two mini-camps, and it isn't even June 1 yet. So this mock 53-man roster isn't set in stone.

But it's not too early to start talking about it. We're in the middle of the offseason for cripes sake! So with about nine weeks left until training camp, here's an educated guess what the roster will look like come September:

QUARTERBACKS - 3
Brad Johnson
Shaun King
Rob Johnson
Comment: Despite a solid showing in NFL Europe, Joe Hamilton is the odd man out. The trio of Brad Johnson, Shaun King and Rob Johnson has much more experience than Hamilton offers. Brad Johnson heads into camp as the starter, but King and Rob Johnson are close behind.

RUNNING BACKS - 5
RB Michael Pittman
FB/RB Mike Alstott
RB Travis Stephens
FB Jameel Cook
RB Aaron Stecker
Comment: Alstott's ability to play RB or FB offers the team great flexibility. The drafting of Travis Stephens and the kick return ability of Aaron Stecker spells doom for RB Byron Hanspard.

WIDE RECEIVERS - 6
WR Keyshawn Johnson
WR Joe Jurevicius
WR Marquise Walker
WR Frank Murphy
WR E.G. Green OR June 1 signee
WR Aaron Lockett
Comment: The guess here is that Aaron Lockett can beat out Karl Williams, who comes at a much higher price tag, for a WR and punt return spot. Frank Murphy edges Milton Wynn, and either E.G. Green or a potential June 1 signee beats out Keith Poole, Darryl Daniel and others. This marks the first time in a long while that the Bucs will keep six receivers.

TIGHT ENDS - 3
TE Ken Dilger
TE Marco Battaglia
TE Todd Yoder
Comment: It's tough to cut rookie Tracey Wistrom. Because he's a "name" player, it would be difficult to sneak him on the practice squad. If Wistrom can long snap and beat out Mike Solwold, he could stick. Yoder's special teams ability helps him beat out Damian Vaughn and Mike Roberg.

OFFENSIVE LINE - 9
OT Kenyatta Walker
G Kerry Jenkins
C Jeff Christy
G Cosey Coleman
OT Jerry Wunsch
C/G Todd Washington
OT Roman Oben
OT Pete Pierson
G/C Shane Grice
Comment: The ability of Grice to play center and guard gives him a slight, slight edge over veterans Kendall Mack and Russ Hochstein, and newcomers Howard Duncan and DeMarcus Jenkins. It might seem unusual to keep four legit tackles, but Walker and Wunsch can look shaky at times and Brian Gruber isn't ready yet.

DEFENSIVE LINE - 8
DE Simeon Rice
DT Warren Sapp
DT Anthony McFarland
DE Marcus Jones
DT/DE Chartric Darby
DE Greg Spires
DT Buck Gurley
DE/DT Ellis Wyms
Comment: Gurley could be vulnerable if Mike Mackenzie or Tommie Townsend steps up in training camp. Otherwise, Gurley is the backup nose tackle. Wyms beats out draft pick John Stamper, Ron Warner and Corey White.

LINEBACKERS - 6
OLB Derrick Brooks
MLB Shelton Quarles
OLB Al Singleton
MLB Nate Webster
OLB Chris Jones
OLB Jack Golden OR June 1 signee
Comment: This position is the biggest crap shoot right now after Brooks, Quarles, Singleton and Webster. The team really needs to add another veteran after June 1, and that player will likely make the team. Right now, Jones has been getting a lot of playing time filling in for Brooks with the starters, so let's assume he makes it. Golden is a solid special teamer, that's why he gets the nod. Out of the rookie LBs at camp, Ryan Nece has looked the most promising.

DEFENSIVE BACKS - 10
SS John Lynch
FS Dexter Jackson
CB Ronde Barber
CB Brian Kelly
CB Dwight Smith
FS Jermaine Phillips
FS John Howell
SS David Gibson
CB Markese Fitzgerald
CB Corey Chamblin
Comment: It might seem odd keeping five safeties and five cornerbacks when keeping four safeties and six cornerbacks might make more sense. But remember that Jackson can play cornerback in nickel and dime formations, too. Gibson or Chamblin may be vulnerable to a charge from either Corey Ivy or draft pick Tim Wansley. The ninth and tenth DB spots will be filled by the better special teamers.

SPECIAL TEAMS - 3
K Martin Gramatica
P Tom Tupa
LS Mike Solwold
Comment: Gramatica is a lock. Tupa should emerge from the foursome that also includes Mike Abrams, David Leaverton and Tim Morgan. Don't be surprised if Morgan, who has the strongest leg, or Leaverton steals the job if Tupa falters, but the Bucs usually go with veteran punters. As for long snappers, who knows? Let's go with Solwold right now because of his size (6-foot-6, 244) and the fact that he snapped for Dallas last year. He's got the experience. But if Gruden wants an extra tight end he may go with Wistrom. If he wants an extra offensive or defensive lineman he may go with Hochstein or Mackenzie, who are both honing their long snapping skills in hopes of making the team.


FINAL THOUGHT: The interesting thing about the way this mock roster shaped up was that the Bucs came out with 26 players on offense, 24 on defense and three on special teams under the leadership of the offensive-minded Jon Gruden. In Tony Dungy's tenure it was not uncommon for the Bucs to be tilted towards the defense with 26 players on the defensive side of the ball usually making the team as opposed to only 24 or 25 on offense.


Copyright 2002 Pewter Report/PewterReport.com
This story is intended to be read only by PewterReport.com Club Insiders only and TheInsiders.com. Sharing of the Club content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.

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