Greg Schiano has continued to remake the Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to how he envisions success in the NFL. That means finding the role players who can become stars and unpolished kids who can become role players. Who among the roster has a chance to fill that void in 2013?
Offense – Tom Crabtree
Tight end has become the “it” position on offenses of late. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell behind in that department a little bit and have done what they can to catch up. One of their more underrated moves was signing Tom Crabtree in free agency. A big tip off that the kid may have a chance to play and do well is due to the fact that the Green Bay Packers were considering cutting ties with the productive but outspoken Jermichael Finley. Then, once Crabtree left, they signed Finley to a new deal. No one knows what to expect from him. He is not proven as a starter but there is talent there. Though he caught just six passes last year, it was for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He is also a proficient special teams ace and even can make the jump to defense when the situation calls for it. Fans should not be surprised if he shows up on some highlights during the 2013 season.
Defense – William Gholston
The big acquisition for the Bucs on defense was obviously Darrelle Revis. Hopes are high for perhaps the most talented secondary in pro football. That makes it easy to overlook how depleted the Tampa defensive line has become. Not only did defensive end Michael Bennett leave in free agency, the team is hesitant to trust fellow end Da’Quan Bowers due to a colorful injury history. Suddenly their pass rush looks considerably weaker than expected, and will not help their secondary in the effort to improve the 32nd ranked pass defense. That is why the selection of William Gholston in the 4th round could soon be looked at as a key move to their season. Though related to renowned draft bust Vernon Gholston, William has all the physical tools to become a stalwart at the end position. His skill set is growing but he may need time to truly become a force. Once he does though, he could become known as a draft “steal.”
Special Teams – Jeff Demps
The New England Patriots never got a chance to see what the track and field star could do on the football field, but that didn’t stop Jeff Demps from pursuing his NFL dream. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a chance by trading productive running back LeGarrette Blount to the Pats for Demps and a seventh round draft pick. Many people forget he was actually a solid player himself at Florida, proving dangerous as a runner and receiver while also making impact plays in the return game. That is where he will have to make his name in 2013. Given his speed and athletic background, there is no reason to doubt him, provided he stays healthy.