You read that correctly. Noah Spence, who was the Bucs 2nd round draft pick out of Eastern Kentucky back in 2016 no longer holds a roster spot with the team as he was beaten out by 2nd-year player Demone Harris for the final linebacker position.
Spence, who had every opportunity to emerge as the starter entering training camp with JPP’s injury, was just simply unproductive. His 3 tackles in 4 games, one in which he played all 60 defensive snaps was not what Head Coach Bruce Arians was expecting to see from someone who he pulling for. So when it came down to the final cuts, Coach Arians felt the team had given Spence every opportunity to win a job.
When Arians was asked about the decision to waive Spence, he simply put it as “lack of production.”
“The number of snaps he was out there and his production just didn’t add up,” says Arians.
Harris, played 2 games for the Bucs last season, but spent most of the season on-and-off the practice squad has landed a spot on the 53-man roster after leading all linebackers this pre-season racking up 10 tackles (4 solo) and 1 sack for a yard loss. Very impressive for someone who went undrafted.
“I think he was more productive,” says Arians. “Special teams value. He took the best of his opportunities” –Coach Arians when asked how Harris can become an asset for the special teams unit (Eduardo A. Encina, Tampa Bay Times)
Spence has since gone unclaimed and is a free agent which again speaks volume for a player that the coaching staff (and fans included) had high hopes for with the new defense that Todd Bowles has introduced since being hired as defensive coordinator back in January.