Well, it’s official.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made their final cuts of the 2020 training camp reducing their 80 players down to a 53-man active roster and a 16-man practice squad. If you’ve been able to keep up with all the moves, then kudos to you. It’s not easy. Things happen quickly during cutdown day, and if you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss something here and there.
That’s where I come in to save the day.
If you’re not sure about what’s transpired over the weekend, then no worries. Sit back, relax, and just read. I’ve done all the legwork for you. From cuts to signings and waiver drops to waiver claims, here is everything you could want to know about how the Bucs ended up with the players they have now. So let’s get started with the quarterbacks.
QUARTERBACKS (3) – Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin
Yes, Ryan Griffin has survived another year of cuts. No real surprises here, although I did think they would move Griff to the practice squad with the new rules this season. Rookie Reid Sinnett was waived but was brought back to the practice squad after clearing waivers, only to be released after the Bucs latest roster move of signing the Miami Dolphins, recently waived quarterback Josh Rosen. That’s right, folks, the former 10th pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals is now on the Buccaneers practice squad. He had other opportunities, even on to active rosters, but he chose the Bucs. He decided that sitting behind and observing the greatest QB of all time would be the best career move for him. I agree.
RUNNING BACKS (4) – Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, Ke’ Shawn Vaughn
This room has seen a drastic overhaul since last season when they had Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones II, Dare Ogunbowale, and TJ Logan. Barber went to Washington in free agency. Logan was lost to a possible season-ending knee injury. And Ogunbowale was waived by the Bucs last week. They’ve been replaced by Fournette, McCoy, and the rookie Vaughn this season. The other rookie Raymond Calais was waived and re-signed to the practice squad, but he was quickly snatched up and signed to the 53-man roster of the LA Rams, leaving the Bucs with no running backs on their scout team for the moment.
WIDE RECEIVER (6) – Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Justin Watson, Tyler Johnson, Jaydon Mickens
This group started out with seven players. Undrafted rookie John Hurst also made the initial 53-man roster, despite battling an ankle injury. Nicknamed “Crazy Legs” by Tom Brady, Hurst apparently impressed the Bucs staff enough with his speed and return ability to earn a spot. However, he has been put on short-term IR, which cleared the roster spot to sign Leonard Fournette. There’s no surprises in the top five receivers, but Mickens was able to earn a roster spot as both the primary kick AND punt returner.
Four more receivers were waived, including Cyril Grayson, Josh Pearson, Bryant Mitchell, and Spencer Schnell, but only Grayson and Pearson were brought back to the practice squad.
TIGHT ENDS (4) – Rob Gronkowski, OJ Howard, Cam Brate, Antony Auclair
No surprises here. The Bucs had six tight ends in camp, and these were the clear cut best four. The other two, Tanner Hudson and Cody McElroy were waived with Hudson being brought back to the practice squad.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9) – Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, Tristan Wirfs, Josh Wells, Aaron Stinnie, AQ Shipley, Joe Haeg
The Bucs were crafty with this group. There were five cuts initially made among the offensive linemen, including Nick Leverett, Zack Bailey, Anthony Fabiano, Zach Shackelford, and recently signed AQ Shipley (released, no waiver). Originally John Molchon was included in the 53-man roster, but he was put on the short-term IR so that the team could bring back Shipley as their backup center. Leverett, Bailey, and Shackelford were also brought back and signed to the practice squad.
DEFENSIVE LINE (6) – Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, Will Gholston, Pat O’Connor, Khalil Davis, Raheem Nunez-Roches
There were only two cuts made in this group, and both guys, Jeremiah Ledbetter and Benning Potoa’e were brought back to the practice squad. The biggest surprise here might be that rookie Khalil Davis beat out Ledbetter for a spot, but apparently, the coaching staff was very impressed with his athleticism in camp.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5) – Shaquille Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Anthony Nelson, Cam Gill, Quinton Bell
I was a bit surprised with this group. There was only one cut made in second-year player Khazin Daniels. The Bucs are extremely inexperienced behind starters Barrett and Pierre-Paul with Nelson and Bell going into their second seasons and Gill being an undrafted rookie. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them try to sign a free agent veteran OLB eventually, but it looks like they’ll roll with the young guys for now.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4) – Lavonte David, Devin White, Kevin Minter, Jack Cichy
This must have been a tough choice because it was one of the final cuts made late Saturday. Noah Dawkins and rookie Chapelle Russell were both waived. Dawkins played in 10 games for Tampa last season, but it was the rookie Russell, who impressed enough to earn a spot on the practice squad.
CORNERBACK (5) – Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, Ryan Smith, Parnell Motley
More surprises here with the cornerback group when Mazzi Wilkins and Herb Miller were both waived while undrafted rookie Parnell Motley made the 53-man roster. Both Wilkins and Miller cleared waivers and were re-signed to the practice squad, but the big story here is how impressive the rookie was in camp.
SAFETY (4) – Jordan Whitehead, Antoine Winfield Jr, Mike Edwards, Andrew Adams
No real shockers here. Two cuts were made in this group with both D’Cota Dixon and Javon Hagan being brought back to the practice squad. Some people are a little surprised that the rookie Winfield Jr is listed ahead of Edwards for the starting free safety spot although I’m not sure why. He’s apparently been impressive all camp.
For those curious about the never-ending saga called Justin Evans, he has, once again, been put on the Physically Unable to Play List. This gives him another six weeks to recover from his foot injury, despite not practicing for 21 months now. The staff must see some real potential in him to continue keeping him around like this, but we should know more about his future in a couple of months.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3) – Zach Triner, Bradley Pinion, Ryan Succop
That’s right, no Matt Gay at kicker. It seems as though a big leg isn’t as important as an accurate leg. Veteran Ryan Succop was brought into camp late and quickly won the kicking job as Gay was one of the first cuts made. From 2014 to 2017, Succop made 56 consecutive field goals inside 50 yards, which set a new NFL record.
The Bucs have also brought in another kicker named Greg Joseph, who played for the Browns and Titans over the last two seasons, to join their practice squad, filling the spot vacated by Raymond Calais leaving.
INITIAL DEPTH CHART
RT – Tristan Wirfs, Joe Haeg
RG – Alex Cappa
C – Ryan Jensen, AQ Shipley
LG – Ali Marpet, Aaron Stinnie
LT – Donovan Smith, Josh Wells
QB – Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin
RB – Ronald Jones II, LeSean McCoy, Leonard Fournette, Ke’ Shawn Vaughn
TE – Rob Gronkowski, Cam Brate
WR – Mike Evans, Justin Watson, Tyler Johnson
TE – OJ Howard, Antony Auclair
WR – Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Jaydon Mickens
OLB – Jason Pierre-Paul, Anthony Nelson
DT – Ndamukong Suh, Khalil Davis
NT – Vita Vea, Raheem Nunez-Roches
DT – Will Gholston, Pat O’Connor
OLB – Shaq Barrett, Cam Gill, Quinton Bell
ILB – Lavonte David, Jack Cichy
ILB – Devin White, Kevin Minter
CB – Carlton Davis, Ryan Smith, Parnell Motley
CB – Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean
SS – Jordan Whitehead, Andrew Adams
FS – Antoine Winfield Jr, Mike Edwards
K – Ryan Succop
P – Bradley Pinion
LS – Zach Triner
KR – Jaydon Mickens, Antoine Winfield Jr
PR – Jaydon Mickens, Scotty Miller
16-man Practice Squad
QB Josh Rosen
WR Josh Pearson
WR Cyril Grayson
TE Tanner Hudson
OL Zack Bailey
OL Nick Leverett
OL Zach Shackelford
DL Jeremiah Ledbetter
DL Benning Potoa’e
ILB Chapelle Russell
CB Mazzi Wilkins
CB Herb Miller
S D’Cota Dixon
S Javon Hagan
K Greg Joseph
OL John Molchon
RB TJ Logan
WR John Franklin
WR John Hurst
S Justin Evans
OT Brad Seaton
Fun Facts About the Bucs Roster
* The Bucs will have 23 players on their Week 1 roster that were not on their Week 1 roster last season, as well as 16 new players that weren’t in Tampa at all last year. There are nine rookies and seven veterans.
* Four undrafted rookies made the initial 53-man roster (Molchon, Hurst, Gill, Motley), which is impressive considering the limited opportunities they had in camp.
* This roster has at least one player from each of the Bucs last nine drafts. They still have 21 of 29 picks from their last four drafts and just six from the previous drafts (2012- David, 2013- Gholston, 2014- Evans, 2015- D. Smith/Marpet, 2016- R. Smith).
* The Bucs go into this season with more players on offense (26) than on defense (24).
* Tallest player- Anthony Nelson 6’7″
* Shortest player- Antoine Winfield Jr 5’9″
* Biggest player- Vita Vea 347lbs
* Smallest player- Jaydon Mickens 170lbs
* Oldest player- Tom Brady 43
* Youngest player- Tristan Wirfs 21
* There are nine rookies and ten veterans over 30 on this roster.
Bucs fans go into every season with high hopes and dreams of another Super Bowl. Usually, those hopes and dreams are squashed within the first few weeks of the season. But this year has a different feel to it with Tom Brady on board, steering the ship. Maybe I’m simply buying into the hype. But from what I hear coming out of One Buc, everyone on the team is buying in too. We’ll see if that’s true this Sunday when they open the season on the road in New Orleans to face their division rival Saints.
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!