With training camp less than a month away, several position battles are about to unfold that will go a long way in determining the overall success of this Buccaneers team in 2022.
The Buccaneers are the defending NFC South champions, and with Tom Brady back for another season under center, the Buccaneers are once again favored to make a deep playoff win.
Here are the top five position battles that I will keep an eye on as training camp unfolds
Kicker: Ryan Succop vs. Jose Borregales
During their Super Bowl season, kicker Ryan Succop was excellent for the Bucs, converting at a 91 percent success rate on EP and FGs. However, he fell considerably last season with his lowest success rate since 2013, connecting at an 83 percent clip, and attempted just one kick from over 50 yards.
This summer, Succop will have some competition from the 2020 Lou Groza Award winner from Miami, Jose Borregales.
Borregales is no stranger to Tampa, having spent the last season on the practice squad. Borregales has a strong leg connecting on a 52 and 57-yarder during his senior season at Miami.
This will be one of the top battles to watch later this summer.
Winner: Jose Borregales
Second–string running back.
Leonard Fournette signed a long-term deal with the Bucs this off-season. So he will be the incumbent going into training camp.
The Buccaneers did not re-sign Ronald Jones, and he took his talents to Kansas City, where he will now run the ball for Andy Reid.
The Buc’s third-round draft pick Rachaad White, and three-year veteran Ke’Shawn Vaughn will compete for the No. 2 spot. Vaughan has been decent in his limited chances. He rushed for 180 yards and averaged five yards per carry last season.
White led Arizona State in rushing his senior season and will push Vaughan hard to get to number two on the depth chart. White is also a much better receiver than Vaughan.
Winner: Rachaad White
Fifth and sixth wide receivers
The first four-wide receiver spots are all locked up with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, and Breshad Perriman. PFF has rated the Evans/Godwin duo as one of the best wide receiver duo’s in the NFL.
The last two wide receiver spots will feature an intense battle between Scotty Miller, TylerJohnson, Jaelon Darden, and Cyril Grayson.
Johnson came into camp out of shape last season and did not overwhelm anyone when he was given an opportunity. But unfortunately, Miller was injured for the majority of the season. And Darden seemed to struggle with his adjustment to the NFL game.
One free agent to keep an eye on is Devin Thompkins. He has already caught the eye of head coach Todd Bowles and will be given more than a fair chance to make this team.
After an impressive mini-camp, Bowles said, “I would love to see what Thompkins does during training camp. He’s quick, he’s fast, he’s explosive off the ball, and he’s made some good catches.”
Winners: Tyler Johnson and Jaelon Darden. If the Bucs carry seven receivers, Scotty Miller makes the roster. Devin Thompkins will start the season on the practice squad.
Second team linebackers
Another battle to watch will be at linebacker. Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, Devin White, and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka are the first four on the depth chart.
NFL.com has the Duo of David and White rated as the best linebacking duo in the league.
A vast improvement is expected from Tryon-Shoyinka as he takes the place of Jason Pierre-Paul on the outside.
KJ Britt and Grant Stuard will get the first chance to back up David and White as the third and fourth inside linebackers. Cam Gill, Anthony Nelson, and Andre Anthony, the rookie from LSU, will compete for two outside linebacker spots.
Winners: Cam Gill and Anthony Nelson.
This is a position where the Bucs took a significant hit as they lost right guard Alex Cappa in free agency to Cinncinnati, and Ali Marpet retired.
The Bucs signed free agent guard Shaq Mason to replace Marpet and drafted a tough kid from Central Michigan, Luke Goedecke, to replace Cappa.
Veteran Aaron Stinnie and Luke Goedecke will battle for the left guard position. Goedecke is a finisher in the run game and can maintain outstanding balance to stay on point when blocking. Goedeke has the skill and attributes needed to be a starting guard in the NFL.
Stinnie has the edge in experience, having played in 23 games, including the playoffs.
Winner: Luke Goedecke
More position battles may occur during training camp, but these are my top five battles to look forward to. These position winners could determine how far this team goes in the playoffs.
The Buccaneers will open training camp on July 27th, with the first preseason game on August 13th against the Miami Dolphins.