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Grading Every Tampa Bay Buccaneers Position Group Going into 2022

Chris Godwin TD / Grading Every Tampa Bay Buccaneers Position Group Going into 2022

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are poised to make another run in 2022. They had quite the off-season with Tom Brady retiring and then coming back and with Bruce Arians stepping down as Head Coach. Todd Bowles takes over and this team shouldn’t skip a beat. The Bucs upgraded at key positions to bolster their roster. Chris Godwin getting healthy and back to his old form will be key to their offensive success. This is once again one of the best teams in the NFC with their eyes on another Lombardi Trophy.

QB: Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask, Ryan Griffin

Grade: A

Explanation: It is tough to go any lower than an A when Tom Brady is the quarterback. He is going to be 45 when the 2022 season kicks off and he has showed no signs of regression. He led the league in passing yards and touchdowns last season. Other than Brady, Gabbert is a veteran backup that has a lot of in game experience, playing in 66 games throughout his career. Tampa Bay will be a title contender again in 2022 and the man under center is a big reason why.

RB: Leonard Fournette, Giovani Bernard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Kenjon Barner, Rachaad White

Grade: B

Explanation: Fournette battled through injuries late last year but in the 14 games he played he averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 812 total yards. He is a very solid piece in this offense. Rachaad White was taken 91st overall in this year’s draft after he had over 1,000 rushing yards last season for Arizona State. Vaughn is also another good option in this room after he averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 2021. Health is always a factor in the NFL, but especially for running backs. The addition of White and having Vaughn and Bernard will definitely help lighten the overall workload of each back.

WR: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Russel Gage, Tyler Johnson, Breshad Perriman, Cyril Grayson, Scotty Miller, Jaelon Darden, Vyncint Smith, Jerreth Sterns, Deven Thompkins, Kaylon Geiger, Kameron Brown

Grade: A-

Explanation: Mike Evans and Chris Godwin highlight this group as they are two of the better receivers in the NFL. Russel Gage is new to the Bucs after he spent his first four season in Atlanta, having over 700 receiving yards the previous two seasons. The only reason this group isn’t an A is due to the uncertainty in Godwin’s injury and when he will be back. He suffered a torn ACL in week 15 of last season. Getting him back to full health will be key to Tampa’s success. In terms of depth, Tyler Johnson had 360 yards a season ago and Scotty Miller had a breakout year in 2020 with over 500 yards. If Godwin is to miss a few games to start the year, someone will have to step up in this group to fill that void.

TE: Cameron Brate, Cade Otton, Ko Kieft, Codey McElroy, Ben Beise, JJ Howland

Grade: C

Explanation: This group takes a big hit with Rob Gronkowski retiring. Brate is a solid option to enter in as TE1, but he hasn’t had the 600-yard seasons like he had back in 2016 and 2017. McElroy is the only other TE on the depth chart that won’t be a rookie this season, so the lack of depth is concerning. Expect Tampa to be in the market to add to this position group. Overall, Brate will have one of the best quarterbacks to play the game throwing him the ball so his production should make a considerable jump, especially with an increased role.

OL: Donovan Smith, Aaron Stinnie, Ryan Jensen, Shaq Mason, Tristan Wirfs, Fred Johnson, Luke Goedeke, Robert Hainsey, John Molchon, Josh Wells, Nick Leverett, Brandon Walton, Jonathan Hubbard, Sadarius Hutcherson, Curtis Blackwell, Dylan Cook

Grade: A-

Explanation: Tampa Bay has had one of the best offensive lines in football the past couple of years and they got even better by adding Shaq Mason to this unit. Wirfs is one of the best young tackles in the game and Smith is another very solid tackle on the left. Ryan Jensen is a veteran leader and a very good center. The other guard spot is the only question mark. Aaron Stinnie is slotted as the starter, but the Buccaneers took Luke Goedeke in the 2nd round of the 2022 Draft, and he will compete for that spot in camp. Altogether, it looks to be another dominant year for this offensive line.

DL: Akiem Hicks, Vita Vea, William Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Deadrin Senat, Logan Hall, Patrick O’Connor

Grade: B+

Explanation: Vita Vea is as dominant as nose guards come in the MFL. He just signed a massive extension and is looking to build on his 2021 season where he made the Pro Bowl. Akins Hicks is an aging veteran but still incredibly productive when healthy. Hicks and Vea on the interior will cause a lot of problems for opposing offensive lines. Logan Hall was selected early in the 2nd round of this past draft and should see significant time as a rookie. He will bring a dynamic skill set to this room. 2022 looks to be another solid year for this position group.

LB: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Devin White, Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, Anthony Nelson, Grant Stuard, KJ Britt, Cam Gill, Elijah Ponder, Olakunle Fatukasi, JJ Russell, Andre Anthony, Jordan Young

Grade: A

Explanation: White And David combine to be one of the best off ball LB duos in the NFL. They are a big reason for the success of this defense the past couple of years. Shaq Barrett brings double digit sack production off the edge. The Bucs will hope Tryon-Shoyinka can make a big jump going into his second season in 2022. Anthony Nelson is another solid depth piece who had 5.0 sacks a season ago. Overall, this is a solid unit off the ball and on the ball. Don’t expect this unit to lose a step in 2022.

CB: Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis, Ross Cockrell, Dee Delaney, Zion McCollum, Rashard Robinson, Kyler McMichael

Grade: B+

Explanation: The Bucs have a solid trio of cornerbacks in Dean, Davis, and Murphy Bunting. Dean and Davis both had overall defensive rankings over 70.0 a season ago, per PFF. Murphy-Bunting battled with injuries last season so expect him to be better in 2022 fully healthy. Cockrell is another solid depth option that had 43 tackles and a forced fumble a season ago. This is another solid unit to go with this tough Buccaneers defense.

S: Antoine Winfield Jr, Logan Ryan, Keanu Neal, Mike Edwards, Troy Warner, Chris Cooper, Nolan Turner

Grade: A-

Explanation: Winfield was one of the best safeties in the NFL last season. He was rated as the 2nd best safety, per PFF. He had 88 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 INT in 2021. He is a threat in their secondary. Logan Ryan comes over from the Giants and he is an experienced veteran that has played in a lot of games. Neal and Edwards are two very good depth pieces that have played a lot of football and are very serviceable options if injuries were to occur.

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