Nothing too surprising ahead of the team’s Week 1 preseason matchup.
While everything is pretty chalk at this point beyond the obvious quarterback battle between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask (listed as co-starters), here are a few other points of interest:
Logan Hall Is a Starter
The team’s top draft pick from 2022 is penciled in for starter’s reps alongside Vita Vea and 2023 first-rounder Calijah Kancey, which relegates longtime (and recently re-signed) veteran William Gholston to the bench. This isn’t overly surprising, but it punctuates the team’s hopefulness that Hall will take critical steps forward in becoming a long-term solution at the position.
Young Players Will Get Their Shot at Safety
While there’s no doubt about Antoine Winfield Jr. and Ryan Neal starting at both safety spots, the Bucs seem high on rookies to fill depth positions that were previously filled by veterans like Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal.
One of last year’s preseason studs, Nolan Turner, is listed as the primary free safety backup, while much-discussed undrafted rookie Christian Izien is the primary strong safety backup. Izien generated buzz throughout mini camp and he even received first-team reps at the team’s nickel spot, which is wide open. It’ll be fascinating to see how the Rutgers product performs in actual game action. The team might have unearthed a hidden gem.
Rookie safety Christian Izien continues to get a lot of reps at slot corner with the first-team defense.
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 4, 2023
Payne Durham Buried on the Tight End Chart
This is no reason for concern right now, and the team’s primarily depth chart is listed in 11 personnel rather than 12 (which was normal in year’s past), but Durham is listed as TE5 behind obvious starters Cade Otton and Ko Kieft, and then less-obvious names like David Wells and Dominique Dafney.
A fifth-round pick this year who the team traded up for, Durham will have to work his way into playing time with quality reps in game action this month. While some expected him to immediately seize the TE2 role, expectations might need to be tempered until Durham can showcase the requisite skills.
Offensive Line Already Set?
After last season featured a good amount of voluntary and involuntary shuffling along the offensive line, the Bucs seem stalwart on creating as much as chemistry as possible by locking in starters early.
True through mini camp and now the first couple weeks of training camp, the offensive line from left to right as been Tristan Wirfs, free agent signing Matt Feiler, Ryan Jensen, rookie Cody Mauch, and second-year Luke Goedeke.
Bucs rookie Cody Mauch has worked every practice as the first-team right guard. “It’s been really good just getting to know what it’s like to play with these guys,” he said of building continuity. “You’re getting so familiar with the guys that hopefully you’ll be working with.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 4, 2023
There are still plenty of questions at every spot, like:
- How will Tristan Wirfs fare in his transition from right tackle to left?
- Can Feiler rebound from a bad season in 2022?
- Will Jensen ever be the same again after his knee injury?
- How quickly can Mauch go from FCS tackle to starting guard?
- Can Goedeke rebound from a terrible rookie season to settle back in at his original college position?
These are various levels of concern, but the team at least has good depth pieces like Robert Hainsey, Nick Leverett and Aaron Stinnie who can step up if needed.
It’ll be interesting to see how the depth chart continues to evolve as cuts are made and depth pieces play in preseason games. It’s much more wide open for this Bucs team than recent years given the jettisoning of veteran stopgaps and the injection of rookies and prove-it type players.
The team will look to give fans something to be excited about when they kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Raymond James Stadium.