Defensive Tackles Tops In NFC SouthJuly 9th, 2014
Yes Bucs fans, it is now 16 days before training camp begins. Joe can almost smell the sweat in the heavy Florida summer air and hear the cracking of pads.
Until that horn blows to signal the start of the first practice, you will read all sorts of different previews — in a lot of different places — from all sorts sources. It’s part of how the NFL wakes up from its summer siesta.
In studying the NFC South, Buccaneers.com multimedia maven Scott Smith pored over the rosters, the histories and the tactics of each team in the division to come up with what team has the best players at each position.
Smith believes the Bucs have the best tandem of defensive tackles in the NFC South.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive Tackle
I’ve put my chips on defensive tackle, but the gap between the Bucs and, say, the Panthers at that position doesn’t look as large as what the Saints have over their opponents at guard.
It helps that you start out with the best player in the game at that position. I have no doubt that some would raise an argument for Ndamukong Suh or Geno Atkins or Jurell Casey or Haloti Ngata, but while McCoy is riding first-team All-Pro honors and the top spot among all DTs in the NFL Top 100 on NFL Network, I’m going to take that opportunity to call him number one. Moreover, he probably hasn’t peaked yet, meaning multiple double-digit sack seasons are a very real possibility. Star Lotulelei looks like he might live up to his first name in Carolina, but he’s not yet in McCoy’s category.
The Bucs added to that strength by nabbing Seattle’s Clinton McDonald on the first day of free agency in March. McDonald racked up 5.5 sacks while serving as a reserve in a D-Line rotation last year; make him a starter and put him next to McCoy and those numbers could go up. In addition, the Bucs have some depth at the position, starting with second-year player Akeem Spence, who started all season as a rookie in 2013.
See what happens when you have a dominant player at his position in GMC? McDonald isn’t bad and the ceiling is still high for second-year man Spence. A guy Smith may have omitted is Will Gholston, who very well could be part of the rotation at defensive tackle, depending how Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers play at defensive end.
If Joe had to quibble, then he would be a bit surprised Scott did not also select the Bucs’ running backs as the best unit in the division.