Akeem Spence Is Almost There

August 20th, 2013

Bucs fans paying attention to the trenches can see that rookie nose tackle Akeem Spence is no slouch on the first-team defense. The fourth-round pick targeted to be a 16-game starter by the organization seems to be on track.

Joe was impressed by Spence snuffing out a Patriots screen pass last weekend, and Joe knows Gerald McCoy raves about Spence’s work ethic.

Is Spence ready to start? Joe asked Greg Schiano yesterday.

“Akeem’s getting better. Whether he’s ready to start, you know I’m not ready to even consider all that yet. He’s makin’ plays. He’s doing his job most of the time,” Spence said. “Rookies, you get a little tired, you know they can let go of their job. And in his job it’s a very nasty, dirty job. And you gotta win that A-gap. And there’s a lot of stuff that goes on, a lot of stuff that tries to keep you from winning that A-gap. So he’s pretty good at it. But he’s got to be more consistent at it. He’s going to get a shot again Saturday night to do it. I sure hope so. Because he’s very talented.”

Barring injury or a complete breakdown, Joe is confident Spence will be the opening-day starter at nose tackle. Whether he gets spelled by Gary Gibson or stays in on passing downs is up in the air.

Regardless, so far, Spence seems like he was worth the trade-up in the fourth round needed to nab him.

6 Responses to “Akeem Spence Is Almost There”

  1. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Wow Joe. Absolutely GREAT GREAT stuff (articles) these past 2 days. Talking about raising the bar.

  2. MadMax Says:

    Spence is Beasting for a rookie. Its funny watching him because seeing those logs for arms reminds me of the older video games where the D-line/O-line guys all had massive arms that looked unbalanced to their bodies.

  3. Biff Barker Says:

    From the little we’ve seen is Spence, he seems to have more upside than you would expect from a 4th rounder, Good!
    GMC’s point about rookies keeping their head in the game speaks to the Bowers situation. Injuries have kept him off the field the last two years so he was a mid season situational guy,
    If Spence can develop and Bowers can acclimate himself to the expected workload, we’ll be so much better off.

  4. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Joe says
    “He’s doing his job most of the time,” Spence said.”

    Typo. Should be Schiano said.

    I was pretty critical of Spence when he got drafted. I was more skeptical when I saw him on the practice field at first.

    But since then he has steadily improved. He’s big time winning me over.

  5. BucsQcCity Says:

    Akeem Spence seems to be a good pick. Can’t wait to see him this season.

  6. Mike J Says:

    Tampa Bay – Three Performances of Note

    Mid-Round Gem?

    Two games in, it looks like the Bucs have found a quality player in defensive tackle Akeem Spence. Working with the first team, he graded at at +1.8 after posting a +1.7 grade in Week 1. Spence showed well against both the run and pass as he notched two hurries on his 13 pass rushes, while picking up a stop in the running game. Playing the “tilt nose” position in Tampa Bay’s defense, Spence is asked to penetrate the backfield between the center and guard and he did it perfectly, picking up a pressure on center Ryan Wendell at the 14:30 mark of the first quarter. Spence got the better of their matchups in the run game as well, despite Wendell being our top rated run-blocking center in the league last year. At the 6:32 mark, Spence did a nice job of fighting off left guard Logan Mankins’ double team block and shedding Wendell to get back into the play and in on the tackle. Spence’s early play has been encouraging and if he keeps it up, he looks like a great complement to fellow defensive tackle Gerald McCoy who has already established himself as one of the league’s best.