PFF Tribe Down On Bucs’ Defensive Line

June 29th, 2024

Tribal drums.

Since Joe always looks upon the PFF tribe with a jaundiced eye because so much of their analysis is based on their GD grades, Joe was ready to explode upon seeing their Bucs defensive line ranking.

Then Joe noticed that Sam Monson, one of the high priests of the PFF tribe, included outside linebackers in the evaluation. He had the Bucs’ defensive line ranked No. 20, as a result.

Initially, Joe was going to freak out. Then, Joe thought Monson maybe was being reasonable.

Look, if you include outside linebackers as part of the Bucs’ defensive line, that drags down the entire unit. There is a whole lot of potential with the Bucs’ outside linebackers which, translated, means the team is banking on a lot of hope there.

And Joe’s been typing that for months.

The big issue for Monson seems to be that Vita Vea flashes too much rather than being a consistently dominant tackle.


There is significant potential on the defensive line for Tampa Bay, but far more potential than guaranteed production. Vita Vea is by far the group’s best player, and even Vea doesn’t consistently match his highlight reel. Fourteen defensive tackles earned a better PFF run-defense grade than him last season, and 39 notched more pressures, including 355-pound nose tackle Michael Pierce.

Calijah Kancey has big-time pass-rushing potential inside, while Randy Gregory, Yaya Diaby and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, along with rookie Chris Braswell, could all generate pressure.

Joe believes many make a mistake thinking Calijah Kancey is a pass rusher only. No, this man can play the run damn well.

Remember, he had 10 tackles for loss in 14 games. That’s not bad for anyone. For a rookie, that’s incredible.

Joe’s been over the outside linebackers. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka may get 4-6 games to show he finally has it figured out. If he fails, look for Chris Braswell to start opposite YaYa Diaby, maybe as early as October.

Don’t get Joe started on MIA Randy Gregory. Let’s not ruin the weekend, huh?

24 Responses to “PFF Tribe Down On Bucs’ Defensive Line”

  1. BillyBucco Says:

    I think you are over looking Watts. He is NOT on Anthony Nelson’s level and could also start at some point. I get that it’s only on paper, but the forecast for this year is way better than most analysts realize.

  2. Pinellas Paul Says:

    “Joe Tryon-Shoyinka could generate pressure”


  3. ChiBuc Says:

    I’m hoping Vea’s new look is due to a more demanding cardio regimen, resulting in more on field time. It’s hard to consider a part time player great

  4. Joe Says:

    I think you are over looking Watts.

    The man has to get more than one sack for Joe to seriously factor in what his impact may be. One sack isn’t a resume, that’s an accident.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Look, if you include outside linebackers as part of the Bucs’ defensive line, that drags down the entire unit.’

    I’d think that they’d have to include OLBs in any DLine analysis Joe just to be able to compare teams running a 4-3 with those running a 3-4. And granted that Diaby & Braswell are 2 relative unknowns at the NFL level, but they’ve both got a lot of talent, will get excellent coaching by George Edwards, and are gonna surprise a lot of people.

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    BillyBucco: They say Watts has the bend that an Edge needs, and uses his shorter height to his advantage. He hasn’t really done anything yet, but this kid might have the same drive to be successful that Shaq Barrett had. We’ll see.

  7. Crickett Baker Says:

    It already seems like Vita has it in his head to improve this year.

  8. SlyPirate Says:

    20th Ranked DL …

    5th in Points Allowed
    7th in Rushing Yards Allowed
    10th in Sacks

    A defense that carried the team to the playoffs with the 21st ranked offense and 32nd ranked rushing attack.

    That adds up to 20th? Love to see the stats on the 19 teams ranked higher.

  9. Dave Pear Says:

    I agree with the PFF bleauxtard about Vita. He has the potential to be the combined clone of Warren Sapp and Vince Wilfork. Finally he’s taking more accountability on himself. Hope he translates it into All-Pro level greatness.

    It seems like Todd waits too long to mandate to his better players that “good is the enemy of great.” Remembering Sapp tell of how Dungy sat him down and explained how he could be one of the best of all time and how to do it.

    Looking at Diva, Vita, Davis, Dean, JTS, Logan The Oaf. Lots of wasted potential.

  10. David Says:

    With VEA, losing weight and adding muscle and Kancey going into year two, I think the DTs have a chance to be the best duo in the league.
    I am 90% confident Yaya is going to get 10+ Sacks, just needs consistency with it.
    I think Braswell gets a ton of playing time by a week 5-6… IF…. he catches on with the defense and assignments.
    JTS is done.

  11. Dave Pear Says:

    Agree about Vea and Kancey. Just need another 3-4 DE to be able to beat single blocking and we’ve got heat with three.


  12. Pickgrin Says:

    “if you include outside linebackers as part of the Bucs’ defensive line, that drags down the entire unit.”

    Ouch. JBF providing ‘receipts’ for George Edwards’ group…

    Coach Bowles named the OLB group the “deepest” on the team coming into last season and they kept 6 on the active roster as proof – also managing to slide talented 6th rounder Ramirez onto the practice squad so he could continue to develop as a redshirt.

    We ‘lost’ Barrett obviously (even though we have to pay $26M for his previous services over the next 2 years – ahem) but added a talented and well coached rookie Braswell in the 2nd rd of the draft. The way Barrett was playing the last 2 years – thats either a wash or perhaps even a gain to the group as a whole – especially moving forward. Point is – Bucs still have a “deep’ group of OLBers. Meaning there’s a ‘deep’ talent pool there that just needs to be further developed, unlocked and unleashed.

    Bowles ‘standard’ defensive look (70+% of the time) is some variation of nickle with 4 guys at the line 2 DTs and 2 OLBers, 2 MLBers and 5 DBs.

    So that 4 man front is your ‘defensive line’ on the majority of plays. Especially pass likely plays where you are looking to get after and negatively effect the QB.

    We’ve already got 3 of those 4 starting spots covered with good to potentially great players. Vea, Kancey and Diaby

    Only need ONE OLBer to step up and fill that left edge spot with starter or plus starter level play – and the talent pool for 1 to emerge from is legitly 5 guys deep.

    JTS is in a contract year and knows its his last chance here. No one disputes that he has the athleticism and skill sets needed to succeed – but in 3 years, Joe has not thus far been able to ‘put it all together’. Will be interesting to see if JTS can finally start looking like a high round draft pick and play with some urgency in his final bid to earn a 2nd contract from Tampa Bay. Most have already designated JTS to the total bust category – but coaches haven’t given up on him by any means and Joe has 1 more year to become the difference maker and play maker he was drafted to be. Don’t be surprised if you see an ‘improved’ Joe Tryon-Shoyinka this year whether he keeps the starting job or not. Dude is playing for his career and to get paid a decent contract by some team next year and beyond.

    Nelson is in a contract year also. Think of him as steady eddy. Tough, very smart, well prepared, knows his assignment when called upon and usually executes what is asked of him successfully. Nelson is the 1 guy out of 5 candidates who has basically hit his ‘ceiling’ – but he’s a solid reserve/roll player who will reliably ‘do his job’ whenever he’s on the field.

    Braswell had to wait his turn at Alabama behind 1st rd talent but really shined when he got his opportunity for significant snaps in 2023. Staying at Alabama and waiting his turn showed character and allowed Braswell to receive top notch coaching for 3 full years in college. Bucs drafted him in the 2nd rd and are very excited about the young man’s talent and potential as an NFL edge player. Rookie OLBers don’t usually have major impact in their 1st year – but there are exceptions (like Diaby last year) and the Bucs seem to think that with his skill set and excellent coaching in a somewhat similar scheme at Alabama – that Braswell can really hit the ground running and be a major contributor if not a starter in his rookie year.

    Markees Watts came out of nowhere as a UDFA last year – and literally forced his way onto the active roster with his play. Bucs unconventionally kept 6 OLBers as a result and Watts rewarded that decision with the highest pressure rate of any Bucs OLBer with limited rookie snaps. Counting this guy out as a potential starter and/or major contributor in 2024 simply because he was a UDFA is most likely a mistake. Watts has been working hard in the offseason to take his game to another level and the chances we see that improvement on the field this year are high IMO.

    Jose Ramirez had some measurables and demonstrated high end talent and stats his final year at Eastern Michigan that suggested his 6th rd draft selection by the Buccaneers was a major potential ‘steal’. He came in as a raw talent by NFL standards – but coaches have been excited about him the whole time hes been in Tampa Bay and say his attitude is amazing and that he works his butt off every day to learn and improve his craft. Bucs were lucky to get Ramirez through waivers last year and onto the practice squad – and now with a full offseason under his belt – Jose is ready to compete for a spot and snaps – perhaps even a starting spot if he can really show something….

    ONE of these guys WILL step up and provide the ‘juice’ at starting left OLB that the Bucs need in order for this defense to get pressure from the front 4 and truly play to its potential.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see 2 or 3 of them seriously step up their games and create real competition for snaps – regardless of who ‘wins’ the starting job.

    Bottom line – NO the Bucs don’t have a $25M ‘big name’ edge rusher because they simply cannot afford one right now. So the ‘expectations’ of many are reflecting that via these consistently low rankings and Joe’s ongoing ‘we don’t have a pass rush” chicken little act….

    But those low expectations are not accounting for the depth of our OLB talent pool nor the quality of coaching these guys are receiving.

    Go have a gander at George Edwards’ coaching resume if you don’t already know what he’s bringing to the table….

  13. geno711 Says:

    I am ok with Joe thinking stats from Warren Sharp is better than PFF.
    But really, it is just a bias on Joe’s part with no real evaluation by him between the two stat sources.

    Does anyone really think that Warren Sharp is not using the same bunch of random dudes just like PFF?

    I say have that “jaundiced eye”, just save it for both sites.

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    How can these retards do a defensive lineman ranking when they don’t even know what a lineman is? An OLB is not a defensive lineman. This is day 1 football stuff. What idiots.

  15. Stanglassman Says:

    Pickgrin. Great summary. I knew George Edwards coached the Vikings but didn’t realize how extensive his resume is. The Bucs are fortunate to have him as their DL coach.

  16. Capt.Tim Says:

    Alot of Guys, who have flashed Talent, But have alot to Prove.
    Not much in the way of proven commodities.
    Hard to argue with their assessment.

  17. teacherman1983 Says:

    Please someone make a video of Vea for the Packers in the NFC Championship game.

    And Vea last season.

    Vea looked stumpy, weak and like an old man.

    Look at the videos. He was a Beast in 2020. And he just looked fat and weak last year.

    He is like JPP. A God who doesn’t think he needs to work out.

  18. heyjude Says:

    After reading their article I don’t agree at being number 20. They have Jets as number 1, Eagles 3rd, Patriots 15, Seahawks 17, Colts number 7 when no one knows how Laiatu Latu will do. Vea lost weight, looks healthier, and his mindset is better. This could be YaYa’s breakout year. Braswell is right there too. We have strength and got overlooked again.

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    heyjude Says:
    “no one knows how Laiatu Latu will do”

    Best pass rusher in this class. Latu will be a very good player.

    Braswell might be 2nd or 3rd best pass rusher who got drafted this year.

    I wanted the Bucs to trade up for Latu if he got within range – which he didn’t.

    MUCH happier though to have gotten Barton and Braswell than to have traded up for Latu….

  20. Fred McNeil Says:

    Via looks healthier in the OTA pics I’ve seen. That and Kancey’s bulk up should make the middle of our line better. As far as wether an OLB is a lineman or not they are both and neither.

  21. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I guess everyone completely ruled out Logan Hall. I think he is in the same boat the JTS. He’s pretty fast for a tall DT but just doesn’t have any power or strength to handle NFL OL. If he worked out this offseason, I think there’s a chance he could be decent.

  22. heyjude Says:

    I was initially worried about Latu neck injury and was hesitant on him. Still afraid of something happening to him, however he is a great player and a good guy. I watched a segment of ESPN about the rookies and he was fun to watch. Just worried about him and would hate to see a worse injury happen to him. I am definitely all in on Graham too.

  23. SenileSenior Says:

    Rumor has it that Vita Vea will be a much more dedicated pro this season. Was it Licht or Bowles who got his ear this offseason?

  24. ballwasher61 Says:

    Braswell’s coaching, drive and smarts from working with Sabin and others at Bama will pay big dividends this year. I think he and Diaby are the starters by opening day.