CBS Sports has already predicted the outcome of the Bucs’ 2021 schedule, but they decided to go a bit deeper in their most recent projection: the Bucs’ 2021 depth chart.
As always, there are a few surprises and plenty to talk about. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include roster cuts. That’s why you’ll see so many names.
Regardless, let’s waste no more time and dive in.
Below is Tyler Sullivan’s prediction for the offensive side of the ball:
In terms of starters, there is one big mistake: Antonio Brown is not the Bucs’ slot receiver. You have no idea how badly I want to type “is not” in all caps and bolden it in order to get the point across, but I’ll refrain for the sake of professionality.
Chris Godwin is the Bucs’ slot receiver. And he’s one of the best in the league. The amount of snaps at the position back it up, too. Per Pro Football Focus, he averaged 33 snaps out of the slot per game through 12 regular season games. Brown averaged eight through 8 per game through eight games.
The closest match to Godwin’s snaps was Mike Evans, who averaged 18 snaps per game through 16 games. I think it’s pretty obvious who plays the slot position in this offense.
Next would be Cameron Brate ahead of O.J. Howard. Brate only played 8% of offensive snaps through three games before Howard went down for the year. He did play very well after the injury, especially in the playoffs. So there is some logic behind it, however, it certainly seems like Howard will take back over the No. 2 spot when he returns.
And for running back: Ke’Shawn Vaughn is definitely behind Giovani Bernard right now, no matter how raw Bernard is when it comes to the Bucs offense. Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II will duke it out for the starting gig in training camp. But even though there’s uncertainty, it makes sense to give Fournette the starting nod based off his postseason play.
One would also think Tyler Johnson is above Justin Watson in the receiving pecking order, as well.
It’s logical to put Blaine Gabbert ahead of Kyle Trask for now. That could easily change by the time September rolls around, though.
The offensive side of the ball, while mostly correct, needs adjustment when it comes to specific roles and certain depth positions.
And here is Sullivan’s prediction for the defensive side of the Bucs’ 2021 depth chart:
Um, where the hell is Anthony Nelson? Why the hell is he not even on here?
I also have no clue why John Franklin III is listed at cornerback, here. The only NFL action he’s seen has been at quarterback (he ran the ball) and the Bucs moved him to receiver last year. It’s even stranger that he’s listed as CB4. That’s clearly Ross Cockrell’s spot.
Outside of these big errors, the defensive depth chart is almost perfect.
You can check out Sullivan’s entire article, here.