With any new season, there is a rotation of players on the roster. This creates opportunity and creates camp battles where clear-cut performers move up the depth chart. But some battles are not solidified until the end of the preseason. These Buccaneers’ defenders need to shine in order to make the cut or move up the ranks.
In order to find himself in a starting role, Edwards needs a strong showing. This season he finds himself with new competition in camp. Keanu Neal and Logan Ryan were brought in this offseason with the departure of Jordan Whitehead.
Edwards, coming off probably his best season statistically, is in a contract year. So far in camp reports have Edwards playing very well and looking to move from reserve to the starting role after Whitehead left for the Jets. His versatility bodes well and he flashed some great plays last season. Nipping at his heals however are two accomplished and versatile players themselves. They’ll all be fighting for snaps just as hard.
Edwards will make the roster but a solid preseason could solidify his roster spot and the lions share of time on the field.
Cam Gill vs Andre Anthony
Gill, an undrafted free agent when he came into the NFL, has been a reserve for the Buccaneers at outside linebacker for two years now. In his first season he saw a total of 2.1% of all defensive snaps. Ultimately he improved in his second year earning more trust form the coaching staff the turned into more playing time. This resulted in 10.4 of the defensive snaps and he recorded his first sack. Hoping to build on that Gill is looking to be the back up for Shaquil Barrett.
However Gill has some competition he needs to separate himself from. Andre Anthony was a seventh round pick out of LSU and could be a bargain. The speedy linebacker has some impressive measurables and looks to solidify himself a role on this team as well. Before his season ending injury in his final year at college Anthony was among the college leaders in sacks with 3.5, and tackles for loss with four. This was only in three games. There is a lot of upside for the 25 year old and he may push Gill for a spot behind the starters.
Since joining the Buccaneers in 2017 O’Connor has been a special teams contributor and occasional filler at defensive end. At this point though the best he’s seen in 5.8% of defensive snaps and that was in 2020. Unable to break into a better spot on the depth chart O’Connor may find himself on the outside looking in. This year may very well be where his time in Tampa ends. A strong showing in preseason will be needed for him to stay on the roster.
Get ready Buccaneers fans. Its the time of year for this team to come together as one. In order to do that some players will leave and even if the have been on this squad for a while its still a business.