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Friday, Oct 31, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Notes: First depth chart stirs up talk

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TAMPA — The NFL requires teams to put out a depth chart a few days before its first preseason game, and the Bucs followed suit Tuesday.

Coach Lovie Smith immediately warned, however, against putting too much stock in it.

“Don’t read too much into it,’’ Smith said. “Our depth chart will mean a little bit more once we play a football game against someone else. Then we can talk a little more on that.’’

Smith’s warning aside, there is sure to be plenty of talk among fans and analysts about the Bucs’ depth chart, largely because it contains at least a couple of notable surprises.

The most interesting is at cornerback, where veteran Mike Jenkins is listed at the top along with fellow projected starter Alterraun Verner, ahead of second-year pro Johnthan Banks.

Banks, a second-round pick in 2013, started all 16 games as a rookie.

Another surprise is up front on defense, where 2011 second-round pick Da’Quan Bowers, formerly a defensive end, is listed as the backup under tackle behind Gerald McCoy.

“Da’Quan has the flexibility to play a couple different spots, so we could have also listed him at the defensive end position, which he will play,’’ Smith said. “But I see him possibly being able to play three technique, especially on passing downs.’’

At running back, Bobby Rainey is listed as the top backup behind projected starter Doug Martin. Connor Barth is listed as the kickoff specialist instead of P Mike Koenen.

No rookies are listed as starters — Smith suggested that even first-round draft picks have to earn their spot atop their position groups.

“We have some rookies that have been pretty impressive,’’ Smith said. “But you don’t switch the depth chart until you really see them in some live action. In order to be at the top, you have to have done something.’’

Standing tall

QB Mike Glennon doesn’t need to see rookie WR Mike Evans face the Jaguars in Friday’s preseason opener to realize the Bucs have a keeper on their hands.

The first-round pick out of Texas A&M has impressed Glennon with an aggressive 6-foot-5 frame that walls off defenders.

“The first thing that sticks out is his size and his ability to go get the ball,’’ Glennon said of Johnny Manziel’s favorite target at College Station.

“When the ball is in Mike’s area, he really attacks it. And when we turn practice into more of a team situation, you can see the edge he has that’s a real good thing for us.’’

Making moves

The Bucs continued to tweak their training camp roster, signing a pair of defensive ends, including a former South Florida Bull.

Ryne Giddins (6-3, 253) is a free agent from USF who participated in Tampa Bay’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis this spring.

James Ruffin (6-4, 271) originally entered the league as a free agent with the Bucs in 2010. He later signed with Cincinnati’s practice squad and spent the 2011 offseason with the Bengals before being released.

Ruffin, who played collegiately at Northern Iowa, has been a member of the Arena Football League’s Spokane Shock since 2012.

The Bucs also announced they waived (injured) LB Jeremy Grable and S Mycal Swaim.

Ira Kaufman, Roy Cummings

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