Which Rookies Could Start Right Away for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
It's a new era in Tampa Bay as Raheem Morris is out and Greg Schiano is in as head coach. The new coach will want to put his fingerprints on the team's style of play and personnel through his depth chart decisions. How many players of Schiano's initial draft class could start for the Buccaneers?
First-Round Safety Mark Barron
You don't take a player in the top seven just to have him watch and learn for the first part of his rookie year. While Barron did reportedly get punched in the face by defensive tackle Brian Price during OTAs according to Walterfootball.com, quarterback Josh Freeman had nothing but praise for him:
Mark's a stud. A physical specimen. Big guy. Fast and quick hitter. A very instinctive kind of guy. He's going to cause problems for a lot of offenses.
There is almost no question that Barron will start the season opener against Carolina. Cody Grimm has been working as his backup, not as a player competing with him for a starting job, according to Pewter Report.
First-Round Running Back Doug Martin
Everyone assumed Martin would start when the Bucs traded back into the first round to take him. Everyone, that is, except 2011 starter LeGarrette Blount. Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds reports that Blount took the majority of the first team reps in OTAs and mini camp. That didn't stop Tampa Bay Times beat writer Stephen Holder from projecting Martin as the starter, but he added no matter who starts, they'll share touches with the other back.
This one should come down to preseason performances, so a motivated Blount should not be counted out. If it's close, the tie will likely go to the player selected under the new regime—Martin.
Second-Round Linebacker Lavonte David
David was listed as the starter on Holder's projected depth chart too, but his first-team status for the season opener is much more solid than Martin's. He has been running with the first team through June after overtaking journeyman Rennie Curran during OTAs. He should be one of the team's leading tacklers, if not the leading tackler.
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