What numbers will the Bucs' rookies be wearing in 2015?
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The seven members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2015 draft class won't suit up for the team until Friday, when rookie mini-camp begins, but they do know what numbers they'll be sporting when they finally take the field.
First-round pick Jameis Winston quickly elected to go with #3 when he was chosen first overall by the Buccaneers on Thursday. On Monday, the other six members of Tampa Bay's draft class were allowed to pick their NFL jersey numbers. This is what they selected:
|T Donovan Smith: #76 G Ali Marpet: #74 LB Kwon Alexander: #58||WR Kenny Bell: #80 WR Kaelin Clay: #14 FB Joey Iosefa: #33|
These selections necessitated the move of two players already on the roster. DE George Uko switched from #58 to #95 while TE Taylor Sloat swapped out #80 for #49.
Two of the Bucs' seven draftees were able to stay in their college numbers, as Smith wore #76 at Penn State and Bell wore #80 at Nebraska. That's not always possible for players moving from the college ranks to the pros, as there are more restrictive ranges for what can be worn at specific positions. For instance, Clay, Iosefa and Alexander all wore single-digit numbers at their respective schools, but that range is reserved for quarterbacks, kickers and punters in the NFL. Marpet wore #50 at Hobart but that number was recently chosen by linebacker Bruce Carter, an unrestricted free agent signee in March. Offensive linemen can wear numbers in the 50s, but it's relatively uncommon and usually reserved for centers.
Winston wore #8 in high school and #5 at Florida State so he may have just enjoyed the math when he chose #3 with the Buccaneers. Regardless, he stands a very good chance of being the most significant bearer of that number in Buccaneer history. Currently, that distinction would be a toss-up between kicker Matt Bryant and punter Mark Royals, two of the better players in team history at those respective positions.
Below is a look at the Buc history of the seven jersey numbers chosen by the team's 2015 draft class.
#3Currently worn by: QB Jameis WinstonFirst Buccaneer to wear it: K Bill Capece, 1981-83Most recent Buccaneer to wear it: QB Mike Kafka, 2014Most prominently worn by: K Matt Bryant, P Mark Royals#76Currently worn by: T Donovan SmithFirst Buccaneer to wear it: DE Dave Pear, 1976-78Most recent Buccaneer to wear it: OL Jeremy Zuttah, 2008-13Most prominently worn by: Pear, Zuttah, DT David Logan, T Scott Dill, C John Wade
#74Currently worn by: G Ali MarpetFirst Buccaneer to wear it: T Mike Current, 1976Most recent Buccaneer to wear it: OL Cody Wallace, 2012Most prominently worn by: T Paul Gruber, G Gene Sanders#58Currently worn by: LB Kwon AlexanderFirst Buccaneer to wear it: LB Calvin Peterson, 1976Most recent Buccaneer to wear it: DE George Uko, 2014Most prominently worn by: LB Quincy Black, LB Jeff Davis, LB Winston Moss#80Currently worn by: WR Kenny BellFirst Buccaneer to wear it: TE Jack Novak, 1976Most recent Buccaneer to wear it: WR Chris OwusuMost prominently worn by: WR Lawrence Dawsey, WR Michael Clayton, TE Todd Yoder#14Currently worn by: WR Kaelin ClayFirst Buccaneer to wear it: QB Randy Hedberg, 1977Most recent Buccaneer to wear it: QB Brad Johnson, 2001-04Most prominently worn by: Johnson, QB Vinny Testaverde#33Currently worn by: FB Joey IosefaFirst Buccaneer to wear it: S Mark Cotney, 1976-84Most recent Buccaneer to wear it: CB Deveron Carr, 2013Most prominently worn by: Cotney, RB Reggie Cobb, RB Earnest Graham*, S Eric Vance
* Also wore other jersey numbers during Buccaneer career.