Pictures of the Buccaneers' linebackers.
The Buccaneers are not particularly deep in linebackers at the moment, although the top of the depth chart is very strong with weakside linebacker Lavonte David and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander. Those two occupy key spots in the Bucs' 4-3 front and have been an ultra-productive duo over the last two years. Since Alexander arrived as a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, he and David have combined for 472 tackles, 14.0 sacks, 28 stuffs, nine forced fumbles, 33 passes defensed and seven interceptions.
The third starter for the Buccaneers in 2016 was 13th-year veteran Daryl Smith, who is now an unrestricted free agent. If he does not return, the team could look to second-year man Devante Bond to step into the strongside linebacker spot; Bond spent his rookie season on injured reserve but was a sixth-round pick a year ago. The strongside position in the Bucs' defense is generally the one that comes off the field in nickel packages, meaning that starter plays about half of the defensive snaps.
The Buccaneers gave a qualifying offer to linebacker Adarius Glanton, making him an exclusive rights free agent and ensuring he would be back in training camp in 2017. Glanton was a core special teamer for the Bucs last fall but might also have a shot at winning that strongside spot. There are only two other linebackers on the roster at the moment: Cameron Lynch and Jeff Knox. Lynch was another good special teams player for the Buccaneers who was picked up after the Rams let him go in September. Knox will give the NFL a go after standing out for two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League. Tampa Bay can only hope Knox approximates the success of another linebacker they got from the CFL in the '90s, eventual Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ Shelton Quarles.
The Buccaneers will definitely be adding to the linebacker position in the months to come. The team took 10 players at that position into training camp last summer.
MORE DEPTH CHART BREAKDOWNS