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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Position Depth Rankings: #5 - DT

From No. 11 to No. 1, we break down the deepest position groups on the Buccaneers' roster.

Pictures of the Buccaneers' defensive linemen.

As we get to the middle of these rankings, we start to find positions where the depth looks pretty good, but with some question marks that can't be ignored. Both halves of the defensive line fall into this category, but I've got the tackles ahead of the ends just because some of the Bucs' edge players can slide inside when needed. Even if ends Robert Ayers and William Gholston will be able to concentrate on their primary positions this season, the Bucs know they can get snaps from them at tackle at needed, particularly on passing downs.

The starting duo is set, with five-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy likely to be flanked by key free agency pickup Chris Baker. If Baker does indeed get the starting nod, that would make former starter Clinton McDonald a very valuable backup to both DT positions. In practice, all three players would likely see quite a few snaps. Baker was good at providing penetration up the middle for Washington, and if he does the same in Tampa it will be much more difficult for opposing offenses to double-team McCoy.

The Bucs' tackle group also includes a pair of very big run-stoppers in veteran Sealver Siliga and seventh-round draft pick Stevie Tu'ikolovatu. Given that this position is something of a situational player, maybe seeing about 20 snaps a game in obvious run situations, it might be tough for the Bucs to keep both Siliga and Tu'ikolovatu. Again, that sort of competition is a good problem to have.

That said, neither of those latter two tackles is a sure thing, and there isn't much depth behind that. Second-year ends DaVonte Lambert and Channing Ward, a pair of 2016 undrafted free agents who stuck, can play both inside and out, and I've already mentioned the versatility of Ayers and Gholston. Still, this is a position that was hit hard by injuries last year and if that happens again the unit's apparent depth could be thinned out in a hurry.

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