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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Position Depth Rankings: #6 - DE

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

Pictures of the Buccaneers' defensive linemen.

There are a lot of possibilities here, just not enough sure things.

Will Gholston has been durable and a good run-stopper for four years and he is determined to make more of an impact as a pass-rusher. Robert Ayers was one of the team's better third-down penetrators from the edge last year but he was somewhat limited by injuries.

The Bucs will definitely employ a rotation on the end behind those two presumptive starters; it remains to be seen how deep that rotation will be. There are high hopes for second-year man Noah Spence, who had 5.5 sacks as a rookie and looks poised to up that number in 2017. Still, his track record is short. Jacquies Smith would be a great asset in that rotation if he is the same player he was in 2014-15, but he's returning from a knee injury that wiped out essentially all of his 2016 season. George Johnson provides great depth on paper, but he too missed last year with an injury. Ryan Russell showed some pass-rush spark in the second half of last year but is still building his resume.

There's reason to be optimistic about all of those players, and if most of them prove worthy of that optimism the Bucs' defense will be deeper off the edge than it has been in a long time. This position may rank higher on the list by season's end but for now there are too many question marks.

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