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The "State" of the Buccaneers Roster

Andrew Norton and Scott Smith drafted Buc players by hometown to see which states would have bragging rights.

Check out photos of the Buccaneers' current roster.

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There are currently 90 men on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp roster, and they hail from all over the map. There are Buccaneers from the southern tip of Florida all the way to Washington state and the nation's northwest. There are, in fact, current Buc players from exactly half of the 50 states, plus one from American Samoa.

(Note: For this article, and for maintenance of the team's official roster, "hometown" refers to the town in which the player played high school football.)

As one would expect, some states have significantly more representation on Tampa Bay's roster than others. The traditional high school powerhouses – California, Florida and Texas – are, not surprisingly, the three most represented states on the current Buc squad, and that's true almost every season. New Jersey, Ohio and Illinois have a few more alumni than one might expect, while others like Iowa, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma have but a single rep.

All of which got us to thinking: If Buccaneer players suddenly decided to separate into groups from their home states and do battle on the gridiron, which state would have the upper hand. Would Lavonte David's Florida crew hold Mike Evans and the Texas team in check? Would either overcome Doug Martin, Logan Mankins and the boys from California? Could Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy, no stranger to double and triple-teams, be able to take on 11 men at once?

Well, to that last question, no he could not. And that's basically the problem with this idea. Even with 13 players each, Florida and California would struggle to field a competitive team. Neither one would have a quarterback, nor would Texas, which is also woefully short on the offensive line. It just doesn't work.

Which is why I've brought in contributor Andrew Norton to help me salvage this concept. We'll try to determine state superiority using something we all know and love: a draft. Counting American Samoa, there are 26 total states to choose from in this draft, so we'll each get 13 and hopefully get close to filling out a 25-man starting unit (11 offense, 11 defense, punter, kicker, long-snapper).

Since Andrew's lending me a hand here, I gave him the first pick, which proved to be a very bad idea. Getting two of the three "big" states was a huge advantage, especially along the defensive line. That's enough complaining, however. Here are the teams we ended up with, along with the states involved:

Andrew Norton's Team

States: American Samoa, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia

QB: Mike Glennon (VA)
RB: Doug Martin (CA), Joey Iosefa (AS)
RB: Charles Sims (TX), Jorvorskie Lane (TX), Evan Rodriguez (NJ)
WR: Mike Evans (TX), Kaelin Clay (CA)
WR: Russell Shepard (TX), Robert Herron (CA)
TE: Luke Stocker (KY), Tim Wright (NJ)
T:Donovan Smith (MD)
T:Reid Fragel (MI), Antoine Everett (TX)
G: Logan Mankins (CA)
G: Ali Marpet (NY), Matthew Masifilo (HI)
C: Evan Smith (CA), Josh Allen (TX)

DE: Jacquies Smith (TX), Lawrence Sidbury (MD), George Uko (CA)
DE: George Johnson (NJ), William Gholston (MI)
DT: Gerald McCoy (OK)
DT: Henry Melton (TX), Quayshawne Buckley (CA)
LB: Orie Lemon (TX), Josh Keyes (NY)
LB: Bruce Carter (NC), Quinton Alston (NJ)
LB: Danny Lansanah (PA),Khaseem Greene (NJ), Jared Koster (CA)
CB: Alterraun Verner (CA), C.J. Wilson (NC)
CB: Sterling Moore (CA), Isaiah Frey (CA)
S: Chris Conte (CA), Chris Hackett (TX)
S: Keith Tandy (KY)

K: Patrick Murray (NJ)
P: Spencer Lanning (SC) *
LS: Andrew DePaola (MD), Courtland Clavette (NC)

( Note: When the dust had settled, Andrew had both kickers and I had both punters, so we made a simple trade to send Lanning over to his team in exchange for K Brandon Bogotay.)*

Draft Approach: Getting California and Texas to start off his team gave Andrew a quick numerical advantage and allowed him to make some one-and-done picks (e.g. Oklahoma and Gerald McCoy) in the early going. Good strategy. Choosing which of the Big Three to grab first was legitimately a tough decision, but California gave him a good start to his secondary, a top-notch running back and a great guard in Mankins. The presence of a strong second quarterback in Glennon allowed him to take a second big-ticket state with his next pick, rather than going for the two-person Alabama pick for Jameis Winston. After two one-person states in Oklahoma (McCoy) and Virginia (Glennon), Andrew went to New Jersey in order to get linebacker depth and a starting end in George Johnson. Great value pick in Round Nine.

Team Strengths: The starting defensive line is far better than mine, and in fact the whole front seven is pretty attractive. The depth at linebacker also means the special teams should have a very solid core, although there were plenty of players at that position to satisfy both teams. The one-two punch of Martin and Sims in the offensive backfield might be exactly what Buccaneer fans are seeing all season this fall. And, simply as a by-product of state picks made for other reasons, he ended up with both long-snappers, which doesn't sound critical until you don't have one.

Team Weaknesses: Mike Glennon could be in trouble if Andrew's offensive tackle position doesn't pan out. Now, it's worth pointing out that he did get the presumptive starting left tackle, but since that's a rookie in Donovan Smith it's too early to know for sure how strong he will be in September. The bookend tackle is Reid Fragel, who has yet to play a down in the NFL, either. There is precious little depth on the offensive line in general. Glennon could find himself with a shortage of passing targets, too, if anyone in the receiver or tight end groups go down. This team has the Bucs' leading receiver from 2014 in Mike Evans but the other three wideouts have 10 NFL catches between them. Tim Wright could be the primary pass-catching tight end if he can recapture his 2013 glory.

Scott Smith's Team

States: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington

QB: Jameis Winston (AL), Seth Lobato (CO)
RB: Bobby Rainey (GA), Dominique Brown (OH)
RB: Mike James (FL)
WR: Vincent Jackson (CO), Kenny Bell (CO), Donteea Dye (OH)
WR: Louis Murphy (FL), Tavarres King (GA), Rannell Hall (FL), Adam Humphries (SC)
TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (WA), Brandon Myers (IA), Cameron Brate (IL)
T:Demar Dotson (LA)
T:Kevin Pamphile (FL), Edawn Coughman (GA)
G: Kadeem Edwards (FL)
G: Patrick Omameh (OH)
C: Garrett Gilkey (IL), Jeremiah Warren (FL)

DE: Larry English (IL), Ryan Delaire (CT)
DE: T.J. Fatinikun (OH), Jamal Young (MS)
DT: Clinton McDonald (AR)
DT: Akeem Spence (FL), Caushaud Lyons (GA)
LB: Lavonte David (FL)
LB: Kwon Alexander (AL)
LB: James Williams (IL), Larry Dean (GA)
CB: Johnthan Banks (MS), Leonard Johnson (FL)
CB: Mike Jenkins (FL), Brandon Dixon (FL), Deshazor Everett (LA)
S: Bradley McDougald (OH), Major Wright (FL)
S: D.J. Swearinger (SC), Derrick Wells (FL)

K: Brandon Bogotay (CA) *
P: Michael Koenen (WA)
LS: None

( Note: As mentioned above, Bogotay came over in a post-draft trade for P Spencer Lanning.)*

Draft Approach: While I was tempted to jump on Alabama for Winston with my first pick, I simply had to get my pick of the remaining two of the big three, if for no other reason than roster depth. Texas was tempting thanks to Evans, Melton and Smith but I couldn't pass up Lavonte David and all the secondary depth I got from going with Florida. Rather than get another roster boost like New Jersey or Illinois with my second pick, I elected for Alabama and Winston. My third pick was Colorado, which not only gave me great receiver depth but also took a second quarterback off the board, forcing Andrew to pick Virginia next in order to lock down Glennon. I really had to hunt for defensive line depth after that, and it was hard to find.

Team Strengths: The offense could be dynamic if a very unproven offensive line can give Winston time to work. Not only is the WR trio of Jackson, Bell and Murphy likely to be more dynamic than my opponent's squad, but I think there's a chance that such rookies as Donteea Dye and Adam Humphries could produce if pressed into action. Likewise, the tight end trio of Seferian-Jenkins, Brandon Myers and Cameron Brate has the potential to produce big numbers. The Bucs' running back depth is such that, even with Martin and Sims on the other team, my group of James, Rainey and (maybe) Brown has talent, too. Elsewhere, I think the secondary is strong and deep. And I have Lavonte David, so there's that.

Team Weaknesses: There are more than a few, and it begins in the trenches. The defensive line is in decent hands in the middle with McDonald and Spence but I'm going to have to hope that English and Fatinikun can give me some kind of pressure from the outside. Beyond those four, the only reserves are undrafted rookies: Delaire, Young and Lyons. The offensive line boasts the top performer in that group over the last few years in Dotson, but is similarly inexperienced and shallow. The 2014 draft (Pamphile and Edwards) needs to pan out for me, especially with only Coughman and Warren as reserves. Punting could be a problem, not because of Koenen but because there is nobody to snap the football to him. And I'd like a little more linebacker depth. My special teams core will need to come from the secondary.

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