Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Friday, May 13, 2011

Post-2011 Draft Young Core Offense

To build this chart of the Young Core Offense, I took the most recent Buccaneers roster and sorted all the offensive players with four years of experience or less (because the average NFL player has a 3.5 year career) by position, then by years of experience (in parenthesis).  This provides a glimpse of the "core" of the offense -- these are the players who will determine Tampa Bay's playoff fortunes for the next four years or so:

2011 Draft Choices are in bold italics and some position assignments are a best guess.

QB:  Josh Johnson (3), Josh Freeman (2), Rudy Carpenter (2)
RB:  Kareem Huggins (2), LeGarrette Blount (1), Allen Bradford (0)
FB:  Kregg Lumpkin (2), Erik Lorig (1)

XWR:  Micheal Spurlock (4), Mike Williams (1), Dezmon Briscoe (1), Ed Gant (1)
YWR:  Sammie Stroughter (2), Arrelious Benn (1), Preston Parker (1)
TE:  Ryan Purvis (2), Nathan Overbay (1), Luke Stocker (0), Daniel Hardy (0)

RT:  James Lee (3), Marc Dile (1)
RG: Derek Hardman (1), Brandon Carter (1)
C:  Jeremy Zuttah (3)
LG:  Ted Larsen (1), John Malecki (1)
LT:  Demar Dotson (2), Barker, Will (1)

P:  Robert Malone (1)

GM Mark Dominik added his third running back in three drafts to this board, keeping that pipeline full (and adding some heft).  The tight end position is the oldest on the team and was in need of young talent -- can Kellen Winslow and John Gilmore give these young players time to mature?

The influx of offensive linemen from the waiver wire last season assures Tampa Bay when their current, aging offensive line starts to tap out there will be someone there to step in.  With LG Davin Joeseph, C Jeff Faine, and RT Donald Penn under hefty contracts, it's interesting that Tampa Bay did not draft along the offensive line this season.  Partly, that could be a matter of who was (or was not) available.  It may also be a gamble on the part of Dominik, who may think the new collective bargaining agreement (whenever completed, post-lockout) will look similar to the prior CBA, allowing him to use franchise tags and matching offers to keep his veteran line in place in front of Josh Freeman.  It could be a solid one-year gamble: with Ted Larsen at the front of the line at left guard and James Lee ascending to the starting position at right tackle last season Dominik may be able to sign some "final contracts" or, if need be, trim some cost from the roster.  Youth is on the doorstep up front.

It's not even worth talking about the wide receiver talent on this team.  Anything I could say would fall short anyway.  This is as exciting a group as there is anywhere in the NFL and expectations should remain high for years to come.  These guys can deliver.

And, of course, quarterback is rock solid.

The one thing the Buccaneers may be looking for is a long snapper, but most likely can grow one from within the current squad of offensive linemen.

29 men represented on this roster.  In some places, depth of only two young players works out fine.  In others, such as wide receiver, the competition will be fierce at a very high level.  This is exactly what Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris have been talking about since day 1: put young talent on the field, let them compete, and carve out a team each week of the top performers.

Looks like the offense is right where it should be.

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