Bucs general manager Mark Dominik is on record saying he expects fourth-round draft pick Akeem Spence to start at nose tackle. Others have stated the Illinois product has a shot at cracking the starting lineup. But after some OTA practices, it seems he will in fact be the starter.
In Scott Reynolds’ Fab 5 on PewterReport.com, he writes that Spence will be the starting nose tackle for the Bucs. He also provides some information on the rookie that will help him earn the job.
The Bucs like his length, his strength and his quickness. He is a faster version of Roy Miller with longer arms and that is key because it gives Spence the ability to do something that Miller couldn’t do, which was pressure the pocket and get some heat on the quarterback. The team believed that Miller had trouble disengaging from offensive linemen and getting to the quarterback.
Spence had just 3.5 sacks in three years at Illinois, but Tampa Bay believes he can be a more effective nose tackle in the NFL lining up next to Pro Bowl three-technique tackle Gerald McCoy and perhaps contribute a few sacks each season if he really adheres to the teaching of defensive line coach Randy Melvin.
This comes as no surprise. In fact, I am on record saying that Akeem Spence will be the guy to watch heading into the season when I was a guest on the Charlie Bernstein Show.
Many may question why a fourth-rounder would get the starting job right away. But the Buccaneers have been giving Spence high praises since they drafted him.
(For the entire “Fab 5″ column from Scott Reynolds on PewterReport.com, click here. He also reflects on some great Ronde Barber moments as well as readdressing the Donald Penn weight-gate.)