NFC South: Dan Buenning

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

In an afternoon of twists and turns in Tampa Bay, we now can say the Bucs have recouped the 2009 sixth-round draft pick they gave up months ago in a trade for backup quarterback Brian Griese.

My earlier report that the trade of offensive lineman Dan Buenning from the Bucs to the Bears was for a 2009 seventh-round choice was off a bit. A league source said the trade definitely is for a sixth-round pick in 2009 and that it's the pick the Bucs originally held.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

BuenningMahan

Busy afternoon for the Bucs. In essence, they just traded offensive lineman Dan Buenning for offensive lineman Sean Mahan. But, in reality, it was more complicated than that.

First, the Bucs traded a seventh-round pick in 2009 to the Steelers for Mahan. Then, they turned around and traded Buenning to Chicago for a 2009 seventh-round pick. (Officially, the Bucs are saying both trades involve an undisclosed draft pick. But league sources said each trade involves a 2009 seventh-round pick.)

Mahan, who previously played for Tampa Bay, was expendable after losing his starting center job to Justin Hartwig. Mahan can play guard or center and the Bucs were thin on interior depth with starting guard Davin Joseph likely out for at least a month with a broken foot.

Rookie Jeremy Zuttah is expected to start in Joseph's place, but Mahan will give the Bucs a solid backup and flexibility on the interior.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

There's one common theme to this morning's roundup. A lot of rookies and young players will get a chance to step into bigger roles in this week's preseason games.

PANTHERS

It looks like rookie running back Jonathan Stewart will work with the first team in Saturday's preseason game against Washington. DeAngelo Williams started the first two games as Stewart dealt with a toe injury. But the Panthers didn't use their top pick on Stewart to have him sit on the bench.

FALCONS

The Falcons may give rookie linebacker Curtis Lofton a start when they play their third preseason game. That makes sense because the Falcons also are starting quarterback Matt Ryan. They can put their offense and defense into the hands of rookies at the same time.

BUCCANEERS

Rookie Jeremy Zuttah is expected to start at right guard with Davin Joseph out with a broken foot. Veteran Dan Buenning also can play this spot, but the Bucs prefer to keep him as the top backup for all the interior positions. Zuttah, who also can play center, had an outstanding training camp.

SAINTS

With Hollis Thomas out with an injury, Orien Harris looks like he'll factor into the team's plans at defensive tackle.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas.

Just days after getting rid of veteran tackle Luke Petitgout, the Bucs took another hit to their plans for the offensive line.

Starting guard Davin Joseph has undergone surgery for a broken foot and will be out for an extended period. That's a big blow to an offensive line the Bucs had been hoping would be dramatically improved this year.

Donald Penn, who is adequate at best, has taken over Petitgout's position. The loss of Joseph leaves the Bucs with a tough decision. Rookie Jeremy Zuttah worked in that spot with the first team today. Zuttah was expected to be the backup center and he had a very strong training camp.

The Bucs may decide to throw Zuttah in and let him sink or swim. The alternative is veteran Dan Buenning. But Buenning also can play center and the Bucs may want to keep him as an experienced backup for all three spots in the middle.

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