- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the start of training camp only a little more than a week away, let’s take a look at three Buccaneers who need to have big camps to make sure they’re in the starting lineup on opening day.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn: He will be one of the most closely watched players in camp. Clayborn’s a former first-round pick and still has upside. But his first three seasons have been nothing special. Maybe a new coaching staff can get more out of him. But Clayborn’s draft status means nothing to the current regime. The Bucs also will be looking at the likes of William Gholston, Da’Quan Bowers and Steven Means opposite free-agent pickup Charles Johnson. If one of them steps up, the starting job might not belong to Clayborn.
Middle linebacker Mason Foster: He’s the odds-on favorite to keep the starting job and call the defensive signals. But Foster first must show he can handle increased duties as a pass defender. Very quietly the team signed Dane Fletcher, who can play the middle. If Foster stumbles, Fletcher could end up starting.
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Unlike Clayborn and Foster, Seferian-Jenkins is wed to the current regime. He was a second-round draft pick and that alone should make him a strong candidate to be a starter on opening day. But Seferian-Jenkins had a unique offseason, and that’s why he needs a big training camp. Thanks to NCAA and NFL rules, Seferian-Jenkins wasn’t allowed to take part in the offseason program because of a rule that keeps players from taking part until their college's semester is over. The University of Washington, where Seferian-Jenkins played, is on a quarters system, and that got in the way. Seferian-Jenkins missed out on some valuable practice time and that could put him behind Brandon Myers, Luke Stocker and Tim Wright.