Ever since the departures of some of the great Tampa Bay Buccaneers like Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, and Michael Bennett, Tampa Bay has been wanting a pass rush. So far, it has not vastly improved. If at all.
Coming into 2019 and a brand new defense led by Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp has given us a revival of sorts at the pass rush position. 2016 second round draft choice Noah Spence has been lights out thus far during training camp practices. The question is, can he stay healthy and translate this level of play during the season?
Noah Spence was a five star recruit coming out of high school and made a name for himself early on with his play on the field when he committed to Ohio State. Unfortunately, he also made a name for himself off the field and not in the best way. In 2014, Spence tested positive for banned substances and was suspended from playing in the Orange Bowl. To make matters worse, he failed yet another drug test later that year and was subsequently deemed ineligible to compete in the Big Ten. Permanently.
Knowing what his actions had led him to, Spence wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. In 2015, Spence transferred to Eastern Kentucky University to play out his remaining years before (thankfully) being eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft.
Life as Tampa Bay Buccaneer
In the brief three years that Noah Spence has spent in a Buccaneers uniform, he has participated in 34 games. Only three of those were games that he was penciled in as a starter. Despite the pre-draft and Senior Bowl hype, injuries have plagued the young talent ever since he entered the league. Nursing a dislocated shoulder halfway into his 5.5 sack rookie season, it appeared as though Spence wouldn’t return to 100%.
Camp Buzz and Outlook
Much to the joy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, Spence is showing up and leaving it all out on the field. Flashes of speed and power are showing up during camp and it’s leaving offensive lineman dizzy or on their backs. If Spence has finally found a groove, it could not have come at a better time. An ailing Jason Pierre-Paul is going to need someone to step up in his place. It appears that Spence is answering the call.