PFF picks their breakout candidate for Bucs in 2024

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had quite a rookie presence in 2023, with 13 rookies on their initial 53-man roster. And while that came with inexperience at times during the season, the team was still able to win the NFC South and win a playoff game in 2023.

As such, with that many rookies, some of them could be primed to have a breakout year in 2024. Pro Football Focus writer Jonathon Macri put together a list of potential breakout players for every NFL team in 2024, and for the Bucs, he went with one of those rookies in 2023 — linebacker SirVocea Dennis.

Here is what Macri wrote about Dennis and his potential for next season:

Perhaps this is a really deep sleeper pick for a breakout player in Tampa Bay, but the Buccaneers are more than likely going to be without Devin White, who played over 900 defensive snaps for the team this past season and is set to hit free agency in 2024. And depending on if Lavonte David wants to sign another one-year deal with the team, it’s possible that he could also be gone, leaving a massive hole at linebacker. While Dennis was a fifth-round pick in 2023, he also earned elite PFF run-defense grades in his final college season (92.1), which could be a strength for the team to lean on even if it wants to use him as a sub-package option. He only played 104 defensive snaps as a rookie, with his best PFF grade coming in coverage (72.6) — something that wasn’t necessarily a strength for him in college, so that is somewhat encouraging to see.

It’s definitely likely that the Bucs will move on from Devin White in 2024, and Dennis could step into that role going forward. As mentioned, that would also depend on what LB Lavonte David wants to do, as if he were to retire or move on to another team, Dennis would have to step up as the second linebacker in Bowles’ system.

In 2023, Dennis played in 13 games at both linebacker and special teams. He ended the year with 11 solo tackles and one pass defended.

Dennis had a notable showing at rookie minicamp and then in training camp, but it didn’t necessarily translate with how little he played in 2023. There’s potential for him alongside LB K.J. Britt, but if David comes back for another go-around, this might be a bit of a tough ask.

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire