The Buccaneers took defensive end Noah Spence in the second round of last year’s draft and got a solid year out of him, with 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. But this year they’re expecting a lot more than just “solid.”
Spence played through a shoulder injury last year, but he had surgery to repair the injury immediately after the season and now says he’s going to be in better shape in his second season. Spence weighed in at 251 pounds at last year’s Scouting Combine but says he has now lost about 10 pounds while actually gaining muscle.
Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports that teammate Robert Ayers is so impressed with what Spence is showing this offseason that he said Spence could be “a 15-plus sack guy” in 2017. Teammate Gerald McCoy added that Spence is ready for a “breakout year.”
No one has ever doubted Spence’s talent. He was viewed as a future first-round pick at the start of his college career at Ohio State, but he got kicked off the team for failed drug tests and finished his college career at Eastern Kentucky. The questions about Spence have always been off the field, but Spence now sounds like he’s doing everything right there, including giving up fast food and every liquid other than water.
“I feel so much better,” Spence said.
The Bucs have to feel very good about the possibilities for a healthy and in-shape Spence in 2017.