Akeem Spence will go from the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft straight into the starting lineup, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparently expect the Illinois product to start right away at nose tackle:
Bucs GM Mark Dominik told Justin Palowski on 98.7 The Fan today that he expects Akeem Spence to be the Bucs starting NT this year.— Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) May 3, 2013
The Bucs obviously have one of their two defensive tackle spots filled: Gerald McCoy, the No. 3 pick in 2010, switched from nose tackle to the 3-technique back in 2011, and it paid off, as he earned a Pro Bowl selection this past year.
The nose tackle spot, on the other hand, was somewhat up in the air. Roy Miller, who started 14 games last year for Tampa Bay, moved to the Jaguars. They also have a pair of veterans, Derek Landri, signed this offseason after recording 18 tackles in seven starts for the Eagles last year, and Gary Gibson, who also had 18 tackles despite only starting one game for Tampa Bay.
But the Bucs invested somewhat in Spence, trading up to acquire him in the fourth round. When judging the Bucs' draft pick-by-pick, Sander Philipse of Bucs Nation referred to Spence as "a Roy Miller clone, a stocky, quick-twitch run defender who can excel in the Bucs' 4-3 defense as a tilted nose tackle," so they might not be losing much if the 6'1, 307-pounder can develop the run-clogging skills he occasionally displayed at Illinois.