4 sneaky threats the Panthers should watch vs. the Bucs in Week 10
By Dean Jones
Rakeem Nunez-Roches – DT
Rakeem Nunez-Roches is the overlooked member of the Buccaneers’ defense. They don’t ask a lot from him given the wealth of talent around the nose tackle, but that does not detract from what a key component he is to their scheme now.
The player stepped into the breach when starter Vita Vea was ruled out for the season, and he’s performed well on the whole. There are some obvious limitations regarding Nunez-Roches’ talent, but he clogs up space extremely well on the interior which is all the Bucs really need.
They have the likes of Ndamukong Suh, William Gholston, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Shaquil Barrett to generate pressure in the backfield. So if Nunez-Roches can occupy blockers and play a role in running downs, he is going to make a big difference.
The former sixth-round pick has started 20 games over his six-year career – three of which were spent in Kansas City – and this represents a solid opportunity to prove he is more than just a rotational piece in a jigsaw.
It’s going to be difficult for the Carolina Panthers to run on the Bucs, who are the NFL’s most formidable units in this category through nine weeks of the season. Nunez-Roches’ influence has grown steadily in recent weeks and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him make his presence felt at Bank of America Stadium.