Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter 2017 camp enjoying rare national spotlight

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open training camp on July 28 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. Here's a closer look at the Bucs camp:

Top storyline: After finishing 9-7 last season and being chosen for HBO's "Hard Knocks" for the 2017 season, the Bucs are getting rare national attention, and even consideration for the NFC South title. Snagging wide receiver DeSean Jackson in free agency and tight end O.J. Howard in the draft has upped expectations for a team that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2007 -- tied for the fourth-longest streak in the NFL. Can the Bucs handle life under the microscope? Can quarterback Jameis Winston take the next step in that all-too-crucial third year as a starting quarterback? The team is giving him every opportunity to succeed with a ton of new weapons.

QB depth chart: The Bucs signed Ryan Fitzpatrick late this offseason to replace Mike Glennon as the backup QB, giving the team much-needed experience behind Winston. This is the first time in Winston's NFL career that he'll have a true veteran helping him. After that, the Bucs will have to make a decision regarding Ryan Griffin, who has been their third quarterback the past two seasons but has yet to take a regular-season snap. They carried three quarterbacks on the active roster last season, but coach Dirk Koetter has said he is leaning toward two.

Bubble watch: The Bucs have more depth at a number of key positions than they have had in the past. At nickel cornerback, Robert McClain was brought in to compete with Jude Adjei-Barimah and Javien Elliott, who started 10 and five games last season, respectively. There are also a number of receivers vying for the fifth and final spot behind Jackson, Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and rookie Chris Godwin; Donteea Dye, Bernard Reedy, Josh Huff, Freddie Martino and Derel Walker look like the most serious contenders. Special-teams ability will play a big role in determining that final spot.

That rookie could start: Howard took mostly second-team reps during mandatory minicamp but should get more work with the starters in training camp. It really isn't a matter of him "beating out" Cameron Brate as a starter -- it's more like 1A and 1B. They have different roles in this offense, with Brate serving as a pass-catcher, while Howard lines up as both a run-blocker and a receiver. Look for more two-tight-end sets this season to showcase their talents. Howard also has the size to be able to catch passes across the middle in traffic, something the Bucs' offense has been sorely lacking.

D-line health concerns: The Bucs had a number of players sidelined this offseason, so health will be a concern, especially along the defensive line. Two of their top pass-rushers, Jacquies Smith and Noah Spence, have not taken a snap this offseason because of injuries. Smith has been rehabbing a torn ACL and Spence had surgery to repair a torn labrum. George Johnson missed all of last season because of a fractured hip. At safety, rookie Justin Evans, a second-round draft pick, missed mandatory minicamp and several OTAs because of an undisclosed injury, and Adjei-Barimah also has been sitting out. Rookie running back Jeremy McNichols continues to recover from shoulder surgery.

Kicking competition: There will be a kicking battle, and it will carry into the preseason. The Bucs signed veteran Nick Folk to compete with 2016 second-round draft pick Roberto Aguayo. The two participated in friendly contests throughout the offseason, with both drilling kicks from 50-plus yards on the final day of minicamp. Folk went 27-of-31 (87.1 percent) on field goals last season. Aguayo struggled, making 22-of-31 (71 percent), the lowest percentage of any kicker in the league. Folk's ability from 40-plus yards, an area of concern for Aguayo, could ultimately be the difference-maker. Folk went 3-for-3 on field goals from 40 to 49 yards, tied for best in the league, while Aguayo went 4-of-10.

For daily updates at camp, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clubhouse page.