After one week in camp there is no denying that Griffin is ahead of Trask on the depth chart, as well in snap counts. The rookie has shown flashes that prompted the Bucs to select him in the second round, but he has been inconsistent with his reads, throws and decision-making. You can chalk it up to being in his first NFL camp and getting used to pro level speed, but it’s been up-and-down for Trask, as expected.
While Griffin has had his struggles as well, he is seasoned in the offensive system. The upcoming preseason games will shed more light on Trask’s ability to command the offense in a game setting. While he is a lock to make the roster, he clearly needs more time to get adjusted to the pro game.
Billed as the biggest battle in camp, the competition has not disappointed. With nearly a 50/50 split in snaps with the first team, a clear winner has not emerged in the first week. It’s hard to gauge the running back position in training camp due to a lack of tackling. The preseason games will help determine who might get first down snaps once the season begins, but neither will play that much.
While both have caught the ball well, Fournette did struggle a bit during Monday’s practice. The veteran jumped offsides and logged two drops on the day. Although I feel the starting running back will be based mostly on matchups each week, there is a long way to go in this battle.
Darden has been quite impressive in camp. His quickness and first step off the line has beaten the likes of even Carlton Davis in camp. Darden will obviously make the final roster and looks certain to be active on game days as well.
Bucs WR Tyler Johnson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Once thought to be a near certain lock, there are questions about Johnson’s spot on the roster. Recently coach Bruce Arians called out the young receiver for coming into camp overweight. Johnson acknowledged the sentiment on Tuesday, saying that Arians was right to call him out. But Johnson has also been impressive during practices, making several impressive grabs each day. The numbers game at wide receiver could make it hard for Johnson to get a hat on game days without special teams contributions. Keep an eye on preseason action to see if Johnson can make an impact in that area.
Conversely, Mickens has looked improved as a receiver in camp, and has a history of special teams play. The Bucs top return man last season has been splitting duties at returner with Darden during camp. If Darden shows he is not quite ready for that role, the team could elect to keep Mickens. Even if Darden is ready, Mickens experience as a gunner could help convince the team to keep seven wide receivers.
Pushing the top candidates to fill out the wide receiver room are Grayson, Jonsen, Pearson and Simmons. All have made plays throughout camp. Grayson’s speed is something that Arians loves to have on the roster. That speed has shown up several times in camp with big plays.
A former quarterback, Jonsen has shown tremendous improvement as a wide receiver and was valuable on the scout team last year. Pearson and Simmons have made splash plays throughout camp, but much like Grayson and Jonsen, seem to be on the outside looking in.
Hudson has caught nearly everything thrown his way in camp. Benefitting from Cam Brate’s absence on the PUP list, he has been making the most of his opportunity. Working into the rotation, Adams had been a pleasant surprise in the battle for the fourth spot. McElroy has had a few standout practices as well.
When Rob Gronkowski had a maintenance day and O.J. Howard was still in the process of returning, McElroy had a nice day with several big receptions across the middle of the field, drawing praise from Gronkowski after practice. Hudson seems to have the inside track on the fourth spot if they intend on keeping four tight ends.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Brad Seaton, Nick Leverett, Sadarius Hutcherson, John Molchon
The backup offensive lineman competition early in camp looks like it’s down to two players vying for the ninth spot. Seaton is leading the way by getting snaps at both tackle spots. After opting out of last season due to COVID, the tackle has put together a solid start to camp.
Bucs G Sadarius Hutcherson – Photo courtesy of South Carolina
Second-year guard Leverett has been getting all his reps with the second unit at both guard spots. He has even seen some time at right tackle with the third unit and has not looked out of place. Leverett has also practiced at center during mini-camp, exhibiting versatility could prove useful to the team.
Behind them are guards Hutcherson and Molchon. Hutcherson, the team’s undrafted free agent signing, has seen some reps with the second unit, particularly in goal line work. Molchon has worked exclusively with the third unit.
With Bucs camp just getting underway there’s plenty of time to sway coaches opinions on who might make the final roster. Padded practices have just begun and preseason games are fast approaching. These are early observations from camp so far, and who might have the inside track at securing a roster spot on this stacked Bucs team. But the bulk of the competition is yet to come in Tampa Bay.
J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.