Saturday nights game against the Texans will be the last time this group of Bucs will have to put on tape for the coaches and other teams to evaluate. The Bucs are off until Thursday and rosters need to be trimmed down to 53 on Tuesday. For many the dream will end there. For some the promise of a potential practice squad is still within reach. The guys who are on the cusp of making the final 53 will really need to ball out on offense, defense and special teams to earn their spot on the roster.
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Seaton has a great opportunity in front of him as his biggest competition for the ninth spot on the offensive line, Nick Leverett will miss the game on the Reserve/Covid list. With another impressive showing he could swing the coaching staffs mind to keep an extra pure tackle as they are stronger at interior depth.
We know what he brings to the table as a receiver but this will be his last chance to show his improvement as a blocker. Without it, Hudson faces long odds to make the 53-man roster. He’ll also need to show out on special teams units. With multiple tight end needy teams, Hudson could be auditioning for other franchises Saturday night.
Mickens chances of making the roster are tied to Jaelon Darden’s ability as a returner. If Darden struggles and Mickens impresses, it could prompt the team to carry seven wide receivers. At the very least he can put out good tape and possibly be claimed off waivers by another team.
The four-year veteran is unexpectedly playing for a roster spot Saturday night. Although a solid special teams player with the Broncos, it hasn’t translated to this Bucs team. When signed in May it seemed like the fourth off-ball linebacker spot was Jones’ to win. But rookie K.J. Britt has pulled ahead in that competition this past week. There’s a possibility the Bucs keep five linebackers, which is what Jones is now fighting for.
Joining Jones in the competition for the fifth spot is Mr. Irrelevant, Grant Stuard. Stuard will need to really show improvement on his special teams units. He talked Thursday about the importance of showing improvement in both punt and kickoff return, utilizing the coaching techniques he’s received and using better leverage. If he can go and ball out on teams he could land that final spot in the linebacking group.
The former defensive tackle has been a bright spot in camp, improving each week at his new position. Ponder has shown good instincts for the position, although he’s limited in coverage. If the Bucs decide to keep 10 linebackers and Cam Gill is placed on IR, Ponder could find his way on the roster until Gill is healthy.
Brought in as a special teams ace over his five-year career, Hamilton has stood out in that area. He’s played mostly in the slot in camp and games, but the Bucs have a bunch of guys with the skill set to play inside. While Arians might want more of an outside corner, teams contributions will be the most important aspect in who wins the fifth corner spot. Another strong showing Saturday will work in Hamilton’s favor.
Delaney has come out of nowhere in this competition. After a quiet start to camp, Delaney has been making plays on defense and special teams. He’s also been playing outside, a position where the Bucs might need more depth. Delaney had an interception in the team’s first game, but it was negated due to a penalty. It’s going to be intriguing to watch the competition between Hamilton and Delaney as both vie for the final CB spot.
Much like Delaney, Cooper’s surge for a final spot at safety has come in the past week or two. Cooper was praised by Arians after the Titans game for his special teams work. Not as strong a player at safety, he’ll really need to show up in multiple teams units to beat Javon Hagan for the final spot.
Hagan has a pretty good hold on this spot although Cooper will challenge him on special teams. Hagan is a better safety and has shown more versatility by playing both safety spots. His year in the Bucs system already gives him a leg up in the competition. He is going into the game with the right mindset and will need to stay focused and control the things he can to make his final bid to make the initial roster.
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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.
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