TRAINING CAMP IS IN FULL EFFECT, BUCS NATION!
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off their 2022 Training Camp in a big way signing both tight end Kyle Rudolph and wide receiver Julio Jones just before it opened. Those moves meant that some guys on this team might have a tougher hill to climb to make this roster. Especially at wide receiver. So it got me thinking about which training camp position battles I’m excited to watch this year. I came up with five different scenarios that should be highly competitive and will have a big impact on the final 53-man roster decisions.
With Ryan Jensen’s injury looking like it’s going to be a long-term thing, the Bucs will need to figure out how to TRY to replace him. I’m not sure that they can, but they have to do something. Robert Hainsey and Nick Leverett are getting an opportunity to make a case for themselves, but so far it’s not looking too promising. The Bucs like both guys a lot and Hainsey was drafted in the third round last year to eventually replace Jensen at center, but I’m not sure they like either of them enough to bet this season on it. I have a feeling that Jason Licht will be looking outside the organization for a free agent veteran center to bring in as their new starter. A guy like JC Tretter makes a ton of sense. He’s one of the best pass blocking centers in the league and he’s still available. The Bucs might let the two youngsters battle it out for a while, but I expect Tretter to be flying into Tampa soon.
2. Left Guard
When Ali Marpet shocked all of us and retired early a few months ago, it left a BIG void to fill on that o-line. The Bucs are saying that the position is wide open, but it should really come down to one of two players. Aaron Stinnie has had some starting experience with this team when he was thrust into the starting role at right guard for their 2020 playoff run after Alex Cappa got injured and he played pretty well. This year, the Bucs drafted Luke Goedeke in the second round with the intention of him being the new starting left guard. As of right now, Stinnie is taking the first-team reps in camp, but keep an eye on Goedeke in this situation. He could make things really interesting during camp.
This one may simply come down to dollar, dollar bills y’all. Both kickers are having a great camp so far. I think Succop has missed one kick, while Borregales has missed two, both banging off of the upright. If the Bucs need to create some cap space, they could choose to release Succop and his $4.5 million price tag and go with the youngster. After all, that’s what they did with their punter. But if they’re not in a financial pinch and don’t need the money, then these two will be kicking for the job all camp. It’ll be interesting to see who wins.
4. 3rd Down Back
Even though Leonard Fournette is now considered a legitimate three-down back, the Bucs will still be looking for a true third-down back as well. Last season, Giovanni Bernard played that role a little bit. This year, Jason Licht drafted Rachaad White to take over that role. So far, he has not been disappointed. In fact, Bernard could be in danger of not making this roster at all by the end of camp if this rookie keeps playing like he has been.
5. Wide Receiver
With the signing of Julio Jones, the Bucs already crowded receiver room got even more so. Mike Evans said that this is hands down the best receiver group, from top to bottom, that he’s ever been a part of and I believe him. Evans, Godwin, Jones, Gage, Perriman, Miller, Johnson, Grayson, Darden…and that’s just the top nine guys. They have 14 players competing for six, maybe seven spots. And with the top four spots at least being sewn up (Evans, Godwin, Jones & Gage), that leaves ten players battling for two or possibly three spots on the roster. It’s going to be fun to watch!
Too much talent. Is that even possible? It’s a good “problem” to have and this 2022 Buccaneers roster definitely has it. There’s talent at just about every position on this football team and there are going to be some really good football players that don’t make the cut. There are 90 guys in training camp. Only 53 will make the active roster, with another 16 going to the practice squad. That means that there will be 21 players who won’t have a job here in Tampa Bay at the end of training camp. It’s going to be interesting to see who those 21 players will be.
Until then, as always… GO BUCS!!!