- The Athletic’s Greg Auman projected Tampa Bay’s final 53-man roster after their first preseason game. Auman believes that the team will carry three quarterbacks heading into the season with QB Kyle Trask having an impressive debut in his sophomore campaign and QB Blaine Gabbert still expected to hold on to the backup job behind QB Tom Brady.
- As of now, Auman thinks Tampa Bay will likely hold on to four running backs as second-round RB Rachaad White was the most impressive of the bunch behind workhorse RB Leonard Fournette. Veteran RB Giovani Bernard is locked into a third-down/pass-catching role and RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a 2020 third-round pick that still has time to develop.
- Wide receiver is where things get tricky for the Bucs, per Auman, simply because they have a lot of great depth to go along with high-end talent at the top of the depth chart. He writes WR Mike Evans, WR Chris Godwin, WR Julio Jones, WR Russell Gage and WR Tyler Johnson are all virtual locks to make the roster.
- He adds the sixth wide receiver spot is likely to go to one of the primary return specialists in WR Jaelon Darden or undrafted rookie WR Deven Thompkins.
- That leaves a cluster of roster-worthy players still competing for the seventh spot if Tampa Bay elects to carry seven. Among the players fighting for the final spot are WR Breshad Perriman and WR Scotty Miller. Auman predicts Tampa Bay will look to trade Miller to a wide receiver-needy team for a late-round draft selection since he doesn’t play special teams and the final spot will go to Thompkins.
- If the team takes seven wide receivers on their final roster, Auman thinks there’s room for just three tight ends, with TE Kyle Rudolph, TE Cameron Brate and second-round TE Cade Otton the finalists. Undrafted TE Ko Kieft might make more sense as a practice squad target.
- Auman points out all signs seem to indicate the Bucs have some hope C Ryan Jensen can return at some point this season, so the team will need to carry him initially on their 53-man roster, then place him on injured reserve a day later.
- He adds he expects the Buccaneers to carry nine linemen, with four starting positions locked up and two players battling for the starting left guard job. With OL Josh Wells entrenched as the swing tackle and OL Nick Leverett in play at both center and guard, that leaves one spot for either OL Fred Johnson or OL Brandon Walton.
- Auman notes undrafted rookie LB Olakunle Fatukasi has performed well enough that the team doesn’t want to risk losing him. He thinks he’ll stick as the fifth linebacker behind top backup LB K.J. Britt and key special teamer LB Grant Stuard.
- In the secondary, Auman points out the Buccaneers have a lot of flexibility with their safeties being able to play nickel. The top four corners and top four safeties are locked in, with CB Dee Delaney potentially the favorite for the fifth and final spot at corner since he made the team in that capacity last year. He’ll be challenged by S Troy Warner and UDFA S Nolan Turner, however.
- Bucs HC Todd Bowles announced OLB Cam Gill is dealing with a Lisfranc injury. (Jenna Laine)
- Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin has ramped up from individual drills to 7-on-7 drills over the last few days as he continues to recover from knee surgery. (Auman)
- Panthers C Bradley Bozeman left practice with a lower leg injury on Tuesday, according to the team. (David Newton)
- Panthers HC Matt Rhule said first-round OT Ikem Ekwonu will be the team’s starting left tackle from this point on. (Doug Kyed)
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