We are ten days out and counting from the opening of training camp in Tampa Bay. July 24th is the official report date for rookies and free agents. If you are to believe coach Bruce Arians, the Bucs are behind a lot of teams when it comes to preparations for the upcoming season.
For the first time, the Bucs are the hunted, and Arians wants to reverse that mentality with the Bucs. “I think for me I’m going to have to be harder; make sure that we stay the hunter and not the hunted. We’ve relaxed a lot already this spring. Teams are getting ahead of us right now, but I think we can catch up quickly.”
Arians had previously said that “I’m going to beat the shit out of them” during training camp to keep them from resting on their laurels.
Four rookies are a guaranteed lock to make this Bucs veteran-laden roster this season.
Linebacker Joe Tryon.
We have not seen many reps from Tryon and what he can do on the field due to his recovering from minor surgery during mini-camp and OTA’s.
Also, it will be close to two years since Tryon will have played in a competitive game. He opted out for his final season at Washington in 2020. His last gridiron game was in late 2019 against Boise State.
It will be tough, barring an injury, to break into a line-up that features four potential Pro Bowl-caliber players at linebacker. Shaq Barrett, and Jason Pierre-Paul man the outside, while Devin White and Lavonte David lockdown the inside.
Tryon’s best impact will be on special teams and possibly in a situational defensive role where the Bucs bring in an extra linebacker or two.
Quarterback Kyle Trask
You don’t take a quarterback in the second round to cut him or have him languish on the practice squad.
Trask was drafted because the Buccaneer organization thinks that Trask has the potential down the road to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
With Tom Brady retiring possibly after the 2022 season, the Bucs will need to have someone groomed and ready to take over at quarterback, and the Bucs are counting on that person to be Kyle Trask.
Trask will make the team as the third-string quarterback, with Blaine Gabbert again serving as the back-up to Brady.
It looks as if last year’s third-string quarterback Ryan Griffin is the odd-man-out. He may earn a spot on the practice squad or may end up wearing another uniform this fall.
Wide Receiver Jaelon Darden.
Darden makes this team primarily as a return man. It has been years since the Bucs have had a good return game, and Darden will bring back that element to the Bucs.
For more on Jaelon Darden, check out my piece here: https://borderfuelsports.com/wide-receiver-jaelon-darden-a-rookie-to-watch-this-season-in-tampa/
Linebacker KJ Britt
Britt is a linebacker that will make his mark on special teams. He is known for being a hard hitter, and that should serve him well in the return game.
Britt is better against the run than he is against the pass as a defender, so we could see Britt being used in certain defensive sets to guard against the run.
Those are the four rookies that I see making this roster and making minimal contributions. What rookies do you see making this Bucs roster in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.