The first preseason game is almost here and there are many players Bucs fans should be keeping their eyes on
With the Bucs opening up their preseason in Tampa against the Pittsburgh Steelers in just a few short days, the excitement for the return of football is finally here. During the preseason, there are many camp battles that happen for positions and Tampa Bay is no different. Let’s highlight some players people should keep their eye out for on Friday night.
Well, I can’t not put this on the list right? Friday night will be the first time that Bucs fans will get to see Baker Mayfield in a Bucs uniform and will also get an even closer look at the QB battle between Mayfield and Kyle Trask, not to mention newcomer John Wolford.
The competition has been the talk of camp and will continue to be until an official starter is named so I won’t go into too much detail about it. It does appear that Baker Mayfield will start the game against the Steelers with the starting offense as per Pewter Report. They also reported that Kyle Trask would start the second preseason game against the New York Jets. This competition is just getting started, folks.
A Trio of Receivers
Throughout camp there has been a few receivers that have really impressed me. Of course Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but 2023 6th round pick Trey Palmer, undrafted free agent Rakim Jarrett and second year player Deven Thompkins have all flashed in camp as well. I am very curious to see how they hold up against competition that will likely be a bit more physical than what they have faced in practice to this point.
There is also something to be said about how a player performs when the lights are on in the stadium and it is an actual game situation. Palmer and Jarrett have flashed since the beginning of camp, but Thompkins has come on really strong recently and is making a serious case for a spot on the team not only due to his return ability in the punt return game, but his sure hands and splashy playmaking he has showcased as a receiver in practice. Tampa Bay might have a tough decision on their hands when it comes to which guys they want to keep in the receiver room.
OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka
I will admit, I am a fan of JTS. I still think he is a player that has a lot of talent and potential and was worth the 32nd overall pick. But I also have to be honest, JTS has not stood out to me as much as I would have liked. This is a critical, critical year for Tryon-Shoyinka as there is a lot of pressure on him to improve upon his 2022 campaign, which was underwhelming.
So I am looking for JTS to make a splash play or two on Friday and start to show the Bucs why he was the 32nd overall pick and was well worth that selection. Right now though, Tryon-Shoyinka needs to prove it before anyone can truly start to believe in him being a big impact player this season.
CB Carlton Davis
Davis may not play much, if at all in the preseason opener but if he does it is worth paying attention to. During camp thus far, Davis has been terrific in pass coverage and has not made life any easier for the Bucs QBs or WRs. The splash plays have always been something that was missing from Davis’ game, but he can make it up for it if he just blankets the opposing team’s top receiver.
Davis is just now entering his prime and it would be huge if Davis could become a lockdown corner for Tampa Bay in 2023.
The Bucs currently have a 90 man roster so there are way more intriguing players to look out for than just this list, but these guys on here all have something to prove and could play a key factor in whether or not the Bucs have success this upcoming season.
Welcome back, football. We missed you.