Positional battles have been ongoing since the beginning of training camp. Some battles are determining starting jobs, while others determine the final 53-man roster. Two positional battles that have really begun to take shape over the last week or so are cornerback and wide receiver.
First, let’s take a look at a player on offense who needs to show up tonight.
The battle for the fifth receiver spot is likely coming down to BoBo Wilson and Justin Watson. Last week, Watson had a big game and Wilson was forced to sit out due to injury. Those were crucial snaps for BoBo to miss, so it is imperative that he makes up for lost time tonight. He needs to show the coaching staff that he is a more well rounded receiver than Watson and that he can make significant contributions to the offense this season. You could argue that this game is more important to Wilson then anyone else on the roster.
Watson could strengthen his hold on the fifth receiver spot if he has another really good game tonight. Both players will probably get the opportunity to play a lot of snaps with Jameis Winston.
On the defensive side of the ball, it is very important that Vernon Hargreaves III has a solid game and proves to the coaching staff that he should be the starting nickel cornerback. After missing the game last week and watching his potential replacement M.J. Stewart force 2 fumbles, the pressure is on Hargreaves.
Both Stewart and fellow rookie Carlton Davis have been impressive up to this point and have shown flashes of starter potential. Hargreaves did get off to a good start in camp before injuring his groin, so hopefully he returns to that form tonight. If he plays with the confidence and swagger that got him drafted 11th overall, he will be just fine.