Even though people usually couldn’t care less about the fourth preseason game, there is still something to be said for the players that will be on the field tonight.
Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht recently stated that they have about 98% of the depth chart figured out. That has to be relieving to some players while absolutely terrifying to others.
Which player stands to lose out on a bad performance tonight and which one can make the roster with a big game?
Player with the most to lose - RB Shaun Wilson
Wilson has had a great camp and has shown why the coaching staff has talked him up during the summer. With Charles Sims heading to IR, Wilson hasn’t had a better chance than now to make the active roster.
But Dare Ogunbowale has made some plays during the preseason as well. If Wilson has a bad night or succumbs to injury, then Ogunbowale could fill the fourth running back spot or the Bucs could decide to carry three backs into the season and use Wilson’s potential roster spot elsewhere.
How many running backs do the Bucs’ plan on carrying for the season? They came into 2017 with just three on the roster, which doesn’t bode well for Wilson. Tampa Bay will be forced to carry three quarterbacks into the season due to Jameis Winston’s suspension and that also takes away a potential roster spot for Wilson.
Injuries in both the offensive and defensive trenches will affect Koetter’s and Licht’s decision as to how many backs they need as well.
Despite all of the outside factors, it appears that Wilson is safe, but a bad night will most likely leave him on the outside looking in.
Player with the most to gain - T Brad Seaton
Tampa Bay’s injuries at offensive tackle have been well documented. While that is never a good thing, it does allow for more evaluations on the backups.
When called upon, Seaton has done a pretty good job at filling in this season. One would think he would get the start tonight at right tackle for Demar Dotson, who obviously won’t be playing.
There still hasn’t been any word on when Leonard Wester will return from injury and while it wouldn’t be crazy to see Donovan Smith on the field in week one, the Bucs will most likely carry an extra tackle into the season.
Evan Smith’s and Ali Marpet’s versatility also helps in regards to the fact that the Bucs won’t need to carry many backup guards - or a center.
This leaves the door wide open for Seaton. If the youngster comes out and dominates against Jacksonville’s backups, then he should be a lock for the roster.
That’d be a major accomplishment for a 7th-round draft pick who is already on his second team in as many years.