View exclusive photos of the Buccaneers' 2018 Training Camp from Team Photographer Kyle Zedaker
1. Shaun Wilson
Really this is again Shaun Wilson against Dare Ogunbowale in a battle for the last running back spot on the 53-man roster – assuming the Bucs keep four. Wilson had a great game last Friday not only on the ground but on special teams as well. He averaged 26 yards per kickoff return, getting the chance five times. Three of those went over 30 yards. Proving your worth on special teams is critical for bubble players and Wilson has done just that. Ogunbowale only got one chance on a kickoff return, where he took it out 21 yards which is still nothing to snuff at. He also seems to have the upper hand in the receiving game. During Week 2 of the preseason against the Titans, it was Ogunbowale who hauled in a 38-yard pass. It does seem that Wilson is getting more touches overall and it will be up to him in the preseason finale to solidify himself.
2. Freddie Martino
We've talked all preseason long about the depth the Bucs have in the wideout room. Freddie Martino is in that mix and has been since 2016. He's served enough time on the Bucs' active roster that he does not qualify to be kept on the practice squad in 2018. It's active roster or bust, essentially. Martino helped his cause against the Lions, scoring a touchdown on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Griffin. He could certainly set himself apart with some more playing time Thursday night and having a few more of those catches.
3. Jack Cichy
The rookie linebacker's first meaningful snap in a game since 2016 came during Week 1 of the preseason with the Bucs. Cichy has been working all offseason and now into preseason camp to get back to 100 percent following a knee injury that sidelined him all of last year. Early in camp, his knee brace came off and Head Coach Dirk Koetter acknowledged there was a little bit of a transitionary period for Cichy now playing without the reinforcement. But in the end Koetter said Cichy has looked good and it showed last Friday. The Wisconsin-produce had six combined tackles, five of which were solo. With linebacker Kendell Beckwith's timetable to return from his injury uncertain, there is room for Cichy to step up. He'll have to contend with more experienced linebackers like Cam Lynch and even Riley Bullough, the latter of which was in a boot this past week, which could also help Cichy's cause.
4. Tanner Hudson
We know the wide receiver group is deep – but so is the tight end room. You have veteran Cameron Brate leading the pack, fresh off a new contract that solidifies him for quite a few years to come. You have human-highlight reel O.J. Howard, who's playmaking ability has become routine in camp. But then you also have the resident-Canadian Antony Auclair, Alan Cross and Austin Johnson ahead of you – all with their variety of skillsets. Still, Hudson is a guy that has made plays all throughout camp. He's made some tough catches in practices and plays extremely physical. In last week's game against the Lions, he had two catches for 34 yards. His first was a 15-yard catch over the middle from quarterback Ryan Griffin that began a drive that ended in the aforementioned Freddie Martino touchdown. He should get plenty of work Thursday night and could make his case for the Bucs to keep an extra tight end given his apparent upside.
5. Pat O'Connor
No one is talking about defensive end Pat O'Connor and it's a shame. He's had a great camp. Especially given the injuries to the defensive line, O'Connor has stepped up. He had a half sack of Miami quarterback Brock Osweiler, sharing with defensive end Noah Spence on the effort. He also had two combined tackles that came, which has been a pretty consistent tally for him. He did get a little banged up the other week but has returned to practice and will be looking to make his case for the Bucs to elevate him to the active roster this season. He was a member of the team's practice squad for part of 2017 before being promoted to the active roster at the end of November last year.