Predicting the 53-man roster of your favorite team is a training camp tradition. But what if we took that a step further? How much do you really pay attention? Back again, this preseason series highlights three players throughout training camp – only you won't know who they are. Each week, there will be more clues and hints as to their identities as they progress through camp. See if you can figure it out before all is revealed September 7.
As we did last year, we'll be referring to our guys as Players A, B and C going forward. Let's start with some generic clues that pertain to all three:
-One player is a rookie.
-Two players are not the first of their name.
Player A: This is his first NFL training camp but he's not coming into it blind. He knows a little bit of what to expect. He made the move down to Tampa with the help of his girlfriend, who he says has been the one to help him the most in getting situated in his new home. Knowing the heat and humidity is different than what he was used to growing up, he took it upon himself to continue training in the same place he trained for the NFL Combine: Davie, Florida.
"I just decided to go down there and train in that little window or period of time before coming up here," Player A explained. "I already knew what the heat was about when I was training for the Combine down here."
Now that everyone is back, Player A has been able to get acquainted with his group for the first time. There were a lot of Zoom sessions and he even worked out a couple times on his own with another player in his position group who is going into his third season with the team.
"They're all cool dudes," said Player A. "I didn't realize how young [this group] was. It's just been cool meeting everybody because you hear a lot about them so actually being able to meet the people is a cool experience."
As far as off the field, he's like any other fresh out of college guy. His downtime includes a lot of screen time.
"I'm simple when I'm not training," Player A said with a grin. "I'm watching Netflix, playing video games or playing some type of sport outside of football." He mentioned the show he just finished watching was How to Get Away with Murder.
Any guesses? Let's move on.
Player B: Flying under the radar is probably the calling card of Player B. He comes from a non-assuming school, plays a non-assuming position and has an extremely chill, friendly, non-assuming demeanor. In fact, one of the only non-assuming things about him may be his size, which probably plays into his answer when asked what the biggest change to the building was from last year.
"Honestly, one of the biggest changes is kind of the whole eating process," said Player B. "The whole cafeteria is different. You have to either order it ahead of time through the app or you're just going through the line and there's a barrier between you and the food. The people are taking it out for you."
"Then you have to go sit outside and eat," he added.
Don't get him wrong, though. Player B is definitely happy to be back in the building. Staying in shape this offseason was no easy task and it wasn't because he didn't know what to do, it was a matter of finding where to do it. When you're a professional athlete, not just any place will do, after all.
"First, I was bouncing around all over the place trying to find a spot to work out at for me," said Player B. "At first, I was working out at the facility, then the facility got shut down. The moment the facility got shut down, I tried working out at my apartment complex – the weights didn't go up high enough in there. I ended up finding a place to work out at and so I go to work out there but that workout wasn't really for me, it was more so tailored to skill positions. It was cool to get some speed work and stuff like that but as far as actual strength, it wasn't what I needed. Then I ended up leaving there after a week and then my boy was like let's go try out this one spot. Then that was perfect. There were a couple of Bucs guys there, too."
One thing quarantine afforded Player B was to get back into his hobby of drawing. He's a huge anime fan and he and his cousin used to draw all the time growing up. His cousin even made a career out of it, but Player B tapered off when he got to college when he had to be more serious about football.
"I miss drawing, honestly," said Player B. "I just kinda hopped back into it. It's kind of like riding a bike. It's a little bumpy at first but you don't really lose it. Now I'm just trying to go even further with it."
You think you pay enough attention to players and their social media to make a guess at this one?
Player C: This guy isn't new to the team either, but he's in a new spot with a new position group this time around. He spent a lot of time this offseason getting into shape
"It's great to be back in the building. Offseason, not being able to come in early, your training starts becoming repetitive. You're working out by yourself but now you get to work out with the team all working toward one common goal. It's like a new energy. You're still training and still probably doing all the same things you were doing in the offseason but it's just a little bit better because you're doing it with a group of guys you plan on going to war with all year."
Player C had quite the offseason, though. Just a look at his workout schedule:
Mondays: Three a days (morning speed session, afternoon field session, late night lift)
Tuesdays: Upper body
Wednesdays: Two a days (field work)
Thursdays: Early morning workout then field work
Fridays: Work out with quarterbacks
Saturdays: Field work but off from lifting
Sundays: Off off
"My ultimate goal is to make the 53," said Player C. "It'd be my first time since I've been in the league making the team outright. That's my number one ultimate goal for sure. Second, I just want to be able to earn my position in multiple places – special teams, especially. And then being able to be used in multiple positions and ways. I'm just learning to handle all of that, which I know I can. But I just need to learn the ins and outs of all the things. I've been really focused on the details."
You think you know who that is? Come back next week for more clues.