Eleven players made their NFL regular-season debuts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. Rookie safety Javon Hagan could make it an even dozen on Sunday night.
The Buccaneers elevated Hagan along with inside linebacker Deone Bucannon and guard Ted Larsen from the practice squad on Saturday, making them eligible to play in the team's Divisional Round playoff game at New Orleans on Sunday. Hagen and Larsen were standard elevations while Bucannon was a COVID replacement for inside linebacker Kevin Minter, who remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Hagan could be the rare player who plays in a postseason game before ever seeing any regular-season action. He joined the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio University in May and has been on the practice squad all season. His first elevation of the season is likely due to veteran safety Andrew Adams being listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. In addition, starting safety Jordan Whitehead is also considered questionable after suffering a knee injury in practice.
Bucannon and Larsen were also predictable elevations given some depth issues at their respective positions. While Devin White returned from the COVID list this week, Kevin Minter switched places with him, leaving the team with only three inside linebackers on the active roster. If he is active for the game, Bucannon will join Jack Cichy as the two backups for White and Lavonte David.
Larsen will give the Buccaneers another option to back up the three interior offensive line spots with Aaron Stinnie now starting at right guard in place of the injured Alex Cappa. The Buccaneers also re-signed veteran lineman Earl Watford on Friday.
The option to elevate up to two players from the practice squad for each game is new in 2020 and not related to the roster rule revisions instituted this summer to help teams deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to those two options, teams can also elevate as many additional players as they currently have on the COVID list. In the playoffs, a player can be elevated an unlimited number of times. Bucannon, Hagan and Larsen will automatically revert to the Bucs' practice squad on Monday if the team remains alive in the playoffs.
The 11 players who have made their NFL debuts for the Buccaneers this season are outside linebacker Quinton Bell, defensive lineman Khalil Davis, outside linebacker Cam Gill, wide receiver Tyler Johnson, cornerback Herb Miller, cornerback Parnell Motley, defensive lineman Benning Potoa'e, inside linebacker Chapelle Russell, running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn, safety Antoine Winfield and offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Motley and Russell are no longer with the team.