Earlier this week Bleacher Report’s Scott Smith reported five players on the Buccaneers roster that shouldn’t be overlooked. While it was an interesting read, a few of his choices had me scratching my head a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, a player must have brought brought something to the table to be able to make the 53 man roster. At the same time, its up in the air if a player like S Keith Tandy (#3 on Smith’s list) will be a huge impact in 2016. Instead of players that shouldn’t be overlooked per se, let’s look at three players on the roster that I feel can and will be an X factor for Tampa. These are in no particular order
#1 TE Cameron Brate
Brate was #2 on Scott Smith’s list, and given his production in 2015 and during the OTA’s, I can see why. He filled in quite nicely in the nine-game absence of starter Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, raking in 23 catches and three touchdowns. Speaking of Sefarian-Jenkins, after being sent home last week during OTA’s, things seemed a little shaky between him and Coach Dirk Koetter. The talks have died down some, and its unclear all the details that were involved. For now, Brate is the backup at the spot for now, but look for an expanded role for him if there’s another blowup with ASJ.
#2 WR Adam Humphries
Another standout in OTA’s and practice, the Harvard product is looking to become a secret weapon for the Bucs. At just 5’11”, Humphries was primarily used as a slot in 2015, catch 27 passes for 260 yards and one score. Rumor is Mike Evans has improved on his pass catching, and Vincent Jackson has been up and down missing days of practice. This sort of opens things up for the second-year receiver. Jameis Winston is no Tom Brady (yet), but I get the feeling that Adam Humphries could be the next Julian Edelman. If this is the case, it would open things up even more for Evans and Jackson.
#3 S Brad McDougald
The talk going into OTA’s and minicamp has been all about the defensive line, and rightfully so. But the question mark last year was mainly focused on the defensive backfield. While the DB unit was an anomaly for the most part, Brad McDougald was one of the bright spots. He started 15 out of the 16 games in 2015, compared to only starting five games in 2014. during last year’s campaign, he racked in 87 total tackles with 4 passes defended and two picks, one of which was a game saver against Dallas. There is a little uncertainty in the backfield (hint, hint Chris Conte), but the sky can be the limit for “Scottish Thunder”.
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