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Three Players to Watch With Pads Coming On for the Buccaneers

There's a difference, especially for these three Bucs to watch as the team takes it up a notch.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are putting pads on this week, and it means there are a few things to watch - and some players with something to prove - as the team advances to the next phase of preparations. 

JAELON DARDEN

Reports of Darden having a strong training camp in the first week are promising, but they don't mean much until the pads come on and a threat of contact becomes part of the equation. 

Darden was the final receiver who made my initial 53-man roster with seven of them making it, but that was also before Julio Jones arrived. 

Now, the group is even more crowded, and the competition stiffer. 

Is Darden's special teams ability enough to warrant a roster spot by himself? We'll find out if he can't continue his good looks on offense this week. 

READ MORE: Jaelon Darden a Breakout Candidate in 2022?

OFFENSIVE LINE

The loss of Ryan Jensen is real and significant, but it's not a death sentence.

Robert Hainsey and Nick Leverett plan to show the Bucs they don't need a veteran addition and can be confident moving forward with the men on roster. 

But if we're being real, it's hard to truly evaluate the offensive line as a unit before the pads come on and the full abilities to block and pass rush are unlocked. 

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Without compromising the safety of the quarterbacks, if I'm a coach in Tampa Bay, I'm telling my defense to bring as much heat as they can to test my Jensen replacements.

RACHAAD WHITE

As a rookie running back who isn't expected to become the next lead back for your team it can be an uphill battle towards grabbing carries in the regular season. 

For White, the absence of a true No. 2 behind Leonard Fournette gives him the opportunity towards earning more action than most third-round picks can anticipate. 

The former Sun Devils standout has the tools to be a three-down back, and that's important for the Buccaneers to avoid 'Charles Sims Syndrome' where opposing defenses can key in on a limited spread of plays when certain backs are on the field. 

Will White take full advantage and keep Ke'Shawn Vaughn at the bottom of the depth chart? The real evaluations begin this week. 

An all-offensive watch list as pads come one, but that shouldn't be a big surprise given the recent news and depth situation on the Bucs roster. 

READ MORE: Falcons Putting Up A Fight

Defensive players still aren't typically going full speed against their offensive teammates, and the more stars are on the field, the more careful they need to be. 

That being said, Tampa Bay's defenders will certainly look to give the other side of the ball as good a look as possible, making this next phase of preseason preparation just a little more exciting than the last. 

For more on this and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers check out James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!