Buccaneers undrafted free agent may have just locked in roster spot

Olakunle Fatukasi, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Olakunle Fatukasi, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have found a diamond in the brought, as undrafted free agent Olakunle Fatukasi now has an excellent shot of making the Buccaneers’ final 53-man roster based on his performances.

While NFL training camp and preseason are a time for established starters to get their reps in and regain their sea legs, it’s also a time for some players to prove that they belong in the starting lineup, and in a lot of cases, prove they belong on an NFL roster at all. These “bubble players” are almost exclusively undrafted free agents, and while fans may not care for preseason football much because it “doesn’t mean anything”, don’t tell that to these players since they will amp up the hunger and effort to 1000 in their efforts to make the final 53-man rosters. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been finding that out firsthand.

The Buccaneers may have a diamond in the rough on their hands in the form of one of these undrafted free agents.

A case can easily be made that Olakunle Fatukasi was the best player on the field, not just for the Bucs but between them and the Tennessee Titans. Granted, it was an ugly game, but that’s beside the point.

Fatukasi, the undrafted linebacker by way of Rutgers, was flying all around the field, and constantly around the ball. You didn’t have to look hard to find #53 because he practically jumped out of the screen.

Fatukasi lead all players, Bucs and Titans alike, in tackles with ten total, and 1.5 sacks. His five solo tackles were second to fellow undrafted linebacker J.J. Russell’s six, who had himself a day in his own right. Fatukasi also had two tackles for loss, which was tied with Joe Tryon-Shoyinka for the most in the game.

Stats aside, Fatukasi was the star of the show even if people were there to see Malik Willis’ skillset on display. Sure, Willis got to run around and make plays with his arm and athleticism, but why do you think that is? Fatukasi was in his grill the entire game, and never once fell victim to any jukes or moves. He kept his feet under him, wrapped up, and made sure Willis never left his sights or leave from in front of him.

All in all, this was a fantastic performance for the young linebacker. With so much stress being put on the Buccaneers’ quarterback future, they face a similar situation once Lavonte David is no longer around. Fortunately, it’s looking like his mentorship is starting to bear fruit in some of these young linebackers, not just Fatukasi.

If Olakunle Fatukasi’s roster spot was previously penciled in, it should be in ink now. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers found a keeper in this undrafted free agent, and it’s the biggest positive in a game filled with negatives.