We've finally reached the end of the preseason, but there's still a ton of work to be done as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prep for Week 1.
One more preseason game is on the books, and it'll be one that a few guys on the roster desperately need in order to avoid losing a roster spot. The Bucs will need to cut their roster down to 53 after they play the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, which means the clock is ticking louder than it ever has.
Some cuts are easy to predict, especially since the Bucs brought over 20 undrafted free agent rookies to training camp. A few of those guys have played so well that they'll be earning roster spots when all is said and done, but others will be canon fodder.
Those rookies playing so well also means roster space will be taken away from guys who were here last season and have failed to prove they deserve to keep their spot.
3 Buccaneers playing themselves out of a job in 2023 preseason
Most of the roster bubble situations aren't terribly surprising, but the case of Zyon McCollum qualifies as an exception to that. He looked to be on track to one day becoming a starter in the Bucs secondary, but circumstances have converged so aggressively against him that he me end up as a surprise cut when the final roster is revealed.
McCollum has had a pretty poor preseason, with his struggles in coverage sticking out as perhaps the thing working against him the most. These struggles are juxtaposed against the Bucs youth movement, as Tampa Bay has guys like Keenan Issac and Christian Izien looking good as they fight for a roster spot.
Izien came to camp as a safety but he's been moved to nickel corner, which feels like Bucs coaches finding an excuse to keep him around beyond the preseason. There's also Josh Hayes out of Kansas State who Tampa Bay drafted on Day 3 back in April battling for a roster spot and in line to make the team.
McCollum is closer to surviving final cuts than he is becoming one, but his final preseason game against Baltimore will likely decide which side he ends up on.