Now that Week 1 is finally here, it seems we're going to be treated to more than just the return of Tampa Bay Buccaneers football.
Back in April the Bucs pulled off a masterclass in draft smokescreening by landing Pitt defensive end Calijah Kancey with the No. 19 overall pick. This came after an offseason of experts mocking offensive lineman and trades for quarterbacks to the Bucs.
Instead, Jason Licht took Kancey as someone Bucs fans hope is his next big Draft hit. It was seen as a bit of an outside-the-box pick, but one that was endorsed as Tampa Bay potentially having landed the next Aaron Donald.
That's a tall order, and a bit unfair to Kancey, but there are big expectations for the rookie heading into the season. One of the biggest things fans want to see is the man himself -- Kancey hasn't yet played a down for the Bucs thanks to being held out due to an injury.
Is Calijah Kancey playing Week 1 vs. Vikings?
While Kancey missed all of the preseason with a calf injury, he ended up practicing the final two days of the week for Tampa Bay. His late progression seems to have propelled him to being healthy enough to finally make his debut -- what better time than Week 1?
According to Rick Stroud, Kancey is healthy and will be active when kickoff rolls around.
How much Kancey ends up being used is the next big question. He'll almost certainly see action but it might be limited given his health and how little he's played since being drafted. Rather than coming out full steam, Kancey might need to be eased into the Bucs defensive line rotation in order to get properly settled.
That shouldn't set the Bucs back too much up front, although they begin the season thin behind Kancey on the depth chart. William Gholston is the only true defensive end listed behind Kancey, but there are guys like Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Logan Hall who can rotate in. Tampa Bay didn't make any practice squad elevations before the trip to Minnesota which means guys like Pat O'Connor and ose Ramirez won't be options.
Still, Kancey was a full participant at practice on Friday and all signs point to him not only making his debut for the Bucs but having an impact right away.