Predicting The Initial 53-Man Roster

August 28th, 2023

Who stays? Who goes?

Cutdown Day is tomorrow in the NFL where teams initially whittle their rosters down to the mandatory 53 players.

After Cutdown Day, teams usually pick up guys who fell through the cracks (and thus have to bounce someone to make room). So the initial 53-man roster likely changes by opening day.

Jenna Laine of ESPN has her Bucs roster prediction and it includes surprises. The first is the Bucs will keep but two quarterbacks, Kyler Traskfield. But what about a third quarterback in case Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask gets hurt?

Well, the NFL has a new rule allowing a practice squad quarterback to be an emergency quarterback that doesn’t count against the active gameday roster.

Laine only has the Bucs keeping three running backs and Sneak Vaughn isn’t one of them. He doesn’t survive but Sean Tucker does.

Laine also has the Bucs keeping six outside linebackers and sixth-round pick José Ramirez becomes a victim of The Turk but undrafted free agent Markees Watts makes the cut.

Among the six cornerbacks Laine expects the Bucs to keep is sixth-round draft pick Josh Hayes. This guy had been pretty invisible until maybe 10 days ago and Joe isn’t sure he’s done enough to dodge the Grim Reaper. Laine cited his ability to play safety as a factor that saves him.

Keenan Isaac, who has had a damn good camp but a questionable preseason, doesn’t make it, Laine suggests.

Laine has the Bucs keeping only three safeties and she believes Nolan Turner is the odd man out there but undrafted rookie Kaevon Merriweather does make it.

17 Responses to “Predicting The Initial 53-Man Roster”

  1. Adrnagy Says:

    Never have I come across such a “Bucs fan” so negative.

  2. Pickgrin Says:

    I’m guessing the Bucs keep an extra pass rusher (Watts) instead of a 4th RB (Vaughn- cut). Also think Britt gets the nod over JJ Russell at ILB

    Offense – 24
    QB – 2 – (Mayfield, Trask)
    RB – 3 – (White, Tucker, Edmonds)
    WR – 6 – (Evans, Godwin, Palmer, Thompkins, Moore, Jarret)
    TE – 4 – (Otton, Kieft, Durham, Wells)
    OL – 9 – (Wirfs, Feiler, Hainsey, Mauch, Goedeke, Leverette, Walton, Stinnie, Skule)

    Defense – 26
    DT – 6 – (Vea, Hall, Gaines, Kancey, Gholston, O’Connor)
    OLB – 6 – (Barrett, JTS, Diaby, Nelson, Gill, Watts)
    ILB – 4 – (LD54, White, Dennis, Britt)
    CB – 6 – (Davis, Dean, McCollum, Delaney, Isaac, Hayes)
    S – 4 – (Winfield, Neal, Izien, Merriweather)

    Specialist – 3
    P – Camarda
    K – McLaughlin
    LS – Triner

    Practice Squad
    Wolford, Brown, Laird, Geiger, Warner, Taula, Molchon, Niese, Senate, Ramirez, Russell, Gardner, Chesley, Turner

  3. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I don’t see them cutting Vaughn.

    I think they may gamble with Tucker clearing waivers. He was injured for most of the off season right? What he showed was a small sample.

    I personally felt he was a little Warrick Dunn-like. But Vaughn is their short yardage guy…and pretty much the only one.

  4. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I also would be suprised if Wolford makes the practice squad, or if he does, I think it won’t be for long.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin … I like your 53-man roster, but I do think that Bowles will keep an even split (25-25-3) to start off the season.

    o 3 QBs (Wolford has impressed me, and we couldn’t protect him on the PS).
    o 4 RBs (Vaughn is effective on short yardage, and also quite good on S/Ts).
    o 8 OL (tend to think that we can protect Skule & a couple others on the PS).
    o 5 CBs (Hayes isn’t quite prime-time ready, but he will surely make the PS & be pulled up when the 1st injury occurs).

    When Kancey gets back & gets a game or 2 under his belt, I got a hunch that O’Connor will be shelved, opening up another spot, but to start off the season we need O’Connor as insurance.

    One RB who’s impressed me with several runs has been Brown. Wouldn’t be surprised to see someone grab him up off the PS.

  6. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Great play on a famous name of soul music if the Bucs keep cornerbacks Issac and Hayes. Take a picture of them from behind with their uniforms on. Coach Bowles would love that. Crank up some Shaft: Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about, Shaft, Right On, Go Bucs!

  7. Brandon Says:

    Vaughn makes it. He was 2nd in the game on Saturday and plays ST. Tucker does too.
    2 QBs
    RBs White, Vaughn, Edmonds, Tucker
    WR Evans, Godwin, Palmer, Moore, Jarrett, Thompkins
    OL Wirfs, Feiler, Hainsey, Mauch, Goedeke, Skule, Leverett, Walton, O’Neal
    DL Hall, Clancey, Vea, Gholston, Gaines, O’Connor
    ILB White, David, Dennis, Russell (Britt gone)
    OLB Barrett, JTS, Nelson, Diaby, Watts (this is going by playing order in last game)
    CB Dean, Davis, McCollom, Delaney, Isaac
    S Winfield, Neal, Izien, Merriwether… Delaney isctop S backup.
    The 3 ST guys … is that 53?

    PS QB Wofford, RB Brown, WR Geiger, WR Miller, TE Taula, OL Molchon, Dzansi, DL Greene DL Senat, OLB Snowden, OLB Ramirez, ILB Britt, CB Chesley, S Turner

  8. Brandon Says:

    CB Hayes makes the PS too

  9. Pickgrin Says:

    DR Says:
    “O’Connor will be shelved”

    No way. Patrick O’Connor is a key special teams player.

    And 2 QBs on the active roster. Nobody is going to ‘steal’ Wolford off the PS…..

    Can’t just go with 8 OL – That only leaves 1 backup OT for both spots.

    I feel very confident in 47 of those players being on the team. 6 were bottom of the roster guesses that the Bucs might make a different choice on – or try to replace with cuts from other teams. (Wells, Stinnie, Skule. Watts, Isaac, Hayes)

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin … After reading the rules on protecting Practice Squad players, I suspect you’re right about the 2 QBs. (Found a very good article on a blog called ‘The Stadiums Guide’ titled ‘NFL Practice Squads: Everything You Need to Know’ which goes over the 2023 rules).

    Still think we can go with 8 OLinemen since we can protect 4 players on the PS (hide & protect 1 or 2 there, plus a QB & probably a DLineman).

    It’ll be interesting to see if Bowles goes with 9 or 10 Secondary players (since that’s his background & he seems to love developing young players?).

  11. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Pick

    I agree with your roster…

    WR – Geiger and ILB Russell might make the cut over Hayes and Gill.

    That’s going to be a tough decision to make for the Bucs. They kept (7) WRs last few seasons and we ended up using all of them due to all the WR injuries.

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    Plus Mike Evans already has an injured groin, Godwin’s rebuilt knee and Palmer, Jarrett, Thompkins and Geiger are all smaller receivers who might be more prone to injury…

  13. Marine Buc Says:


    Never mind – Geiger was just cut…

    I hope we can get him back on the PS. He played pretty well this preseason.

  14. Lakeland Steve Says:

    I can’t imagine the Bucs only keeping three running backs with the way those guys tend to get dinged up.

  15. bucsfan951 Says:


    i would agree with your prediction. bravo.

  16. Joe Says:

    No way. Patrick O’Connor is a key special teams player.


  17. Brandon Says:

    Initial squad is set.. I think I missed on three players

    WR David Moore – we kept five WRs
    OT O’Neil was cut, OG Stinnie was kept

    DL O’Connor was cut, DL Mike Greene was kept
    OLB Gill wasn’t cut (we kept five OLBs)
    ILB Russell was cut, Britt was kept
    CB Isaac was cut, CB Pitts was kept
    S Hayes wasn’t cut, we kept 10 DBs.

    Okay, I was wrong on six. I’m also thinking my numbers were off… did I pick a final 51? Gill and Hayes weren’t cut but nobody made it that in their place.