Watson (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's Week 1 tilt against the Saints, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.
Watson's status is expected to open the season, considering the Bucs will roll with the impressive quartet of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries at receiver, while also keeping the more experienced Freddie Martino active as a fifth wideout. Watson impressed during training camp and preseason, however, so he could certainly find himself suiting up at some point as the season unfolds.
The 2018 fifth-round pick had some drops in early camp practices and a fumble in the preseason opener versus the Dolphins, but he consistently made his presence felt on the stat sheet throughout the exhibition slate. Watson put a cap on a successful summer by bringing in two of three targets for 11 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's preseason finale against the Jaguars, and he'll head into the regular season as the No. 5 receiver behind the top quartet of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries.
The rookie showed off his hands by snaring a perfect back-shoulder throw from Jameis Winston in the waning moments of the first half for a 13-yard touchdown. Watson's four catches paced the Bucs' receivers and he saw a total of 32 snaps (21 on offense, 11 on special teams) in the contest, giving him the platform to significantly improve on his three-catch, 30-yard, one-fumble tally in the preseason opener versus the Dolphins. Watson will look to continue making his push for a roster spot on the latter half of the receiver depth chart in next Friday's exhibition versus the Lions.
Watson made a positive impression on head coach Dirk Koetter during Sunday's practice, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "Today was his best day," said Koetter. "He got some chances. When you're a wide receiver, you've got to get chances. Sometimes you could be out here all day and not have any balls thrown to you. He showed up today. He's got a fight on his hands because it's a deep position."
The fifth-round pick brings an impressive size/speed combination with a 6-foot-3 frame and 4.4 40-yard dash. Watson stood out back in May's rookie minicamp before sustaining an injury, causing him to miss the rest of offseason work. He received full clearance prior to the start of training camp, and Sunday was his first day making a notable impact. Despite his strong skill set and college resume (286-3,777-33 over four seasons at Penn), Watson has an uphill battle to secure a spot in the latter half of the receiver depth chart, given that a pair of other candidates, Freddie Martino and Bernard Reedy, are big contributors on special teams. To that end, the Bucs are providing Watson an opportunity to make a mark as well, utilizing him as a punt team gunner and kickoff cover man in early camp practices.
|4||9/30/18||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 5|
|6||10/14/18||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|8||10/28/18||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|9||11/4/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|11||11/18/18||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|15||12/16/18||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ DAL||1:00 pm|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0|