Watson logged snaps on offense for the fourth straight game, but Sunday saw him make his first career catch. The rookie has been a mainstay on special teams, and the 12 snaps from scrimmage he played against the Bengals represented a career high. Despite his participation level seeing a slight bump in Week 8, Watson remains far down the pecking order in the Buccaneers' prolific air attack.
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 fifth-rounder has been about as steady as they come in preseason, securing at least three catches in each of the first trio of exhibitions. Watson's chances of surviving final cuts were already solid heading into Friday's game, but they seemingly went up significantly with the combination of another productive performance and the pregame, season-ending ankle injury to Sergio Bailey, one of his primary competitors for a roster spot. Come the regular season, however, Watson will presumably find snaps and targets hard to come by due to the wealth of pass-catching talent ahead of him on the depth chart.
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.
|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||6||0||1||5||5.0||5||0||0||0||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|