Every now and then someone emerges from the pool of undrafted free agents and turns out to be a hidden gem of a player. So far this camp and preseason Buccaneers’ Olakunle Fatukasi seems to be that man. Reporting from camp and the game tape says he has a strong chance of making this team.
Haling from Rutgers, Fatukasi started to make a name for himself during the 2019 season. He showcased how fast he plays logging in 80 total tackles, 50 of them solo. He would build on this the next two seasons recording 90 and 85 tackles respectively. During that time he also recorded 5.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. Solid numbers.
The tape showed a player with instincts, awareness, and good lateral movement coupled with good tackling ability. Though over aggressive at times it seemed his lack of size didn’t deter his production. After the draft he signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent.
Coming in with a purpose Fatukasi made his first splash in the week one pf preseason. Leading the Buccaneer’s with six total tackles, five solo he also added a tackle for loss and a pass deflection. It was time for the coaches to pay him some attention.
Head coach Todd Bowles had this to say about Fatukasi, “He’s made his presence known, he’s made his presence felt and we’ve just got to look at the tape.”
To prove this was not a one time event Fatukasi then turned in a similar shinning performance against the Titans. Ten total tackles later, half of them solo, 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits he put coaches on notice.
Fatukasi has one more game to lock in a roster spot. If he can perform in similar fashion he’ll make the coaches decision between him, J.J. Russell, and Grant Stuard difficult for the coaches. A spot on the practice squad with these performances may not allow the Buccaneers to keep. Ultimately linebacker needy teams are seeing this performance as well and may scoop him up.
Hopefully the Buccaneers see his utility, instincts, and play making ability and decide to carry nine linebackers this season. If not one of the three forementioned plyers must go.
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