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Rookies Jaelon Darden, Kyle Trask among inactive Bucs tonight

Presumably, Tampa Bay will use veteran Jaydon Mickens for kick returns against Dallas.
Bucs rookie speedster Jaelon Darden, a fourth-round pick from North Texas, was designated as inactive for tonight's season opener against the Cowboys.
Bucs rookie speedster Jaelon Darden, a fourth-round pick from North Texas, was designated as inactive for tonight's season opener against the Cowboys. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Sep. 9
Updated Sep. 9

TAMPA — In a move likely to repeat itself for the foreseeable future, the Bucs designated rookie quarterback Kyle Trask as one of their inactive players for tonight’s season opener against the Cowboys.

Slightly more surprising was the fact that fellow 2021 draft pick Jaelon Darden and second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn join him on the inactive list.

The Bucs were required to deem seven players inactive, giving them 48 in uniform tonight. Other inactives are offensive lineman Nick Leverett, defensive lineman Khalil Davis, safety Chris Cooper and injured safety Jordan Whitehead (hamstring).

The moves came only hours after the team utilized its two practice squad elevations to move up returner/receiver Jaydon Mickens and safety Andrew Adams.

Presumably, the Bucs feel more comfortable going with Mickens —who has extensive kick- and punt-return experience in parts of four NFL seasons — in tonight’s prime-time opener on a national stage. Darden, a speedster from North Texas who has had a spotty preseason, was seen taking reps alongside Mickens with the starting kick-return unit this week.

Adams, who spent the last three seasons with the Bucs and appeared on 65 percent of their special-teams plays last year, recently was added to the practice squad after being released by the Eagles.

He provides depth at a spot where one starter — Whitehead — remains sidelined.

Vaughn sparkled in the preseason in both the backfield and on special teams, but remains dispensable in a backfield featuring Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette and newcomer Giovani Bernard. His absence tonight means Dee Delaney, a 26-year-old journeyman who emerged as one of the preseason’s most uplifting stories, will be employed on special teams.

Also expected to log significant action on special teams in their NFL debuts are rookies Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (first round) and inside linebackers K.J. Britt (fifth) and Grant Stuard (seventh).

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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