Tampa Bay Buccaneers Add Further Competition for Roster Spots, Bring in Undrafted Free Agents at Cornerback, Tight End, and More
By Leo Howell
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The draft provided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with six additional players. Johnthan Banks, Mike Glennon, Akeem Spence, William Gholston, Steven Means, and Mike James will all provide depth and competition at their various positions on the depth chart. (You can read about them here, and here.) But the frenzy of free agent signings after the draft provide teams with an opportunity to add many more players, with no draft order or selection clock to deal with. With players like Chase Thomas, Tyler Bray, and Da’Rick Rogers still available after the draft meeting concluded, there was certainly talent to be found on the open market. The Buccaneers did not select any of these big name undrafted prospects, but did bring a large amount of prospects to push for roster spots in 2013. Here is a list of players the Buccaneers have signed or invited to rookie camp, although it should be noted this information is not 100% confirmed. The fine folks at nepatriotsdraft.com have been one of the leaders in undrafted free agent news for years now, so we consult their website for the latest on the Bucs’ undrafted free agents:
"Akrem Shavers, RB, PurdueNick Carlson, OL WyomingBranden Smith, CB, GeorgiaRashaan Melvin, CB, Northern IllinoisHubie Graham, TE, PittEvan Landi, TE, USFNick Speller, OT, UMassBrice Schawb, OT, ASUDeveron Carr, CB, ASURobert Marve, QB, PurdueMontel Harris, RB, Temple/Boston CollegeChris Denton, WR, Mount UnionJeremy Lewis, OL, MiamiTim Wright, WR, RutgersTenarius Wright, DE/LB, ArkansasOrwin Smith, RB, Georgia TechJace Daniels, OT, Northern MichiganTaimi Tutogi, FB, ArizonaJerrell Gavins, CB, Boise State (Tryout)"
Nov 24, 2012; Alliance, OH, USA; Mount Union wide receiver Chris Denton (1) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Jasper Collins (8) in the third quarter against Johns Hopkins at Mount Union Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
A few interesting things to note here. The addition of Chris Denton, WR from Mount Union, may indicate that the Buccaneers were looking into Jasper Collins, the star receiver from Mount Union who I believed would be a valuable pick for the Bucs late in the draft. Collins was not selected, but the Dolphins were the team able to secure his signature for a roster spot or camp invite. The Buccaneers opted for the lesser known receiver from the Division III powerhouse, who happens to be a special teams ace. He tied the NCAA record for punt return touchdowns in a season, netting five scores returning punts in 2012. He has fumbling concerns, but also was a dominant playmaker on special teams at the lowest division of the NCAA. His skills may translate well enough for a roster spot with the Buccaneers, but he’ll have to show improved ball security.
The Buccaneers also brought in multiple tight ends and cornerbacks, proving the desire for competition at these positions remains high. Neither of the tight ends invited to compete seem to have the skills needed to unseat any of the Buccaneers top three tight ends (Stocker, Crabtree, and Byham), but the cornerbacks brought in may provide more of a threat to players like Myron Lewis, Anthony Gaitor, and James Rogers to make the final spots on the roster at corner.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers only brought in one player from Rutgers, but brought in two from Purdue, and two from Arizona State. Greg Schiano’s connection to Rutgers was clearly overstated by many heading into this draft, as he only added one Scarlet Knight through the entire process, and he is a wide receiver unlikely to make the team, particularly since he’ll be competing with an experienced NFL receiver from Rutgers in Tiquan Underwood for playing time at the position.
The Purdue prospects are interesting, especially Robert Marve, who was having a very productive 2012 season despite suffering an ACL injury. He was injured at the end of a solid performance against defensive juggernaut Notre Dame, and it was his third ACL injury of his career. He would fight through the setback and continue to play for the Boilermakers and finish with 15 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions and a 65% completion percentage. The former Plant High School standout and Miami Hurricane transfer hasn’t proven he can stay healthy, but does have potential as a quarterback with good athleticism. He may not catch on with the Buccaneers, but don’t be surprised if he’s given a shot somewhere, since the pedigree and talent are there with Marve.
If there are any other interesting free agent signings that are announced, we will be sure to provide you with the information you need. And if there’s any of these players that you have watched, and want to let Buc Nation hear about them, leave it in the comment section below!