Buccaneers Trim Roster to 53
Filling out the Bucs’ wide receiver depth behind stars Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are three undrafted free-agents.
Russell Shepard went undrafted in 2013 from LSU and has since become the team’s special teams captain who really didn’t produce much elsewhere. In 29 career games the fourth year receiver has seven catches for 29 yards.
Perhaps feeling the pressure from a stable of young talent this pre-season, he turned in three catches for 62 yards showing he could produce on the offensive side of the ball while leading the special teams unit.
He’ll be the fourth receiver listed behind fan favorite Adam Humphries who was announced early on as the team’s number three option.
After exploding in Tampa’s fourth pre-season game last season Humphries won a roster spot with Bucs Nation as he showed the grit and determination they want to see from their players. He’s bonded with quarterback Jameis Winston very well in a short period and will hope to translate his 13.7 yards per catch in the pre-season to consistent regular season success.
The battle for number five was a tight one and there was no clear winner once Donteea Dye went down with a hamstring injury. The winner at the end of it all though is second year guy Evan Spencer who came undrafted from the Buckeyes after a short stint with Washington.
Spencer hauled in five catches for 54 yards himself this pre-season and even got some field time with the first team offense for a few reps. As an active member of the roster against his hometown Chicago Bears Spencer has yet to record an official stat as of yet, but this all could change with his advancement here.
Louis Murphy will be the team’s sixth receiver once he returns from the PUP list in October as long as his rehab continues without setbacks.
Kenny Bell will be the most notable name left off of the roster, but not the most surprising. After returning from an injury which cost him his rookie season Bell was thought of as the man to watch entering camp, he just didn’t produce anything worth watching. A concussion in the last pre-season game of the year will add injury to insult as the former Nebraska standout searches for a new team.
Bernard Reedy, Jonathan Krause and Freddie Martino were also waived from the Bucs’ roster.
This battle was the most watched battle of camp at One Buc Place and there is sure to be mixed emotions from fans of every player as their fates have been announced.
Next: Tight Ends