The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected wide receiver Scotty Miller in the sixth round in April, but an undrafted free agent could be stealing on his roster spot.
As the preseason continues to roll around, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a few undrafted free agents putting their names on the map. Among those names is wide receiver Spencer Schnell out of Illinois State University, who was a standout performer in the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Schnell finished last week’s game with 119 yards receiving on seven catches; he was targeted nine times by Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert. The former undrafted Redbird has had an eerily similar start to his career as former Buccaneers’ undrafted free agent receiver Adam Humphries.
After four seasons in Tampa Bay, Humphries signed a four year deal with the Tennessee Titans, worth $9 million per year. He came off his best season with the Buccaneers, tallying 816 yards receiving and five scores on 76 catches last season. Throughout his career with the Buccaneers, Humphries recorded a total of 291 catches for over 2,300 yards and nine touchdowns.
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Listed at 5-9, Schnell is a bit smaller than Humphries, but has the speed and agility to be a consistent and solid route runner in the slot at the next level. At his pro day, Schnell ran a 4.5 second 40 yard dash and a blazing sub-seven second three-cone drill.
During his career at Illinois State, Schnell totaled over 2,000 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns on 175 catches over three seasons. Is Schnell the next undrafted receiver to thrive in Tampa Bay as Humphries did?
Schnell has been breaking off routes with ease against the Miami Dolphins in their joint practice as the Buccaneers prepare for their second preseason game. Even if he does not make the final roster in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers, he is putting solid film together for teams around the league to evaluate.
Whether or not that is the case, Schnell should have Buccaneers’ sixth round pick Scotty Miller sweating bullets over his roster spot at this point in the preseason. Miller has been out for two weeks now with a bummed hamstring, and while he has been out Schnell has been thriving.
Speaking of Miller, head coach Bruce Arians also seems to be a bit frustrated with his lack of practice, telling the media yesterday, “I’d like to see Scotty Miller get his [expletive] back on the field” (via Greg Auman). While Miller was thriving early in camp, the NFL can be a “what have you done for me lately?” kind of league, and the Bowling Green product has not produced for the Buccaneers over the past couple of weeks.
We are still a week or so away from a cutdown, but Schnell is making decisions for Arians and the Buccaneers difficult moving forward. If he keeps up his torrid pace, he may not give the Buccaneers another choice, which could put Miller’s roster spot in jeopardy.