Buccaneers might have found this year's UDFA sleeper

Jason Licht certainly knows how to mine for underrated talent.
Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia v Florida State
Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia v Florida State / Rich Storry/GettyImages

If there's one thing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers know how to do well, it's identifed underrated talent. That's been Jason Licht's calling card his entire tenure as general manager, plucking gems like Lavonte David, Chris Godwin, and others in later rounds of the draft.

The result was a Super Bowl in 2020, and he's managed to put some key pieces into place to ensure the future is bright in the post-Tom Brady era.

Perhaps his most masterful stroke of identifying underrated talent was the UDFA class Licht put together last offseason. The Bucs brought over 20 rookies to training camp and guys like Christian Izien, Sean Tucker, Keenan Isaac, and Kaveon Merriweather all played meaningful minutes during the regular season.

It's still early, but Licht might have cooked up another winner based on what the experts are saying.

Kalen DeLoach might carry the UDFA torch that was lit last season for the Buccaneers

The Athletic buzzed through the UDFA class this year and tried to pick some potential standouts, singling out former Florida State linebacker Kalen DeLoach.

Tampa Bay signed him in the first wave of UDFA action after the draft last Saturday, and it hasn't taken long for him to start rocketing up everyone's list. He's firmly on the roster bubble as an undrafted guy, but we saw the Bucs have a ton of success with those sorts of players last year.

"Like many on this list, DeLoach may have to punch his ticket to a roster via special teams -- something he can definitely excel at, especially in this new world of NFL kickoff rules. A 5-11, 210-pounder, DeLoach ran a 4.47 (1.57 10 split) at the combine and was a steady producer (212 tackles) as a three-year mike linebacker. He added seven sacks last season, so he can be a third-down player, as well as contribute on kickoffs and as a gunner," The Athletic wrote.

DeLoach joins a linebacker room that has a ton of that underrated talent in it. K.J. Britt wasn't at the forefront of many football minds last year, but he ended up taking Devin White's job away midway through the year. J.J. Russell also had a positive impact last season, and the best is yet to come for guys like Yaya Diaby and SirVocea Dennis.

That's partly what plays so well into his narrative. DeLoach will need to stand out against some great talent to secure a roster spot, even if it's on special teams, which means he'll be battle-ready by Week 1.

if DeLoach makes the final roster, we'll know it's because he's supremely talented and could follow in the footsteps of guys like Izien, Britt, and Russell.

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