Landon Cox and Marquese Wheaton weren't on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 90-man roster when training camp officially began on Thursday morning, but both arrived early enough to make it to the very first practice.
Cox and Wheaton took the field with their new teammates on Friday after signing with the Buccaneers early in the morning. They fill two of the three roster vacancies created during a flurry of maneuvers on Thursday evening, leaving one spot still to fill.
Both Cox and Wheaton entered the NFL as undrafted free agents, the former a year ago with the Cincinnati Bengals and Wheaton on Friday. The Buccaneers actually had a previous look at Wheaton, as he was one of approximately four dozen players who took part in the team's rookie mini-camp in May on tryout contracts. Wheaton joins nine other players from that tryout group who have since earned a spot on the training camp roster: defensive end
Cox went to training camp with the Bengals last summer after being signed out of Northern Illinois, but was released on August 24. At NIU, he played in 50 games and started 30, and in his last two seasons he recorded 80 receptions for 964 yards and seven touchdowns.
Wheaton joins the Buccaneers out of Southern Miss, where he started all 14 games last season. He recorded 59 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, one fumble recovery and three defensive touchdowns for the Golden Eagles.
The two newest Buccaneers help restore depth at two positions that were affected by Thursday’s roster moves. Cox takes a spot in the receiver room opened by the release of Dezmon Briscoe, and Wheaton gives the team an additional corner after Roberson was placed on the active/PUP list.