As they neared the end of their first week of OTAs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had two open spots on their 90-man roster, and they used them to add reinforcements to the secondary. The team announced on Thursday that it had signed rookie cornerback Javien Elliott and re-signed first-year safety Kimario McFadden.
The first roster vacancy was created last Thursday when the team released kicker Patrick Murray, and the second arose when safety John Lowdermilk was placed on the reserve/retired list on Tuesday. Murray, who handled the Buccaneers' kicking chores in 2014, spent last year on injured reserve and then was bumped down the depth chart when the team selected Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the 2016 NFL Draft. Lowdermilk was only with the Buccaneers for two weeks after being claimed off waivers from Minnesota on May 12.
Elliott (5-11, 176) was Aguayo's teammate at Florida State but he was not selected in last month's draft. That didn't stop him from continuing an improbable journey from 2014 walk-on with the Seminoles to a spot on an NFL roster and potentially an invitation to training camp in Tampa. In between, he earned a scholarship at FSU last year, turned into a special teams ace and eventually got an opportunity to contribute on defense.
In all, Elliott played in 12 games last year and contributed 37 tackles, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one sack and one interception. The interception came against Louisville in what was essentially his first series of competitive snaps on defense. Elliott is a native of Panama City, Florida.
McFadden has had several stints on the Bucs' roster, the most recent one ending when he was waived on May 2. He first came to Tampa as a rookie in 2014, spending the first three weeks of the season on the Bucs' practice squad. After spending time with Atlanta and Carolina, McFadden returned to the Bucs last year just before the start of training camp. He later spent two weeks on Tampa Bay's active roster, sandwiched around a month on the practice squad. McFadden, who played his college ball at South Carolina State, saw action in three preseason games last summer and recorded six tackles.