Buccaneers Sign Guard Salesi Uhatafe, Place S D’Cota Dixon on Injured Reserve

Uhatafe

The Buccaneers placed rookie safety D’Cota Dixon on the reserved/injured list on Thursday ahead of their first preseason game of the year.

It puts an end to a promising start to training camp for the former tryout player, who had earned the praises of his coaches so far this preseason. Dixon was listed as a second-team safety on the Bucs’ first depth chart, released on Wednesday. He was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after playing collegiately at the University of Wisconsin and will not count against the 90-man roster while on the Reserved/Injured list.

Dixon adds to a string of injuries for the Bucs’ defensive backfield. Safety Justin Evans remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list and rookie safety Mike Edwards was limited in the Bucs’ last practice before their game in Pittsburgh on Friday, participating only in individual drills. He sat out Tuesday altogether. Rookie cornerback Jamel Dean has also been held out of practice the last couple days and did not make the trip to Pittsburgh along with Evans.

In a corresponding move, the Buccaneers signed guard Salesi Uhatafe with the vacated spot on the roster. The 6-5, 320-pound Uhatafe spent part of this offseason with the Washington Redskins before being signed by Tampa Bay. Previously, he was a member of the Alliance of American Football’s Salt Lake Stallions before the league folded.

Prior to joining the AAF, Uhatafe spent the preseason with the Atlanta Falcons after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He was then released and spent time in Jacksonville on the Jaguars’ practice squad last season.

Uhatafe played collegiately at the University of Utah where he earned Second-Team All-Pac 12 honors as a senior in 2017. A four-year starter at guard for the Utes, he played in all 52 games with 38 starts. He spent his entire senior season at the left guard position after spending his junior season at right guard. Uhatafe is a native of Euless, Texas and is first cousins with former University of Florida standout Jon Halapio.

With the news that Mike Liedtke will miss the 2019 season due to a shoulder injury, Uhatafe will provide depth for the Bucs’ offensive line going forward in the preseason. His versatility at right or left guard is undoubtedly an advantage for depth along the line. Ali Marpet owns the starting spot at left guard and according to the Buccaneers’ first official depth chart, second-year player Alex Cappa is the current starter at right guard. Uhatafe won’t join the team in Pittsburgh but will look to fit in on the depth chart as training camp goes on.

The Buccaneers’ preseason roster again sits at 90 with the moves.

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