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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Add 13 Undrafted Free Agents

Adding to their seven-man draft class, the Buccaneers agreed to terms with 13 rookies who were not drafted last weekend…The team also claimed second-year T Reid Fragel off waivers from Atlanta.

What numbers will the Bucs' rookies be wearing in 2015?


Shortly before the 2015 NFL Draft came to an end, and not long after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their final pick, General Manager Jason Licht issued a rather broad hint to those prospects who didn't hear their names called over the weekend.

"If I were a guy that doesn't get drafted that can rush the passer, I would certainly want to come here," said Licht. "We could certainly use depth at linebacker and we could sure probably use some depth, some competition back there in the secondary. [In] all areas we could use depth and guys who want to push and compete."

Licht was referring to what he called the "eighth round" of the draft, which has no specific selection order and no limits on how many players a team can add. It is a surprisingly important part of the annual draft process, when teams try to convince dozens of undrafted players that they have the best launching spot for their NFL careers. Nearly every season, the Buccaneers find a player or two during this "eighth round" who end up on the regular-season roster. Last year produced three such success stories: wide receiver Solomon Patton, tight end Cameron Brate and offensive lineman Josh Allen.

A clear opportunity on the depth chart can often be the deciding factor for an undrafted free agent as he chooses among different suitors, and as Licht hinted, the Bucs appear to offer that kind of opportunity at defensive end. As such, the initial list of undrafted rookies who agreed to terms with the Bucs unsurprisingly includes two players at that spot: Towson's Ryan Delaire and Jones County Junior College's Jamal Young.

Of course, as Licht also pointed out, the team is looking for depth at every spot on the team. Here's the complete list of the signings announced by the team on Monday:

  • LB Quinton Alston, Iowa
  • RB Dominique Brown, Louisville
  • DT Quayshawne Buckley, Idaho
  • LS Courtland Clavette, Brown
  • DE Ryan Delaire, Towson
  • CB Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M
  • S Chris Hackett, TCU
  • WR Rannell Hall, UCF
  • LB Josh Keyes, Boston College
  • DT Caushaud Lyons, Tusculum
  • WR Josh Reese, UCF
  • LB Michael Reynolds, Kansas
  • DE Jamal Young, Jones County Junior College

The Buccaneers had another addition to their roster on Monday, as they claimed second-year tackle Reid Fragel off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons. Fragel spent most of last fall on Atlanta's practice squad and was re-signed after the season for 2015, but the team waived him on Friday. The former Ohio State standout originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013. He split his rookie campaign between the practice squad and the active roster in Cincinnati but did not see action in any regular-season contests.

As is the case in most years, the Bucs' undrafted free agent group in 2015 is a mix of high-profile players from big programs and small-school prospects looking to prove they can hold their own against stronger competition. Iowa's Quinton Alston, for instance was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last year while defensive end Caushaud Lyons will try to become just the second Tusculum player to make it in the NFL.

Actually, Young is the perhaps the most interesting entry in that latter category. A former sprinter at both Southern Miss and Butler Community College, Young walked on to the Jones County Junior College squad in 2013 and quickly earned a prominent role as a starter. Coincidentally, his coach at JCJC was Ray Perkins, who was the Buccaneers Head Coach from 1987-90.

Some undrafted free agents also consider proximity to their college or home town when choosing their first NFL destination, but this year's group of Buccaneer additions originates from all over the map. Central Florida receivers Rannell Hall and Josh Reese are the only players in the bunch to either play collegiately in the state of Florida or hail from the Sunshine State (in both of thier cases, Miami).

Of course, these players are more concerned about where they're headed than where they've been, and all will be given a legitimate shot to win a roster spot in Tampa. In addition to Allen, Brate and Patton – all of whom are returning for another shot with the Bucs in 2015 – there are nine other players on the current 90-man roster who came into the NFL as undrafted free agents with Tampa Bay. That group includes starting offensive tackle Demar Dotson as well as long-snapper Andrew DePaola, defensive end T.J. Fatinikun, defensive end George Johnson, cornerback Leonard Johnson, kicker Patrick Murray, tackle Matt Patchan, tight end Taylor Sloat and punter Andrew Wilder.

In addition, there are other prominent players on the Bucs' roster who entered the NFL as undrafted free agents with other teams, including starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith, running back Bobby Rainey and a pair of breakout players who won important roles on defense in 2014, Jacquies Smith and Danny Lansanah.

The 13 undrafted players added on Monday will join Jameis Winston and the Bucs' seven-man 2015 draft class in a rookie mini-camp at One Buccaneer Place on Friday and Saturday. There may be some additional rookie signings before the weekend, and returning first-year players like Allen and Brate may also participate.  The rest of the camp roster will be filled out with additional undrafted rookies who participate on a tryout basis. Typically, that camp eventually produces several more signees from among those who tried out. That is, for instance, how Sloat got on the Buccaneers' radar a year ago; he was eventually brought back to the practice squad in October.

Delaire, Lyons and Reynolds likely saw the very opportunity at defensive end that Licht mentioned on the final night of the draft. Whether they rush the passer, catch passes or run the football, however, all of the undrafted players who convene at One Buc Place this weekend will be hoping it is the start of a long career in the NFL.

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