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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Add 14 Undrafted Free Agents

The Bucs increased their 2018 draft haul in "Round Eight" on Monday, adding 14 undrafted free agents, including Northwestern S Godwin Igwebuike and Western Michigan TE Donnie Ernsberger

Adam Humphries handed the baton to Peyton Barber, who passed it on to Antony Auclair. Who gets it next?

On Monday, two days after the 2018 NFL Draft came to an end, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they had agreed to terms with 14 rookies who went undrafted over the weekend. That list of players added in what is sometimes called "Round Eight" includes such high-priority signings as Northwestern safety Godwin Igwebuike, Western Michigan tight end Donnie Ernsberger and Temple offensive lineman Cole Boozer.

Along with these additions, the Buccaneers had to release one player – offensive lineman Avery Young – to keep from exceeding the 90-man offseason roster limit. Young joined Tampa Bay's practice squad for the final two weeks of the 2017 season and then was re-signed to the 2018 roster in January.

Monday's haul adds to the eight players the Buccaneers selected in the draft to give the team 22 rookies, all of whom will report for a mini-camp at the end of next week. Additional rookies and first-year players will be added to the roster on tryout contracts to take part in that camp.

All of those in attendance for that camp will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Humphries, Barber and Auclair, who made the Buccaneers' roster as undrafted free agents in 2015, 2016 and 2017. They were hardly the only ones; Humphries' fellow 2015 newcomer Cameron Brate has gone from May signee to the owner of a lucrative new contract this spring. Barber was one of four undrafted rookies on the initial 2016 roster, along with Alan Cross, DaVonte Lambert and Channing Ward. Even the tryout players can take heart from this list – Humphries started in the same way after neither being drafted nor immediately signed by a team in the spring of 2015.

All of the players noted above are still with the team as it heads into the 2018 season. Others on the current roster who started as rookie free agents in Tampa and saw regular-season action in 2017 include Riley Bullough, Bobo Wilson, Javien Elliott, Isaiah Johnson and Leonard Wester. In all, there are 33 men on Tampa Bay's current roster – not including those just signed – who entered the league as undrafted free agents, out of a total of 76 players (not including international practice squad player Eric Nzeocha).

Here's the list of undrafted free agents announced by the Buccaneers on Monday:





Austin Allen



Sergio Bailey

Eastern Michigan


Cole Boozer



Donnie Ernsberger

Western Michigan


Demone Harris



Tanner Hudson

Southern Arkansas


Godwin Igwebuike



Josh Liddell



Trevor Moore

North Texas


Evan Perrizo

Minnesota State


Erv Philips



Jason Reese



Antonio Simmons

Georgia Tech


Shaun Wilson


Those 14 players will try to write NFL success stories like the ones Brate and company have done. As usual, however, many of them arrive in Tampa already possessing interesting backstories.

Ernsberger, for instance, drew national attention last October when his sister, Shalene, rushed onto the field to hug him after his second touchdown in a record-setting 71-68 win over Buffalo. Video of the sequence went viral, serving to spotlight a player who had developed from a try-hard, no-star recruit into a key player on a rising program and a prospect in the NFL's crosshairs.

Igwebuike has a name many Buccaneer fans recognize, and indeed his father was cousins with former Tampa Bay kicker Donald Igwebuike (as well as former Kansas City Chiefs star running back Christian Okoye). The Northwestern defender, known as a punishing tackler, picked off three passes in his first career start for the Wildcats and recently ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Some of the players above put up gaudy numbers in their college careers. Syracuse wide receiver Erv Philips caught 179 passes over the past two years, including a school-record 17 in a single game against North Carolina State last year. North Texas kicker Trevor Moore lined up 77 kicks last year and made 75 of them, including 20 of his 22 field goal tries. On the defensive side, Minnesota State defensive end Evan Perrizo had 12 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss for the Mavericks.

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