On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added depth and more youth to their already young defensive line through a method that has served them well over the last three seasons: Plumbing practice squads around the NFL.
The Buccaneers have signed second-year defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim to their 53-man roster, signing him off the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad. Like all practice squad players around the league, Te'o-Nesheim was free to sign with any team as long as it was to the new team's active roster.
To make room for Te'o-Nesheim on the roster, the team released defensive tackle Frank Okam.
Te'o-Nesheim, Philadelphia's third-round draft pick in 2010 out of the University of Washington, appeared in six games with one start last year for the Eagles but has spent the entire 2011 campaign on the Eagles' practice squad. As a recent Buccaneer pickup of that variety, Te'o-Nesheim follows the likes of quarterback Rudy Carpenter (Dallas, 2009), safety Larry Asante (Cleveland, 2010), cornerback Dominique Harris (Buffalo, 2010) and defensive tackle Al Woods (Pittsburgh, 2010).
The 86th player selected overall in the 2010 draft, Te'o-Nesheim made the Eagles' roster as a rookie but was hindered somewhat by a shoulder injury. He started the season finale against Dallas and recorded his first career regular-season sack. Te'o-Nesheim appeared in all four preseason games for Philadelphia this summer and added four tackles and another sack.
At Washington, Te'o-Nesheim started all 49 games of his college career, recording 194 tackles, 30 sacks, 50.5 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His career sack total broke the school record previously established by a former Buccaneer, defensive end Ron Holmes. The Buccaneers' drafted Holmes in the first round in 1985.
Born in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Te'o-Nesheim later lived in Washington, before returning to American Samoa and eventually playing his high school football in Hawaii.
Okam originally joined the Buccaneers almost exactly a year ago. He was first signed to the team's practice squad on November 17, 2010, then promoted to the active roster one week later. He had played parts of the 2010 season with Houston and Seattle before coming to Tampa.
Initially a fifth-round pick by the Texans out of the University of Texas in 2008, Okam played in eight games over his first two seasons in Houston. With the Buccaneers in 2010 and 2011, Okam played in nine games with four starts, recording 31 tackles and a fumble recovery.