CB Marcus Hamilton was impressive enough in his Buccaneer debut against Chicago to be targeted the next week by the Bears' personnel department
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had two open roster spots and a sudden depth issue in their secondary. Those two factors combined to produce the team's two latest roster moves.
On Wednesday morning, the Buccaneers announced the signings of cornerback Marcus Hamilton and safety Corey Lynch. They filled the spots opened when cornerback E.J. Biggers and safety Jermaine Phillips were placed on injured reserve on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively.
Hamilton's signing brings the 25-year-old cornerback back to his NFL origins, as he was a seventh-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2007. It also marks the second time in as many years that depth issues in Tampa Bay's backfield led to his signing to the 53-man roster in the third week of the season.
Hamilton spent all of his rookie year on the Buccaneers' practice squad and then started his second campaign on that same crew. However, he was pressed into service by injuries to other cornerbacks and signed to the active roster before Tampa Bay's third game of 2008. That eventually led to his joining the Bears; Hamilton was impressive enough in his one outing for the Buccaneers, a 27-24 overtime win by Tampa Bay, that Chicago claimed him off waivers when the Bucs tried to put him back on the practice squad.
The 5-11, 185-pound Hamilton went on to play eight games for the Bears during the remainder of the 2008 season and he finished the year with three tackles and two passes defensed, as well as four stops on special teams. He went to training camp with Chicago again in 2009 but was released prior to the start of the regular season.
The Buccaneers made Hamilton the 245th overall pick in 2007 after he finished a stellar career at Virginia. The Centreville, Virginia, native finished third in school history with 15 career interceptions and was a second-team All-ACC pick as both a junior and a senior.
The Buccaneers nabbed Lynch, a second-year player, off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad. He was originally a sixth-round pick of the Bengals in 2008, and he spent the second half of his rookie season on injured reserve after making Cincinnati's 53-man roster out of training camp.
The 6-0, 206-pound Lynch was inactive for the 2008 season opener but then saw action in the next seven contests, contributing three tackles, a pass defensed and an interception off the New York Jets' Brett Favre on October 12. He suffered a knee injury in the eighth game of the season and was placed on injured reserve.
As a collegian at Appalachian State, Lynch made his biggest headlines when he blocked a field goal attempt at Michigan to seal the Mountaineers' monumental 34-32 upset over Michigan. That was far from his only highlight at ASU, however; Lynch helped lead his team to three straight NCAA FCS titles and was a three-time FCS All-American selection. His 24 career interceptions set an all-time Southern Conference record.
Prior to the additions of Hamilton and Lynch, the Buccaneers' depth in the defensive backfield had been thinned considerably. The team had just two safeties – Will Allen and Sabby Piscitelli – and one of its four cornerbacks, Elbert Mack, was unable to finish last Sunday's game in Buffalo due to injury. Considering that a third cornerback, or nickel back, is essentially a fifth starter in the backfield, the Bucs' depth chart was essentially running without backup.