The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are working to create depth all over the roster during their 2012 training camp, even at the most specialized positions.
On Monday, the team signed rookie long-snapper Andrew DePaola, who played his college ball at Rutgers under current Bucs' Head Coach Greg Schiano. To make room for DePaola on the 90-man roster, the Buccaneers waived third-year tight end Chase Coffman.
DePaola becomes the second long-snapper on the Bucs' camp roster, joining established veteran Andrew Economos, who is healthy and was fully involved in practice on Monday morning. Economos has handled the team's long-snapping duties for most of the past six seasons.
DePaola remains a league rookie even though he finished his collegiate career in 2009, as Monday marked his first official NFL transaction. He has had tryouts with several teams in the interim.
The 6-2, 205-pound DePaola began his college career at Rutgers as a walk-on quarterback, but gained his first playing time by taking over the job of holder on placekicks. His passing skills helped him throw a 15-yard touchdown on a fake field goal to upset then-No. 2 South Florida in 2007. Eventually, he switched to wide receiver and worked his way up into the team's rotation of pass-catchers. During his junior year, he seamlessly moved from holder to long-snapper during a game when the Scarlet Knights' main long-snapper, Jeremy Branch, suffered an injury.
The Buccaneers signed Coffman, a former University of Missouri standout, in February. He had previously spent two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2009. Monday's roster maneuvers still leave the Buccaneers with six players at the tight end position: Dallas Clark, Luke Stocker, Zack Pianalto, Collin Franklin, Drake Dunsmore and Danny Noble. Dunsmore and Noble are each actually designated as fullback/tight end on the Bucs' roster, as is incumbent fullback starter Erik Lorig.