The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have incurred a rash of injuries at two specific positions in the last few weeks – tight end and outside linebacker – and that obviously influenced the team's most recent roster moves.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers signed outside linebackers Sam Acho and Kahzin Daniels, the latter in a promotion from their own practice squad. One roster spot was created by the move of tight end Antony Auclair to injured reserve; in addition, wide receiver Amara Darboh was waived.
The Bucs also signed rookie outside linebacker Quinton Bell to the practice squad, taking the spot vacated by Daniels.
Acho spent the last four seasons with the Chicago Bears but previously played under Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians and Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles in Arizona in 2013 and 2014. He originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick by the Cardinals (number 103 overall) in 2011. After four seasons in Arizona he signed with the Bears as an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
In all, Acho (6-2, 258) has 102 games with 57 starts, recording 229 tackles, 17.0 sacks, 44 quarterback hits, 22 tackles for loss, 10 forced fumbles, three interceptions and 10 passes defensed. He spent most of his last season in Chicago on injured reserve due to a torn pectoral muscle but started 12 games in 2017 and had three sacks and 18 quarterback hits.
Daniels (6-2, 243) originally joined the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Charleston in May. He played in the first two preseason games and recorded one tackle but missed the rest of August with a knee injury. That eventually led to his waiver with an injury designation during the final roster cuts, a move that meant he was not eligible to return to the Buccaneers until mid-October. Tampa Bay re-re-signed Daniels to its practice squad on October 17.
Acho and Daniels give the Bucs much-needed depth at the outside linebacker spot while the team determines how much time might be missed by outside linebackers Carl Nassib and Anthony Nelson, both of whom were injured in Sunday's game at Seattle. Nassib sustained a groin injury and Nelson strained a hamstring, both before halftime, forcing Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett to each play almost every snap in that overtime contest.
Auclair's season ends early due to a turf toe injury also sustained Sunday in Seattle. Auclair had started five of the team's first eight games and was frequently on the field in two-tight end packages, as he was considered the best blocker at that position. His injury continues an unfortunate trend at the position, with O.J. Howard missing two games due to a hamstring ailment and Cameron Brate being limited to just 11 snaps in Seattle with a ribs injury. The Bucs do believe that Howard will be back in action on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Bell (6-3, 235) was a seventh-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders this past spring, selected 230th overall. He landed on the Raiders' practice squad to begin the season but was released on October 15. Bell played his college ball at Prairie View A&M, where he played wide receiver his first three seasons before switching to defensive end as a senior. He recorded 7.5 sacks in 2018 and then ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his Pro Day to get on the radar of NFL scouts.
Darboh spent the last two games on Tampa Bay's active roster but was declared inactive for both contests. Prior to that, he was on the practice squad for five weeks.