Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Bucs Beef Up Rookie Class with 16 College Free Agents

This year's additions in the "eighth round" of the draft include Judge Culpepper, the son of former Buccaneer Brad Culpepper, and productive Florida State linebacker Kalen DeLoach


In 2023, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected eight players over the course of seven rounds of that year's NFL Draft. When they fashioned their first regular-season roster a little over four months later, they had 13 rookies among their 53 players. That's a vivid illustration of how important the "eighth round" can be to roster building in the NFL.

The eighth round is a common nickname for the frantic hours of phone calls and sales pitches that follow the last pick of the draft, as teams vie to land coveted prospects who did not get drafted. The Buccaneers signed 20 rookies in that initial rush a year ago, and six of them made the opening-day roster: safety Christian Izien, wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, safety Kaevon Merriweather, cornerback Derrek Pitts, running back Sean Tucker and RB Markees Watts. (Sixth-round draft pick Jose Ramirez ended up on the practice squad.)

This year, the Buccaneers' college free agent signings, which so far stand at a total of 16, include the son of a former Buccaneer, an undersized but highly productive linebacker from the pipeline that brought Derrick Brooks to Tampa, and a cornerback with 4.4 speed and eight interceptions over the past two seasons.

The 16 newest Buccaneers will take part in a three-day mini-camp from Friday through Sunday and will be joined by select first-year players and several dozen additional players participating on tryout contracts.

Here are the 16 players the Buccaneers have signed so far as undrafted free agents (UDFAs) in 2024:

Table inside Article
Pos. Player College
QB Zack Annexstad Illinois State
S Marcus Banks Mississippi State
DL Judge Culpepper Toledo
G Xavier Delgado Missouri
LB Kalen DeLoach Florida State
CB Tyrek Funderburk Appalachian State
LB Antonio Grier Arkansas
OLB Daniel Grzesiak Cincinnati
WR Kameron Johnson Barton College
G Avery Jones Auburn
WR Latreal Jones Southern Mississippi
WR Tanner Knue Eastern Michigan
CB Chris McDonald Toledo
OLB Shaun Peterson UCF
RB DJ Williams Arizona
S Rashad Wisdom UTSA

The son of a former Buccaneers player is Toledo defensive lineman Culpepper, whose father Brad played the same position and was in Tampa for six of his nine NFL seasons. The younger Culpepper (6-4, 290) started his college career at Penn State in 2018 but gained much more playing time after transferring to Toledo in 2021. Last season, he earned first-team All-MAC honors after racking up 9.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss, both team highs for the Rockets. He played his prep ball at Plant High School in Tampa and was a first-team All-Tampa selection as a senior.

DeLoach (5-11, 210), a Florida State linebacker like Bucs Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, showed off 4.47-second speed in the 40-yard dash at the Combine and racked up 10.0 sacks over the past two seasons. He started 37 games over the past three seasons and overall produced 212 tackles, 11.0 sacks, two interceptions, 13 passes defensed and two forced fumbles in 55 games as a Seminole. A decorated high school athlete in Savannah, Georgia, DeLoach played linebacker, defensive line, running back, tight end, kick returner and punter. He finished his prep career with more than 400 tackles on defense, 911 rushing yards on offense and five return touchdowns on special teams.

Funderburk (5-11, 186) played four seasons at Richmond before finishing his collegiate career last year at Appalachian State. In his final year with the Spiders he snared four interceptions and notched 14 passes defensed, totals he nearly matched in his one year with the Mountaineers, where he contributed four interceptions and 12 passes defensed. Overall, Funderburk played 55 games in his college days, with 34 starts, and amassed 123 tackles, 11 interceptions, 33 passes defensed and three forced fumbles.

Annexstad (6-3, 220) gives the Buccaneers four quarterbacks on the 90-man roster, joining Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask and John Wolford. Annexstad began his college career at Minnesota, where he was named the starting quarterback as a true freshman. He started the first seven games of that season but was limited by injuries in the second half and played only sparingly for the Gophers over the next three years. Annexstad then transferred to Illinois State in 2022 and started the next two seasons for the Redbirds, compiling 3,547 passing yards and 27 touchdown passes against 12 interceptions.

Banks (6-0, 190) played three seasons at Alabama before transferring to Mississippi State for his final two collegiate campaigns. He emerged as a starter in his fifth-year senior season for the Bulldogs, opening 12 games and recording 51 tackles. Overall, he played in 49 games with 13 starts during his five college seasons, tallying 73 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defensed. He also scored two defensive touchdowns for Mississippi State on laterals after interceptions by his teammates.

Delgado (6-4, 329) started 41 games at guard over his final four seasons at Missouri, including the last 20 of his Tigers career. In 2023, he was a key part of a Mizzou unit that was named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, which honors the most outstanding offensive line in the nation. The Tigers ranked 25th in the nation in total offense (442.9 yards per game) last season and topped 200 rushing yards in a game five different times. Overall, Delgado played in 58 games during his Missouri tenure.

After playing most of his college career at nearby South Florida, Grier (6-1, 230) transferred to Arkansas in 2023 for his graduate student season and recorded a 26-yard pick-six on his very first defensive snap for the Razorbacks against Kent State. Including his five seasons at USF, Grier appeared in 58 games with 30 starts and racked up 265 tackles, 10.0 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and four passes defensed. He was a second team All-ACC selection twice for the Bulls.

Grzesiak (6-1, 250) finished his college career at Cincinnati in 2023 after three seasons at Nevada (2019-21) and one at Utah State (2022). In his lone year with the Bearcats, he amassed 46 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss and three passes defensed across 12 starts at outside linebacker. In his 2022 campaign at USU, Grzesiak led the Aggies with 8.5 sacks and added 52 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Across his three collegiate stops he got into 48 games and finished with 138 tackles and 19.5 sacks.

Johnson (5-10, 170) was an all-conference selection in each of his last two seasons at Barton College, including a 2023 season in which he hauled in 51 passes for 879 yards and seven touchdowns, all single-season personal bests. Johnson played in a total of 37 games over four seasons and finished with 151 receptions for 2,316 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 15.3 yards per catch. He also ran 22 times for 125 yards and threw two touchdown passes.

A. Jones (6-4, 307) completed his college playing career at Auburn in 2023 after spending the previous three seasons at East Carolina. He stepped right in as the starting center for the Tigers last year but was limited to eight total games due to injury. Jones was also the starting center for most of the previous two seasons for the Pirates, though he also made eight starts at guard in 2021.

L. Jones (6-1, 195) played two seasons at Southern Miss after starting his college playing days at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Mississippi, coincidentally the school from which the Buccaneers drafted wide receiver Larry Brackins in 2005. Jones played in 24 games over his two seasons with the Golden Eagles, hauling in 46 passes for 622 yards and three touchdowns. Last season, he caught 36 passes for 498 yards and three scores.

Knue (5-11, 178) had a productive four-year run at Eastern Michigan, with his season-by-season reception totals jumping from 27 as a freshman to 32, 45 and 50 in each successive year. His final totals in 35 games for EMU included 154 catches for 1,866 yards and 17 touchdowns. Knue's nine touchdown catches in his 2022 junior year tied for the third most in a single season in school history.

McDonald (5-10, 192) appeared in 57 games over five seasons at Toledo and compiled 32 career passes defensed, the third-highest total in school annals. He was a third-team All-MAC selection in 2023 after knocking down eight passes and recording two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. McDonald's career totals for the Rockets included 141 tackles, five interceptions, and a forced fumble to go with those 32 pass breakups.

Peterson (6-3, 240) began his collegiate career as a running back at Florida International, a position he played for three years before switching to defense in 2022. In his first season as a linebacker, Peterson led the Panthers with 6.0 sacks to go with 8.0 tackles for loss, 28 overall stops, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two passes defensed. In 2023, he transferred to UCF and played in 12 games, contributing 14 tackles and one sack.

The college journey for Williams (6-0, 225) began at Auburn, where he played 19 games with three starts over two seasons and logged 122 carries for 599 yards and five touchdowns. In 2021, Williams played for Florida State and got into six games before moving on to Arizona in 2022. In two seasons for the Wildcats, he ran for 748 yards and eight scores on 135 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per tote.

Wisdom (5-9, 210) played five seasons at UTSA, getting into 57 games and starting all but one of them. He was a first-team all-conference selection three times in five seasons, twice in Conference USA and then again in the American Athletic Conference as a senior. He recorded 314 career tackles and added 4.0 sacks, 13.0 tackles for loss, five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), 15 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. In 2020, he tied for the conference lead and matched a school record with four interceptions.

Related Content

Latest Headlines