As we noted on Saturday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reduced their roster to the regular-season limit, "final" cuts are rarely actually final. The first iteration of a team's 53-man roster often gets an edit or two in the days that follow as the league-wide waiver wire is flooded with hundreds of players.
That was the case once again for the Buccaneers on Sunday. One day after releasing 21 players and placing kicker on the reserve/non-football-injury list, the Buccaneers found two new players on that waiver wire: defensive tackle Chris Jones and wide receiver Russell Shepard. After successfully making those two waiver claims, the Buccaneers made room on the roster by waiving linebacker Najee Goode and releasing wide receiver Tiquan Underwood.
Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik likes to refer to the post-cuts waiver-wire work as the "second draft," and that's underscored by the fact that Jones was a sixth-round pick of the Houston Texans this past April. A team can only make a finite number of selections during any given draft, but that doesn't stop it from tracking other prospects it had interest in and being ready to pounce if they become available.
The 6-2, 306-pound Jones adds depth to Tampa Bay's interior D-Line after Saturday's cuts left only three defensive tackles on the depth chart. The former Bowling Green standout played in 50 collegiate games with 43 consecutive starts and was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference selection. Jones was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors his senior season after racking up 12.5 sacks and was named third-team All-American by the Associated Press.
Shepard (6-1, 195) is also a rookie, and he entered the NFL in April as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles. Before he was waived on Saturday, Shepard recorded three catches for 42 yards for Philadelphia during the preseason. At Louisiana State, he played quarterback, running back and wide receiver after arriving in Baton Rouge as the nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback. He finished his LSU career with 733 rushing yards, 565 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns.
Goode was a fifth-round draft pick out of West Virginia in 2012. He saw action in three games as a rookie and during the 2013 preseason recorded a team-high 19 tackles plus an interception return for a touchdown. Underwood played in 14 games with three starts for the Buccaneers in 2012 and contributed 28 catches for 425 yards and two touchdowns.
The additions of Jones and Shephard raise the number of rookies on the Buccaneers' current 53-man roster to 10, including all six of the team's 2013 draft picks and undrafted pick-ups cornerback Rashaan Melvin and tight end Tim Wright.