- After bringing back six of their own recent cuts, the Bucs finished the practice squad with four players from around the league
- Rookie CB Brandon Dixon was a sixth-round pick of the Jets and a final-cut casualty on Saturday
- Practice squad players can practice with the team but can't play in games unless promoted to the active roster first
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have formed their first full practice squad of 2014, in time for the first practice of Carolina Week. The Buccaneers had 10 spots to fill and, after bringing back six of their own recently-waived players on Sunday, completed the process on Monday with four young players from around the league. All four add depth to the defense, during the week of practice at least.
Those four are: cornerback Derrius Brooks, waived over the weekend by the Cincinnati Bengals; cornerback Brandon Dixon, a sixth-round pick of the New York Jets this past May; linebacker Carlos Fields, formerly an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders; and safety Kimario McFadden, most recently of the Atlanta Falcons.
The NFL expanded the practice squad from eight to 10 players in 2014, news that was greeted with appreciation by coaches around the league. The league also tweaked the eligibility rules, allowing two of those 10 spots to be used on players who had up to two years of accrued free agency credit and thus widening the field of potential practice squad candidates. The only player on the first iteration of the Buccaneers' squad who fits that bill is quarterback Mike Kafka, who was among the six players re-signed on Sunday.
As the name suggests, practice squad players can practice with the team during the week but are not eligible to play in games unless they are first promoted to the active roster. These players are also eligible to be signed at any team by other teams, as long as the other team is adding them to the active roster. This rule is to ensure that the practice squad offers young players a chance to develop and eventually make it in the league without restricting other opportunities.
Here is the Bucs' entire 10-man practice squad (NFL experience in parentheses):
- TE Cameron Brate (R)
- CB Derrius Brooks (1)
- RB Jeff Demps (2)
- CB Brandon Dixon (R)
- LB Carlos Fields (R)
- QB Mike Kafka (3)
- LB Brandon Magee (2)
- DT Matthew Masifilo (2)
- S Kimario McFadden (R)
- WR Solomon Patton (R)
Brooks (5-10, 192) originally entered the league as a college free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012, before going to play in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders in 2013. The former Western Kentucky Hilltopper spent this offseason and preseason with the New Orleans Saints and was part of their final round of cuts. He will wear No. 36 for the Buccaneers.
After working out at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Northwest Missouri State CB Brandon Dixon heard his name called in the sixth round of the draft by the New York Jets
Dixon (5-11, 203) was a sixth-round (195th overall) pick by the New York Jets in the 2014 NFL Draft, spending this offseason and preseason with them before being waived in the final cuts. Dixon played collegiately at Northwest Missouri State and will wear No. 39 for the Buccaneers.
Fields (6-1, 238) joins Tampa Bay after spending this past offseason and preseason with the Oakland Raiders, who signed him as a college free agent out of Winston-Salem State and waived him in their final cuts. Fields will wear No. 58 for the Buccaneers.
McFadden (5-11, 197), a product of South Carolina State, was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as a college free agent, following the 2014 NFL Draft. He spent this past offseason and preseason with them before being waived in final cuts. He will wear No. 33 for the Buccaneers.