Nathan Bazata wasn't drafted after his senior season at Iowa and he didn't immediately find himself in any NFL team's training camp, but he might be playing in an NFL game on Thursday night.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Bazata as an undrafted rookie on Wednesday, adding some depth to a defensive line that is currently without the services of Vita Vea and William Gholston due to injuries. The Buccaneers play their preseason opener on Thursday night in Miami and Bazata would be eligible to play, though that would represent an awfully quick turnaround with the playbook.
To make room for Bazata on the 91-man camp roster, the Buccaneers waived first-year cornerback David Rivers with an injury designation.
Bazata (6-1, 282) played in 47 games over his four seasons at Iowa, starting 37 of them. His career totals for the Hawkeyes included 136 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and four passes defensed. He also recorded a safety as a senior and blocked a field goal as a sophomore. An Academic All-Big Ten selection in each of his four seasons, Bazata was also an honorable mention all-conference choice for his on-field work as a senior.
Rivers entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted free agent with the Packers. He joined the Buccaneers' practice squad in September, served on that crew for about two months and then was waived and signed by the Dolphins for two weeks in December. Rivers came back to Tampa just before the end of the regular season, this time as a member of the active roster, and he saw action in one game.