Yardbarker Horiz

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let The Practice Squad Search Begin

Since camp started Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik has pulled the strings on three personnel moves.

Gone are Safety Matt O'Hanlon, Defensive End George Johnson, and Wide Receiver Marrio Urrutia.

New to camp are Cornerback Darrell Pasco, Defensive Back Vince Anderson, and Tight End Martin Rucker.

This continues a trend from the regular season last year when a large number of defensive backs were rotated through One Buccaneer Place.  What is Dominik looking for?  A particular type of special teams player?  Better depth at Corner? at Safety?  All of the above?

There are now 15 defensive backs (Corners & Safeties combined) on the roster, nearly one fifth of the available 80 roster spots.  Obviously this number will be reduced before the season begins.

None of these players come in with more than 2 years of NFL experience, nor are they accomplished players as yet, so it would be way off base to think these are offensive or defensive starters.  Certainly they may be well known as special teams players but only Special Teams Coach Rich Bisaccia would know for sure.  It seems more likely the Buccaneers have started looking for some hidden gems for the practice squad. These players could see time this Saturday night in the first preseason game and need to make an impression quickly.  Watch for when they play and how much -- it will give a barometer on what they might bring to the team.

There is one additional angle to consider for the only one of these three players who was a draft pick:  Martin Rucker, who was selected by Cleveland in the 4th round in 2008.  Rucker was an accomplished Tight End coming out of Missouri.  In fact, he finished his college career as the most prolific pass-catching Tight End in the school's history.  Think that's not saying much?  Ask Kellen Winslow -- The First -- who shares the same Alma Mater as Rucker.  With two of the five oldest players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being Tight Ends (John Gilmore and Jerramy Stevens both with 9 years in the NFL) and add in that apparently the Cowboys were also interested in Rucker and this almost plays out like an extra 4th round draft choice addressing a future need now.  Of course, he has to make the team first!  Rucker is certainly a preseason name to watch.

Mark Dominik has an established history of finding the occasional gem (Donald Penn from the Minnesota practice squad, Tim Crowder from the waiver wire last year), so these players are worth keeping an eye on.  Hopefully they all will get enough playing time Saturday night to see what they bring to the table!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated -- Please have something relevant to contribute and back up your facts.

There was an error in this gadget