Yardbarker Horiz

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Offseason Roster Swells To 75 Players

The Buccaneers wasted no time signing the eight men on their end-of-season practice squad and have rapidly closed in on the 80-man offseason roster limit.

The end-of-season roster contained 67 players.  The Buccaneers have since added the 8 men who finished the season on the practice squad:

S Vince Anderson
G Marc Dile
LB JD Folsom
WR Ed Gant
LB Simoni Lawrence
C/G John Malecki
FB Rendrick Taylor
DE EJ Wilson

Vince Anderson started the season on the practice squad as part of the "second draft" put together by GM Mark Dominik after post-training camp roster cuts.  Anderson was activated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on November 30th when S Cody Grimm was placed on IR.  On December 21st, the Buccaneers cut Anderson from the roster and signed him back to the practice squad two days later on December 23rd.

Marc Dile is a familiar face on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad.  He spent the entire 2009 season on the Buccaneers practice squad as well as the entire offseason on the 80-man roster leading up to the 2010 season, but was cut during the post training camp roster reductions.  Dile then returned to the practice squad on December 16th.  Dile played college football at South Florida.

The other faces are not as familiar:

  • Folsom was on the squad from late September until mid October, then returned mid-December.  He is a 6'3", 228 lb linebacker from Weber State.  He was a 7th round selection by the Miami Dolphins in 2009.
  • Gant joined the practice squad in late November.  He spent 2009 on the Cardinals practice squad but was suspended for the first four games of 2010 for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.  He is a 6'3", 200 lb wide receiver out of North Alabama and played high school ball at Cape Coral High School.  A scouting report from his North Alabama pro day states "This is the kind of player who shows so much athleticism he can be switched to defensive back if it doesn’t work out at wide receiver".  He was undrafted in 2009.
  • Lawrence is a 6'1", 232 lb linebacker from the University of Minnesota.  TBO.com projected him as a 4th round selection, but he went undrafted in 2010.  He was picked up by the Eagles and cut, landed with the Bears and reached their 53-man roster before being cut and picked up by the Buccaneers.  His combine workout is available to watch on NFL.com.    He has some experience as Safety from college.
  • Malecki is a 6'2", 300 lb offensive linemen from the University of Pittsburgh.  An undrafted in 2010, he was picked up but later cut by the Tennessee Titans.  Tampa Bay signed him to their practice squad on October 26th, but later cut him on November 17th.  The Cleveland Browns picked him up for a couple weeks, then released him, and Tampa Bay brought him back to the practice squad on December 1st.
  • Taylor was signed by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent just after the 2010 NFL Draft.  He did not make the post-camp roster cuts but did rejoin Tampa Bay on December 8th, 2010.  He is a 6'2", 265 lb fullback out of Clemson University.
  • Wilson is a 6'4", 286 lb defensive end from the University of North Carolina.  Wilson was originally drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 4th round.  This smells exactly like the type of player GM Mark Dominik finds from time to time -- a solid draft talent which did not fit in where he went originally, but had captured the Buccaneers attention and so merits a solid look on the practice squad.  This is the second time in two years the Buccaneers have snatched a drafted defensive end from the Seattle Seahawks (Micheal Bennett, 6th rounder, 2009).

This brings the offseason head count to 75 players.  Tampa Bay has a full set of draft picks in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft, which would add seven more players, bringing the total headcount to 82 players.  Currently suspended Tanard Jackson does not count against the head count, so there seems to be a one man surplus at this time.

Considering the impact of practice squad players in 2010, these players may be noisemakers heading into  training camp next season.  The common theme seems to be athletes who could play safety.  Is Tampa Bay looking for a particular physical size for safeties going forward?

With the performance of free agents the past two year, the roster is getting tougher to crack.  These men face a rough challenge, but it is a challenge others have overcome in Tampa Bay.

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