After the Draft…Undrafted Free Agency

The 2018 NFL Draft may be over, but that doesn’t mean the work stops for the Buccaneers front office and scouting department. In fact, it gets even more hectic. As soon as the draft ends, the undrafted free agent frenzy begins. Any college player that wasn’t drafted by a team immediately becomes a free agent and is available to sign with whoever comes calling. Some of the more sought-after prospects have an opportunity to negotiate bonuses to sign a contract. Other players who aren’t so popular may simply be offered an invite to rookie camp tryouts for a chance to sign a contract to be on the 90-man roster.

Jason Licht was able to address a number of needs during the draft. He added depth to the interior of the defensive and offensive lines with first-round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea and third-round pick tackle/guard Alex Cappa. He added a ton of depth to the secondary using two of their second-round picks on cornerbacks Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart along with fourth-round pick safety Jordan Whitehead. He added competition for the starting running back job with second-round pick Ronald Jones. He added depth and size to the receiving corps with fifth-round pick wide receiver Justin Watson. And he added depth to the linebacking group with sixth-round pick Jack Cichy. Even after such an amazing draft by Licht and his scouting department, there are always ways to continue improving the roster. The next step of that process begins with undrafted free agency. So I’ll start with the 14 UFA’s that have OFFICIALLY signed contracts with the Bucs so far.

OT Cole Boozer, Temple:

6’5″/300lbs, ran a 5.09 forty, 26 bench reps, 30″ vert- former tight end who was converted to a tackle, plus athleticism, raw ability

SS Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern:

6’/215lbs, ran a 4.44 forty, 19 bench reps, 35.5″ vert, 10’8″ broad- started 44 straight games in college…totaled 324 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 7 interceptions…hard hitting, ball gawking safety…highly intelligent…productive special teamer

RB/WR Ervin Philips, Syracuse:

5’11″/185lbs, ran a 4.52 forty, 12 bench reps, 34.5″ vert, 9’8″ broad- 46 games, 2,600 all purpose yards, 20 touchdowns, 8 yds per touch

TE Jason Reese, Missouri:

6’5″/255lbs, ran a 4.88 forty, 17 bench reps, 32″ vert, 9’6″ broad- 18 games, 29 receptions, 369 yards, 5 touchdowns, 12.7 yards per catch

DE Demone Harris, Buffalo:

6’4″/260lbs, ran a 4.82 forty, 32.5″ vert, 10’1″ broad- 35 games, 106 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks

WR Sergio Bailey, Eastern Michigan:

6’/190lbs, 4.48 forty, 15 bench reps, 35″ vert, 10’3″ broad- 25 games, 114 receptions, 1,746 yards, 16 touchdowns, 15.3 yards per catch

DE Antonio Simmons, Georgia Tech:

6’3″/250lbs, 4.5 forty- 33 games, 83 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles

K Trevor Moore, North Texas:

5’11″/190lbs- 49 games, 53 of 66 FGs, 80% FG, 154 of 154 XPs, 100% XP, long of 51yds

TE/FB Donnie Ernsberger, Western Michigan:

6’3″/255lbs, 4.78 forty, 15 bench reps, 31″ vert, 9’6″ broad- 22 games, 45 receptions, 528 yards, 5 touchdowns, 11.7 yards per catch

QB Austin Allen, Arkansas:

6’/220lbs- 27 games, 359 for 607, 59% comp, 5,045 yards, 36 touchdowns, 21 interceptions

DE Evan Perrizo, Minnesota State:

6’5″/275lbs- 25 games, 93 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks

RB Shaun Wilson, Duke:

5’9″/185lbs, 4.46 forty, 17 bench reps, 37″ vert, 9’11” broad- 49 games, 475 carries, 2,463 yards, 18 touchdowns, 5.2 yards per carry

DB Josh Liddell, Arkansas:

6’1″/210lbs, 4.56 forty, 14 bench reps, 36″ vert, 10’9″ broad- 37 games, 177 tackles, 5 interceptions, 9 passes defensed

TE/WR Tanner Hudson, South Arkansas:

6’4″/200lbs- 34 games, 135 receptions, 2,084 yards, 23 touchdowns, 14.6 yards per catch

 

I think the biggest surprise out of this group is that the Bucs signed three tight ends, which already seemed to be a position of strength on this team. They’re most likely just looking for one to develop on the practice squad.

Safety Godwin Igwebuike was projected as a fourth-round pick in the draft and for some reason slipped through the cracks. He was heavily recruited after the draft and luckily decided to sign with the Bucs.

Now for the other players that were invited to attend the Buccaneers rookie camp coming up this month and could have a chance to join the team for training camp this summer.

RB Jordan Huff, Northern Illinois:

5’10″/220lbs- 43 games, 333 carries, 2,167 yards, 20 touchdowns, 6.5 yards per carry

P Joseph Zema, Incarnate Word:

6’2″/210lbs- 77 punts, 46.7 yards per, long of 75 yds, 31 punts of 50+ yds, 22 fair catches, 20 punts inside 20yd line, only 5 touchbacks and 1 punt blocked

TE Brian Bridgewater, LSU:

6’4″/265lbs- high school tight end, basketball player at LSU

QB Riley Ferguson, Memphis:

6’4″/210lbs, 26 games, 579 of 917, 63% comp, 7,955 yards, 70 touchdowns, 19 interceptions

RB Ryan Wolpin, Boise State:

5’8″/195lbs, 4.56 forty, 19 bench reps, 383 bench max, 555 squat max- 26 games, 160 carries, 642 yards, 6 touchdowns, 4 yards per carry

G/T/C Ruben Holcomb, Indianapolis:

6’4″/320lbs

DE Christian Johnson, Memphis:

6’5″/270lbs, 4.82 forty, 19 bench reps, 31″ vert- 34 games, 68 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks

LB Nick MacBeath, Holy Cross:

6’1″/220lbs, 4 years, 322 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 8 passes defensed, 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles

RB Jamal Morrow, Washington State:

5’9″/205lbs, 4.4 forty- 49 games, 316 carries, 1,795 yards, 9 touchdowns, 202 receptions, 1,748 yards, 14 touchdowns

WR Chris Murray, Arkansas State:

5’9″/180lbs, 4.45 forty, 16 bench reps, 31″ vert, 9’7″ broad- 36 games, 84 receptions, 1,215 yards, 13 touchdowns, 14.5 yards per catch

G/C Josh Cardiello, Chattanooga:

6’3″/305lbs, 5.2 forty

 

As you can see, there could be some decent competition in rookie camp this year and there are some intriguing prospects here. Joseph Zema, the punter from Incarnate Word, has some impressive statistics and could be an heir apparent to Bryan Anger eventually. Washington State running back Jamal Morrow has some eye-popping numbers as a dual-threat back. Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson could have some potential as a practice squad QB with his 8,000 yards and 70 TD’s in 26 career games. Most of these guys likely won’t make the team. But the last few years have shown that Jason Licht and his staff have a knack for finding diamonds in the rough after the draft. Hopefully, that’s the case here too and we’ll see some of these young men end up on the Bucs 10-man practice squad or even on the 53-man active roster. We’ll know in a few weeks.

Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!

 

 

Jon Hinkle

Jon Hinkle

My name is Jon Hinkle, also know as Deez Bucz to most Buccaneers fans. I have been given the opportunity by WhatTheBuc.net to do some writing about one of my favorite subjects...Buccaneer football and all that goes with it. This is my first public writing gig, so I'm hoping that I can entertain the fine fans of Tampa Bay while learning and gaining experience towards a possible new career in sports reporting. I hope everyone enjoys the fruits of my labor and I look forward to bringing some new and exciting stories to Bucs Nation! And as always.....GO BUCS!!!

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