For all the excitement surrounding the Bucs' eight draft picks, Tampa Bay was busy after the draft, signing 19 undrafted players to contracts and guaranteeing more than a half million dollars to three players.
Low-round picks aren't always a lock to stick on the Bucs' 53-man roster, and general manager Jason Licht has succeeded in finding undrafted gems, from early hits like Cam Brate, Adam Humphries and Peyton Barber to current contributors like Nick Leverett, Cam Gill and Deven Thompkins.
Some of the 19 undrafted rookies might have better chances to make the cut with Tampa Bay than some draft picks, and there are three worth mentioning, with significant guaranteed money and playing at positions with limited depth in place.
Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse
Tucker rushed for a Syracuse record 1,496 yards in 2021 — at a school that's had some legendary backs — and had another 1,000-yard season this past fall, rushing for a combined 23 touchdowns in the two years. He had a fifth/sixth-round grade from The Athletic's Dane Brugler. Tucker was a medical exclusion at the combine, which likely impacted his draft status. He has been medically cleared, and the Bucs reportedly guaranteed $155,000 to get him after the draft. That's less money than a season on the practice squad, but if Tampa Bay carries four backs on the 53, he could easily make the cut behind Racheed White, Chase Edmonds and Ke'Shawn Vaughn.
A former five-star recruit, Jarrett also had a fifth/sixth-round grade from Brugler but wasn't selected. The Bucs reportedly gave him $225,000 guaranteed, including a $25,000 bonus, after entering the draft with only five receivers on their roster. Jarrett had 62 catches for 829 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021, and 40 catches for 471 yards and three scores this past season. He's only 22 and still developing as a receiver, but he'll compete for the final jobs on the 53-man roster and practice squad.
Izien is only 5-foot-8, but was prolific for the Scarlet Knights, starting his final 41 games there and finishing with 303 career tackles. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and had four interceptions in 2020, and he's seen as a potential contributor on special teams, always a plus for a backup trying to crack the 53. The Bucs didn't re-sign Logan Ryan and saw Mike Edwards (Chiefs) and Keanu Neal (Steelers) sign elsewhere, so there isn't much depth behind Antoine Winfield and newcomer Ryan Neal. His deal with the Bucs had $165,000 guaranteed, including a $15,000 bonus.
No quarterback signed — yet
The Bucs have only two quarterbacks on roster in Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask, and they'd normally have four when training camp starts, so there will be a move or two in the next few months to add some depth.
The Bucs will bring in three quarterbacks as tryout players for their rookie minicamp, which runs May 12-14. Lindsey Scott of Incarnate Word and Kaylan Wiggins of Southeastern bring some intrigue to the minicamp. Kyle Vantrease had a breakout year at Georgia Southern last season, throwing for 4,253 yards and 27 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. He'd spent the previous five years at Buffalo, throwing for a total of 4,755 yards, 25 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
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Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react to news the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will sign former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal.
Scott attended five colleges in seven years, but finished with a bang at Incarnate Word, setting an NCAA record with 71 total touchdowns — 60 passing (against only eight interceptions) and 11 more on the ground. He's 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds, so short by NFL quarterback standards, but certainly worth a look as a dual-threat option. Wiggins, another small-school quarterback, threw for 1,548 yards and 10 touchdowns (against two interceptions) at Southeastern as a grad transfer this past season. In five years at Florida International, he finished with more rushing yards (426) than passing (305).
The Bucs could sign one of the two after minicamp — they have three spots left on the 90-man roster — and could also wait to grab an NFL veteran. It's possible they'll carry only two quarterbacks on the 53 and keep a third on the practice squad.
A kicker without a field goal
One of the cooler backstories among the undrafted rookies belongs to Arkansas kicker Jake Bates, who finds himself on an NFL roster despite never attempting a field goal or extra point in college. He earned first-team All-SEC honors as a kickoff specialist last fall, leading the nation in touchback percentage at 85 percent by getting touchbacks on 64 of 75 kickoffs with the Razorbacks. He did the same in the two previous years while at Texas State, handling only kickoff duties there. Bates started his college career as a soccer player at Central Arkansas, playing two seasons and scoring four goals in helping his school to Missouri Valley Conference championship.
The Bucs already have veteran Chase McLaughlin on roster and the job is likely his this fall, but there isn't so much guaranteed money that Bates couldn't win a competition. An NFL team really can't afford to roster a player just as a kickoff specialist, so Bates would have to show he has not only a strong leg but an accurate one, competing with another young kicker in Jake Verity. As a creative use of a roster spot, it will be fun to follow Bates' path to see if he can show enough to put himself in position to kick in preseason games.
Seven years of college football
How much experience can you pack into a college football career? One of the Bucs' tryout players is USF linebacker Dwayne Boyles, who set the Bulls' school record by playing in 54 games over five seasons. COVID gave any player eligible in 2020 a bonus year of eligibility, so it's not unusual to have a draft prospect with five years of college experience.
But what about seven? That's what UDFA linebacker Brandon Bouyer-Randle brings to the Bucs, playing an incredible 66 games at three different schools. He had solid numbers at Connecticut this past season, with 98 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two interceptions. Before that, he spent four years at Michigan State, including a redshirt year and a season limited to four games by injury, resulting in a medical redshirt. He then spent two years at Texas Tech, playing in 19 games before finishing with the Huskies.
He's been around long enough that he was a college teammate of linebacker Riley Bullough, who was a rookie with the Bucs in 2017, six years ago.
Yes, that Warner
In addition to drafting Nebraska's Trey Palmer, the Bucs signed four undrafted rookie receivers, among them Kansas State's Kade Warner, who is the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. Kade had a breakout 2022 season, finishing with 46 catches for 456 yards and five touchdowns. In three years at Nebraska and his first at Kansas State, he had totaled 402 yards and no touchdowns before this past season. The 6-foot, 203-pound receiver faces tough odds to make the Bucs' cut, but it's hard to count him out when his father remains one of the best underdog stories in NFL history.
Greg Auman is FOX Sports’ NFC South reporter, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.