Tampa Bay Buccaneers Receivers: Where Does Tiquan Underwood Fit In?

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMay 8, 2012

Tiquan Underwood joins a crowded receiver roster.
Tiquan Underwood joins a crowded receiver roster.Elsa/Getty Images

Are you beginning to sense a pattern here?

The Buccaneers were ready to sign their sixth Rutgers player and that would be wide receiver Tiquan Underwood—most famous for being waived by the New England Patriots on the eve of Super Bowl XLVI.

The Tampa Bay Times has him on board as soon as today.

There are five players who will compete, not counting the inspirational Eric LeGrand, who has a roster spot that won't count against the final squad, but his heart and soul are desperately needed on this team.

Now back to Underwood.

He was a seventh-round pick by the Jaguars in the 2009 draft, out of, you guessed it, Rutgers. Schiano isn't wasting any time bringing in guys who understand his expectations.

Here's how Tampa's receiving corps stacks up with his addition: Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Sammie Stoughter, Preston Parker, Dez Briscoe, Ed Gant, undrafted rookie Tyler Shoemaker from Boise State and now Underwood.

Is Bart Simpson Tiquan Underwood's role model?
Is Bart Simpson Tiquan Underwood's role model?Patrick Smith/Getty Images

This season is the acid test for Josh Freeman, so to speak, as it's basically now or never for Big Free. He's in the fourth year of his contract and this season will go along way towards determining how much of the franchise this "franchise quarterback" might be.

In the receiver competition, there are six, maybe seven spots open on the final roster.

The Bucs are certainly going to keep Jackson, Williams and Benn, which means the rest and anyone else they sign before camp will be competing for three or four spots. There are six in the battle for those spots now that Underwood comes aboard.

Underwood fits the team's mold, he's only 25 years old and not small by any means at 6'1'' 185 pounds.

Did we mention he's a Rutgers guy?

Of course we did, but you get the hint, you see the pattern.

There's no telling what sort of fallout there will be after June 1, when teams dump veteran players for salary cap reasons. Maybe there's another big name who will land here to compete for a starting job?

In the meantime, Underwood will battle for one of those three or four spots.

What you're beginning to see is a lot more competition than you saw over the past two years with the Buccaneers.

And that's the way it should be.