Predicting Tampa Bay Buccaneers' First Wave of Roster Cuts
Despite torrential rains, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off training camp this past weekend, beginning their trek to improve on last year's league-worst 2-14 record.
Tampa Bay's first training-camp practice was delayed and eventually moved from the team's facility at One Buccaneer Place to the practice facility at the University of South Florida, due to severe flooding in southern Tampa.
But the Bucs were still able to get some work in that evening, and the rain played nice for their entire practice on Sunday, allowing them to get their first real look at their 90-man roster as the preseason inches closer.
With the first round of roster cuts on the horizon, which players are likely to be among the first sent packing?
S Kimario McFadden
Originally signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent, Kimario McFadden has already made his rounds through most of the NFC South in his young pro career.
The South Carolina State product spent time on the practice squad for the Falcons and Carolina Panthers last season before ending up in that same group in Tampa. He signed a deal with the Panthers in January, but was waived in May.
Now back with the Bucs, McFadden faces a rough road to make an impact at a safety position that has plenty of depth ahead of him. Some combination of Bradley McDougald, Major Wright and D.J. Swearinger will likely end up as the starters, while Chris Conte and Keith Tandy both have plenty of NFL experience and will provide solid depth.
Expect McFadden to move on sooner rather than later.
OT Edawn Coughman
An undrafted free agent out of Shaw University, Edawn Coughman started his professional career with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, playing two seasons before moving on to the NFL.
Coughman spent the next three seasons bouncing between NFL teams, logging stints with the Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, along with a previous run with the Bucs in August 2014.
Tampa Bay's offensive line played poorly last season, but they've added depth via the draft this year, which will make it tough for Coughman to carve out a spot on the roster. Rookie Donovan Smith will fight second-year pro Kevin Pamphile for the starting left tackle job, while Demar Dotson will lock down his spot on the right side.
The Bucs won't keep too many extra bodies behind them, but Garrett Gilkey is a versatile player, and the team wants to give him a chance to rebound from an awful 2014 campaign. Don't expect Tampa Bay to keep another tackle outside of that group. Coughman will likely be on the outside looking in.
DE George Uko
Yet another undrafted free agent, George Uko signed with the Bucs after a senior season at Southern California that saw him post five sacks and seven tackles for loss for the Trojans.
Uko spent most of the 2014 season on Tampa Bay's practice squad before being promoted to the active roster in December, appearing in one game.
The Bucs don't have star power at defensive end, but there will still be quite a few players ahead of Uko in the pecking order. Also, at 6'3", 284 pounds, Uko is more suited to play defensive tackle in a 4-3, where the Bucs are even deeper.
Expect players like Larry English, T.J. Fatinikun, Lawrence Sidbury and William Gholston to make the roster as reserve defensive ends before Uko.
LB Larry Dean
A product of Valdosta State, Larry Dean has the most regular-season NFL experience of anyone on this list, appearing in 61 career games and playing mostly on special teams.
Dean entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011, spending time with the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills before signing with the Bucs in April.
His special teams experience is definitely a plus, but Dean will still have a hard time carving out a roster spot in Tampa. The Bucs traded up in the fourth round to land LSU's Kwon Alexander, who has the versatility to start on the strong side as well as provide depth in the middle if needed.
Even if the Bucs keep six linebackers, look for Orie Lemon and Khaseem Greene to make the final roster over Dean.
CB Jude Adjei-Barimah
A late addition to the 90-man roster last week, Jude Adjei-Barimah joined the Bucs after a trip to rookie minicamp with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he arrived as a tryout player but left without a contract offer.
The rookie tallied an impressive 82 tackles for Bowling Green as a senior in 2014, proving he's comfortable and effective in run support, which is vital in the Tampa 2.
But although he may have traits the Bucs like, he's unlikely to make a big enough splash in training camp to earn a roster spot, given the depth at cornerback. On the outside, the Bucs are four deep with Johnthan Banks, Alterraun Verner, Mike Jenkins and Sterling Moore, with Isaiah Frey and Leonard Johnson working at the nickel spot.
Brandon Dixon made a strong impression last year, and he should be a lock to make the team as a reserve corner and special teams player. Those seven guys will make the final roster long before Adjei-Barimah, who might score a spot on the practice squad.