List of tryout players for Bucs rookie minicamp growing
Before you go questioning the significance of tryout players at rookie minicamp, remember that this time last year, such a list included receivers Adam Humphries and Donteea Dye, who not only signed as free agents and made the Bucs' active roster, but played a significant amount of football last season.
The Bucs' rookie minicamp starts Friday at One Buc Place, and we've already run through the 19 undrafted free agents who were signed to join Tampa Bay's seven draft picks. We're up to 16 tryout players confirmed now as well, so here's the rundown on those as we continue to add new names to the list:
Micah Awe, LB/S, Texas Tech: Last name is AH-way -- led Red Raiders with 126 tackles last season. Born in Nigeria, he's only 6 feet, 220 pounds, so more likely to stick as a safety at the NFL level.
Marqus Baker, CB, Buffalo: Played at Tampa's Robinson High, emerged as starter as senior with 71 tackles and 12 pass breakups. Only one career interception, but participated in Bucs' local predraft workout.
Steven Bench, QB, USF: Largely a backup at USF, threw for 1,180 yards and seven touchdowns in three season with the Bulls. Showed enough at local workout to get the callback, but Bucs already have four QBs on their roster.
Dave Bowen, OT, Boston College: Went to college as a tight end and grew into 6-7, 291-pound starting left tackle for Eagles. Bucs have upside UDFA offensive linemen already in Leonard Wester and Domnique Robertson.
Travis Britz, DT, Kansas State: Not often you have a defensive tackle with a special-teams resume, but he blocked five kicks while at Kansas State. Had 11 TFLs and four sacks as senior, with 36 career starts. Had four TFLs in one game against Texas last fall.
Phillip Ely, QB, Toledo: Former Plant standout started his career at Alabama as a backup on two national championship teams, finally got a full season as starter at Toledo last fall. Again, Bucs' existing QB depth will make it tough for him to be signed.
Brynjar Gudmundsson, OL, USF: Great name -- was USF's starting center last season after starting at right tackle and right and left guard. Impressed enough at Bulls' local predraft workout to get a call back for rookie minicamp.
Kelby Johnson, OT, Louisville: Late addition to the tryout list -- he started his career at Virginia and spent last two years at Louisville -- tall at 6-7, 300 pounds, he could get a look at tackle or guard.
Thor Jozwiak, OL, USF: Great name again, and overcame medical issues to return as Bulls' starting left guard last season. Father Brian was a first-round pick of Chiefs in 1986 out of West Virginia.
Mike Kozlakowski, DE, Maine: Get your "Monsters Inc." jokes in -- had 4.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss for Black Bears.
Roman Namdar, WR, Mount Union: Initially thought to be a signee, he put up huge numbers for same Division III power that sent Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts to the NFL. Had 38 touchdowns in his last two seasons, but still faces tough odds in deep receiver group.
Darryl Paulo, DE, Washington State: Led Cougars with seven sacks and 13 TFLs as senior. Bucs' returning depth at defensive end means rookies would have to beat out a veteran to stick on roster.
Zach Shaw, LB, Indiana: Played some end and linebacker for Hoosiers -- would be, at 6-3, 259 pounds, biggest LB on Bucs roster if he stuck. Finished with nine career sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss with 24 career starts.
Justin Shirk, FB, Bloomsburg: Shirk was at Bucs rookie minicamp last year as a linebacker -- had 243 tackles in his last two seasons at Bloomberg. He hasn't played offense since high school, but will get a look as a 6-foot, 235-pound fullback this weekend.
Rob Trudo, OL, Syracuse: Captain and starting right guard for Orange last season, with two starts at center as well.
Pio Vatuvei, DE, Louisville: Started his career at Washington, then junior college and Louisville, where he had 26 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss last season. Teammate of Austin Seferian-Jenkins with Huskies before his dismissal there.