Safety in Numbers: An In Depth Look at Vince Anderson and Larry Asante

With four new additions to the active roster this week, I thought I would take a little time and dig up some info on each of them. That way you, the reader, don't have to waste your valuable time googling each and every one of these guys. Dezmon Briscoe, Brandon Carter, and Vince Anderson were all brought up from our own practice squad and strong safety Larry Asante was poached signed off of Cleveland's practice squad. There is a strong chance one or even two of these new additions could be called upon to play this week in the event of an injury (knocks on wood). With the exception of Brizcoe, the other three guys don't have much in front of them on the ole depth chart. So let's take a look at a couple of these gentlemen and see what they've accomplished in their careers up to this point. Today, I will take an in depth look at the two safeties, and tomorrow I will have a follow up piece about Brandon Carter and Dezmon Briscoe.

Let's start with the player most of us are probably least familiar with.

Larry Asante:

Asante is a strong safety that was selected in the fifth round by Cleveland in the 2010 draft. He was a first team All Big 12 defender last year at Nebraska, and was ranked as the sixth best strong safety in the nation last year by NFLdraftscout.com. He is 6'0 and 212 lbs and his speed, while not overly impressive, is adequate for his position (averages in the 4.6 range in forty time).

Asante transferred from Coffeyville Community College to Nebraska in 2007 and immediately made the transition from linebacker to strong safety. He started 36 games during his tenure at Nebraska and recorded 79 tackles, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions (one pick six) his senior year. Nebraska led the nation in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense last year, and Asante's play was a big part of that.

After being drafted by Cleveland, Asante was signed to a four year, 1.96 million dollar contract on July 16th, but for one reason or another he was waived in September and subsequently signed to the practice squad. Mark Dominik and company must have seen something that they liked in the preseason, because as soon as the need arose, they didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on this guy. I'm certainly excited by this player's prospects and interested to see how he stacks up versus the other new safety, Vince Anderson.

Read all about Vince Anderson and his truly fascinating journey to the NFL after the jump.

Vince Anderson:

Anderson has had quite a journey to the NFL after a collegiate career filled with ups and downs. A native of Lake City, FL, he began his collegiate career at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. After his freshman year, thirty football players from Nicholls State were charged with academic fraud in regards to a summer internet course. The NCAA came down hard on the players and suspended them all for three years. In Anderson's defense, he says he paid for the course but was instructed by the coaching staff that he didn't have to take the actual class in order to get the credit.

After the long suspension, and another pit stop at Bacone College in Oklahoma (bonus points to anyone who has heard of that one. Personally, I'm 0-3 at this point), Anderson ended up at Webber International University in Babson Park, FL in 2006. So we all must be thinking "Man, Anderson really must have lit it up at a small school like Webber in order to get noticed by the NFL", but we would all be wrong, as Anderson tore his ACL in 2006, and played injured throughout the year in 2007. He did well enough his senior year to make the roster of the Texas vs The Nation All Star game at the end of the year, and managed to catch the eyes of a few pro scouts.

Despite impressing scouts, Anderson went undrafted in 2008. He signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants, was cut during the preseason and signed to their practice squad for the 2009 season. I took the liberty of emailing Ed Valentine over at Big Blue View, SBN's New York Giants blog, for his take on Anderson, and he had this to say:

I am actually thrilled by the news that Vince Anderson has been added to Tampa Bay's active roster. I have spoken with him and he seems like a very nice, talented young man who made some mistakes and has worked hard to overcome them. If you don't know the full story, this is how he ended up at Webber International, an NAIA school. He came to the Giants a year ago as a free-agent cornerback, but the Giants moved him to safety for a couple of reasons. One being they had an obvious need, and second he has the protoptypical safety body at 6-foot-2, 205. You could see the athleticism and talent right away, but coming from such a small school and playing a new position you could also see that he needed time to learn how to play at this level. As much as the Giants loved the kid's talent, they had serious issues at safety a year ago. They brought in veterans Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant, drafted Chad Jones and still had Kenny Phillips, Michael Johnson and Sha'reef Rashad. Anderson lost out in the numbers game, simply because after last season the Giants were unwilling to gamble on an unknown quantity at safety this time around.

I would like to thank Ed very much. His link above provided me with much of the info regarding Anderson's past.

The Bucs brought in Anderson in the preseason this year and the rest, as they say, is history. So, what do we have in Anderson? Is he just a guy that is going to contribute on special teams, or is he truly capable of playing safety at the NFL level? On paper, Asante is head and shoulders better than Anderson, but despite his limited experience and strange past, something about his play is leaving NFL teams with a positive impression. Does he have that rare and coveted "it" factor? What do you think Bucs Nation, do either of these guys have a chance to win the starting job left vacant by Grimm's grisly injury?

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