clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Meet the Buccaneers' four best undrafted free agents

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have four of the top 30 undrafted free agents who can make an early impact, at least according to ESPN's Mel Kiper. He names linebackers Luke Rhodes and Cassanova McKinzy, tight end Kivon Cartwright and running back Peyton Barber as potential early contributors. Barber's name is one we've heard repeatedly over the past weekends.

Barber could have stayed in school and improved his draft stock, but he came out to alleviate his mother's poverty -- and it likely means earning more money over his NFL career as well. If he can stick, that is, but that's certainly doable: he'll just have to beat out Mike James and Storm Johnson for the third running back spot on the roster. Barber has the chops to do so, if his college career is any indication. He managed 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns on 237 carries last year, plus 11 catches for 112 yards. He's a do-it-all back who isn't particularly explosive, and is actually pretty similar to Mike James.

Luke Rhodes and the awesomely named Cassanova McKinzy have a pretty clear road to a roster spot as well. The Bucs have almost no depth at linebacker, and I wouldn't be overly surprised to see both of them on the 53-man roster once the season starts. Linebackers usually make up the corps of a special teams unit, so they'll have to stand out there to make it. Both of these players are a little bigger than the linebackers Lovie Smith liked, which fits Mike Smith's approach to that position and may help them stick.

Kivon Cartwright probably won't make the roster, though. He's a lanky pass-catcher who was promising three years ago, but an injury in 2014 ended that season and still limited him last year. If he can get back to form he may show some potential, but there's not a lot of room for him on the roster.  The Bucs have the disappointing but still talented Austin Seferian-Jenkins, blocking specialist Luke Stocker, drafted fullback/H-back/tight end Dan Vitale and last year's promising rookie Cameron Brate still on the roster. Cartwright might make the practice squad, and he could get called up if injuries strike, but it's hard to see him making the roster given the way things look right now.