The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Sunday they have signed four new players to their 2021 roster. The signings come following the players’ performances during last weekend’s rookie mini-camp.
Joining the Bucs in these moves are tight end Jerell Adams, cornerback Antonio Hamilton, running back Troymaine Pope, and safety Curtis Riley.
Per the Buccaneers’ press release,
“Adams (6-5, 254) entered the league as a sixth-round selection by the New York Giants (No. 184 overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 30 career games, playing for both the Giants (2017-18) and the Houston Texans (2019). In addition, Adams has been a member of several NFL practice squads from 2018-20, including the Giants (2018), Texans (2019), New Orleans Saints (2019), Baltimore Ravens (2020) and Detroit Lions (2020). Over his career, he has made 24 receptions for 214 yards and one touchdown. The Pinewood, South Carolina, native played collegiately at South Carolina and will wear No. 82 for Tampa Bay.
Hamilton (6-0, 195) played in all 16 regular season games with the Kansas City Chiefs last season, facing the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. Since entering the league as a college free agent in 2016, Hamilton has played for the Raiders (2016-17), the New York Giants (2018-19) and the Chiefs (2020). He has tallied 31 tackles, five passes defensed and one quarterback hit, while adding 19 tackles on special teams. The Johnston, South Carolina, native is a product of South Carolina State. He will wear No. 22 for Tampa Bay.
Pope (5-9, 205) entered the league as a college free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 2016 and has appeared in 24 career games with the Seahawks (2016), New York Jets (2016) and Los Angeles Chargers (2019-20). He has also spent time on the practice squads of the Jets (2016), Seahawks (2016-18), Indianapolis Colts (2017), Houston Texans (2018) and Chargers (2018-20). Pope has recorded 37 career rushes for 140 yards, and 11 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Jacksonville State product and Anniston, Alabama, native will wear No. 46 for Tampa Bay.
Riley (6-0, 190) began his NFL career as a college free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2015. He spent three seasons with the Titans (2015-17) before later playing for the New York Giants (2018), Raiders (2019), Arizona Cardinals (2020) and Minnesota Vikings (2020). Over his career, Riley has totaled 123 tackles (two for loss), eight passes defensed, five interceptions, one forced fumble, one quarterback hit and one defensive touchdown. The Orlando, Florida, native is a product of Fresno State. He will wear No. 39 for Tampa Bay.”
With the addition of these four players, the Bucs now sits at 88 players according to the team’s website. This number includes all of their 2021 NFL Draft picks.
While all of them face an uphill climb to make the final roster this fall, Hamilton stands out as the one with the best odds given not only his consistent NFL presence on other rosters but also his proven ability to fill the gunner role. A spot in this critical special teams group was left vacant with the departure of Ryan Smith.
Rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden said he was looking to get work in as a gunner during the mini-camp as well, but also brings return specialist potential. BYU cornerback also has gunner potential and even spoke about it to the media this past weekend, saying,
“I do see myself as one of the gunners. So we were working on that, not play-wise, we were just working on technique - how to push off your foot, the right stance, things like that. We didn’t really get too in-depth but yeah, I see myself playing there.”
While the starting roles may be filled, there’s still plenty of competition in spots two and beyond on the Buccaneers’ 2021 depth chart. And who stands out where on special teams is going to have a big impact on who makes the final cut, who lands on the practice squad, and who looks for another team to play for this coming season.