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Tampa Bay Bucs Name 2012 Practice Squad: Fan's Look

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Tampa Bay Bucs Name 2012 Practice Squad: Fan's Look

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Tackle Bradley Sowell (#68) was among the 8 reserves named to the Tampa Bay Bucs' practice squad

Though final roster cuts occurred on Friday, August 31, the Tampa Bay Bucs continue to re-shape the roster as the 2012 season rapidly approaches. For example, defensive end Wallace Gilberry was released a day after surviving the shake-up in order to clear space for 2nd year guard Julian Vandervelde, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. However, within a mere 48 hours, the club called a mulligan and the situation was reversed. The Bucs swiftly sent Vandervelde packing on Monday and immediately re-signed Gilberry, who hopefully waited to purchase an airline ticket home.

Perhaps no aspect of an NFL roster experiences greater flux than the 8 man practice squad. These hungry players have already experienced the painful process of being released. Grateful for the opportunity to collect a paycheck, young competitors sign with hopes of earning a spot on the 53 man roster. Since injuries are a constant in the NFL, and hundreds of free agents hit the waiver wire by the conclusion of the pre-season, it can be critical to select the right players for this group. In 2011, the Bucs received game-day contributions from multiple players on the practice squad, including Ahmad Black, Mossis Madu, and George Johnson.

Here's a look at Tampa Bay's initial practice squad of 2012.

Jacob Cutrera, LB: Though only accruing 3 tackles, this 3rd year player dressed for 8 Bucs' games in 2011, after spending time on last year's practice squad. Still eligible for such designation, Cutrera made a better impression during Tampa Bay's pre-season, where he registered 13 tackles by playing in all 4 games. The 24 year-old also saw limited action in 2010 for Jacksonville, the club that signed him out of LSU, where the linebacker finished a 4 year college career with 172 tackles in 49 games. It may be a challenge for Cutrera again to crack the roster, but the scrappy player can help on special teams.

Drake Dunsmore, TE: The Northwestern product was the sole 2012 draft pick failing to qualify for the Bucs' opening week roster. Though Dunsmore was selected in the 7th round, he was out-played by undrafted free agent Danny Noble, who currently serves as the 3rd string tight-end. Dunsmore has good size at 6'3", 235 pounds and racked up an impressive 14 TDs and 1,425 receiving yards in college. If veteran TE Dallas Clark struggles to stay healthy or the Bucs receive poor production from the position, it would not surprise if the 23 year-old is called up.

Dale Moss, WR: The 6'4" wide receiver snatched 5 receptions during the 2012 exhibition season for the pass-happy Green Bay Packers. The Bucs surprisingly included only 5 wideouts on their 53 man roster and legitimate questions remain about both Arrelious Benn and Sammie Stroughter. Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik hopes he found something in the former basketball player for South Dakota State.

Bert Reed, WR: Following the path of former Florida State teammate Preston Parker, who signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in 2010, this 24 year-old rookie spent the pre-season with the Cleveland Browns. Reed stands small at 5'10", but demonstrated a superior knack for the ball at FSU, where he accumulated 170 receptions and 2,022 yards in 4 seasons.

J.K. Schaffer

, LB: The rookie from the University of Cincinnati competed in training camp for his hometown Cincinnati Bengals, where he impressively netted 14 tackles and an interception in 4 games. With the Bucs seemingly weak at linebacker, this pick-up could prove a steak, especially since the 22 year-old excels on special teams. Schaffer posted 3 seasons of at least 100 tackles and led the Bearcats with 114 in 2011.

Bradley Sowell, OT: The 6'7", 320 pound tackle from the University of Mississippi also spent the pre-season with Tampa Bay and competed in all 4 exhibition contests. Sowell originally survived roster cuts on Friday, but painfully was released on Saturday when versatile lineman Cody Wallace was claimed off waivers. Sowell was productive in 36 starts at left tackle for Ole Miss, but will be hard pressed to reach the regular roster, since backup Demar Dotson impressed in place of previously injured starter Donald Penn.

Adam Weber, QB: With only 2 quarterbacks on the 53 man roster, Tampa Bay was certain to add a signal caller to the practice squad. The 2nd year player made headlines in 2011 when ranking ahead of Tim Tebow on the Denver Broncos' QB depth chart. Nevertheless, while Tebow eventually enjoyed a playoff triumph, Weber spent the season on practice squad, before being cut last week. Meanwhile, former Bucs' 3rd string QB Brett Ratliff played woefully during extended opportunities in pre-season, so Dominik was wise to find another option for the practice squad.

Markus White, DE: The second FSU Seminole added to the practice team was originally selected in the 7th round of the 2011 draft by the Washington Redskins. White only dressed for 2 games in his rookie campaign and was released on Friday after final roster cuts. Perhaps the West Palm Beach product caught Dominik's attention during the Bucs' final exhibition game against Washington last week, where the defensive end posted 4 tackles.


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Jeff Briscoe is a writer who covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. A loyal Tampa Bay Bucs fan, he co-hosts the Florida-based radio show, The Sports Train.

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