TAMPA — An NFL team’s “final” 53-man roster is never really final. It’s always in flux. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Tiquan Underwood and linebacker Najee Goode learned that lesson the hard way Sunday.
One day after surviving the Bucs’ initial attempt to set their roster at the 53-man limit, Underwood and Goode were let go and replaced by rookie wide receiver Russell Shepard and defensive tackle Chris Jones.
Shepard, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound LSU product who went undrafted in April, and Jones, a 6-2, 306-pound rookie out of Bowling Green, were both awarded to the Bucs after the team put in waiver claims on them.
Shepard, who caught three passes for 42 yards for the Eagles this preseason, played quarterback, running back and wide receiver for the Tigers and finished his LSU career with 733 rushing yards, 565 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns.
Jones, a 2013 sixth-round draft pick of the Houston Texan who racked up 12.5 sacks as a senior last year, fills the hole in the defensive line that was created when veteran backup Gary Gibson was waived Saturday.
Goode was a 2012 fifth-round pick of the Bucs who played in three games as a rookie and recorded a team-high 19 tackles and had an interception return for a touchdown against Washington in the Bucs’ final preseason game Thursday.
Underwood, who failed to survive the initial cut to 53 players a year ago, returned to the team in Week 3 and played in 14 games with three starts, catching 28 passes for 425 yards and two touchdowns.
Shepard immediately joins what figures to be an ongoing battle for the third receiver spot. Kevin Ogletree appears to have won that job for now, but Shepard and Chris Owusu are among those who will have a chance to unseat him.
One of the most dynamic players during the training camp portion of the preseason, Owusu was let go Saturday but returned to the Bucs on Sunday when he was signed to their practice squad.
The Bucs also signed cornerback Deveron Carr, offensive lineman Jace Daniels, linebacker Ka’lial Glaud, defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo, tight end Danny Noble and tackle Mike Remmers to their practice squad Sunday.
All seven players signed to the practice squad were with the team during the preseason. The Bucs still have one spot to fill on their practice squad.