Gauging NFL Europa's worth to the Bucs

Tampa Bay sent five players to NFL Europa this spring, but odds are none of them will make the final roster at the end of training camp. But several of them got valuable playing time they couldn't have gotten in the NFL. Buccaneers expert Matthew Postins examines their time in Europe and their chances of making the final roster.

NFL Europa is gone — or whatever they were calling it this year. I guess the money lost wasn't worth the talent found.

Tampa Bay had five players in NFL Europa this year, but winning isn't everything in this situation. Winning the league title is like winning the flag football crown at the local Y. Who's gonna know, aside from your family and all the friends you tell?

What the league was good for was developing talent. At least a few good players came through the league — Jake Delhomme and Kurt Warner come to mind.

Do the Bucs have a Delhomme or a Warner in their midst? That's not very likely. But, these five players will likely last until the final cuts, simply because they have NFL Europa exemptions. That means the five players don't count toward the Bucs' roster count until the regular season.

Who were they, what did they do and what are their roster chances? Check it out below.

WR Jovon Bouknight, Cologne: Caught 17 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. His best day was a five-catch, 72-yard, 2 touchdown contest against Berlin. Roster chances: Slim. The Bucs will keep six receivers, and one of them — Mark Jones or Chad Owens — should handle return duties. Bouknight would have to have a stellar camp. But there's room for the slender Wyoming product on the practice squad.

C Jonathan Clinkscale, Rhein: He needed the work because he wasn't getting it during the regular season. He started every game during the season for the Fire, who were awful running the football (league low 70 yards per game). Roster chances: Slim to none. He's basically the fourth center on the roster, behind John Wade Matt Lehr and Dan Buenning. No NFL team I know of keeps four centers.

QB Bruce Eugene, Berlin: He lost both of his starts with Berlin. He finished the season with 408 yards passing (31-of-74) with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Roster chances: None. Or have you missed the quarterback collection currently on the roster.

CB Carlos Hendricks, Rhein: Had 47 tackles, one interception for a TD and defended 13 passes. He also earned a NFLEL Defensive Player of the Week honor. Roster chances: Better than slim. He has two things on his side. First, there's plenty of youth competing for those final two or three cornerback spots, and Hendricks had five special teams stops in Europe.

WR Kyle Smith, Berlin: Returned seven punts with a long of 25 and an 8.4-yard average. He did not catch a pass Roster chances: None. After injuries limited his summer, he's simply too far behind the pack.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. Included among his more than two dozen writing and editing awards are national awards from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors, and state awards from the Florida Press Club and the Florida Sports Writers Association, for his coverage of the Buccaneers since 2004.


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