While Antonio Brown grabbed the headlines for Tampa Bay with his re-signing, the Buccaneers also signed defensive back Dee Delaney this week to add depth to a position group that faced significant injuries in 2020.
Delaney, 26, last played in 2019 with Washington after bouncing around multiple teams’ practice squads since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2018. The former Miami Hurricanes standout got to work quickly on Tuesday, participating in the Bucs’ organized team activities per Buccaneers.com’s Scott Smith. The veteran cornerback “took snaps at outside and nickel corner during the defensive install period” according to Sports Illustrated’s All Bucs. OTAs run through Thursday.
Tampa made Delaney the latest addition to improving its secondary depth. Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis III, Antoine Winfield Jr., and Jordan Whitehead all missed snaps due to injury last season. The Bucs already added a drove of defensive backs this offseason with Chris Wilcox, Cameron Kinley, Augustus Contressa, Lawrence White IV, Curtis Riley, Raven Greene, Antonio Hamilton, and Nate Brooks.
Adding Delaney put the Bucs roster at 90 players, the league offseason maximum according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Those 90 players will compete for 53 roster spots in training camp.
Around 40 of those 90 players came out for the first day of organized team activities on Tuesday per Auman. “Basically anyone with a roster spot locked up and not a 2021 draft pick wasn’t in attendance today,” Auman wrote.
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Delaney Focuses on the “Little Things” on the Gridiron
Before Delaney set foot at the University of Miami, he played three seasons for Division I FCS military school, the Citadel. He believes could help him navigate the fierce competition of the NFL. He shared that with Hal Habib the Palm Beach Post’s Hal Habib in 2018 when competing for a roster spot with the Miami Dolphins.
“You shine your shoes, shine your brass, make sure your clothes are ironed,” Delaney told Hal. “It carries over in football — you watch football, technique, little things like that. It’s just about the little things — as long as you handle the little things in your life I feel like it will carry over in the field.”
Delaney’s discipline carried over big to football at the Citadel with 132 tackles, 13 interceptions, and two forced fumbles in three seasons for the Bulldogs. He earned FCS All-American honors in 2015.
Delaney moved up to the FBS and played one season for the Miami Hurricanes in 2017 as a graduate transfer. He tallied 24 tackles and an interception in eight games played, helping the Canes go 10-3 and reach the ACC Championship Game and Orange Bowl. His lone interception came against rival Florida State.
Trying to Find an NFL Home
Delaney’s brief stint as a Miami Dolphin characterized his NFL career thus far — battling to find a home in the pros.
The Dolphins kept him on the practice through the end of the 2018 season, but he didn’t make the cut in time for training camp. Delaney landed with the New York Jets for training camp in 2019 but didn’t make the roster or practice squad. Washington picked him up late in the 2019 season, and he played in one game, but the team released him in early 2020. He didn’t play in the NFL last season.
Jacksonville originally signed the 5-11, 200-pound corner as an undrafted free agent in 2018, but the Jaguars waived him in November 2018 after two games of action and time on the practice squad.
Delaney has another shot in the NFL with the Bucs but has a steep climb ahead on a deep team.