The Buccaneers announced the signing of eight players to the team’s practice squad on Monday. Tampa Bay signed offensive tackle Will Barker, free safety Ahmad Black, quarterback Rudy Carpenter, tight end Collin Franklin, wide receiver Ed Gant, tight end Daniel Hardy, running back Mossis Madu and linebacker Derrell Smith to the practice squad.
All eight practice squad players were released by the Bucs. Black was Tampa Bay’s fifth-round pick and Hardy was the Bucs’ seventh-round pick in 2011.
The Bucs also announced that the team claimed tight end Zack Pianalto off waivers from Buffalo, who released the North Carolina product on Saturday as part of the team’s roster cut downs.
Pianalto had 94 catches for 918 yards and three touchdowns in 34 games at North Carolina. He was the nation’s second-leading tight end in receiving six games into the college football season this past year. He had 30 receptions for 311 yards and one score before a broken leg ended his season. It was the second broken leg of his collegiate career to go along with a dislocated foot.
The Bucs liked the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder prior to the draft, as reported by Charlie Campbell in his PI Quick Hits on April 10, but opted to spend a seventh-round pick on Hardy, who didn’t have the injury history in college that Pianalto did. Tampa Bay isn’t as concerned about broken bones compared to torn ligaments when accessing a player with an injury concern. Pianalto's skill set as both a blocker and a receiver is what interests Tampa Bay.
The team also announced the signing of LB Zac Diles to a 2-year deal. Diles was drafted by Houston in 2007 and was signed by St. Louis in 2010 before being released this preseason. Diles played for head coach Raheem Morris at Kansas State in 2006.
In Houston, Diles played in 50 career games with 33 starts. He has amassed 209 career tackles, one sack, one interception, three passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He has also added 20 special teams stops in his four-year career. Diles had his best season in 2010, playing in 15 games with 11 starts and finishing third on the team with a career-high 81 tackles.
Tampa Bay released defensive end George Johnson and cornerback D.J. Johnson to make room for Diles and Pianalto.