The Tampa Bay Bucs made a couple roster moves Monday afternoon and they both involved members of the team’s 2013 draft class.
PewterReport.com received confirmation earlier in the day that on-again, off-again Buccaneer running back Mike James is back in Tampa Bay. Not long after, multiple outlets began reporting the waiver out-of-favor cornerback Johnthan Banks.
The signing of James comes a day after Jacquizz Rodgers left late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 30-24 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders with a foot injury. The team hadn’t released an official announcement regarding James’ return prior to Monday’s press conference with Dirk Koetter, so the head coach deflected questions regarding the situation.
Rodgers was seen in the locker room Monday wearing a protective boot on his injured foot. He was hurt during the Bucs’ final offensive series in regulation and did not play in overtime. Since coming to Tampa Bay to take over for injured starters Doug Martin and Charles Sims, Rodgers has played in six games and rushed 88 times for 393 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and scored one touchdown. The score came Sunday on a 1-yard rush that allowed Tampa Bay to retake the lead at the time, 24-17.
The Bucs drafted James in the sixth round in 2013 out of the University of Miami. The 25-year-old Haines City native has been released and re-signed on multiple occasions since then. After being waived in early September, the Detroit Lions signed James to their practice squad in October.
In 19 total career games played, James has rushed for 332 yards on 79 carries (4.2-yard average).
Banks was also part of Tampa Bay’s 2013 draft class, coming to the Bucs out of Mississippi State in the second round. He started all 16 games as a rookie, 14 of the 15 games he played in 2014. During that two-year span he recorded seven interceptions, 15 passes defensed and 105 tackles.
Things started to go downhill last season and his playing time under then-head coach Lovie Smith began to decline. Banks started only seven of 14 games played in 2015. That trend accelerated under the first-year combo of head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Banks has appeared in five of seven games this year without making a single start and he’s been inactive the past two weeks.
Respectively, Banks and James represent the first and last players selected by the Bucs in 2013. The team traded away its first-round pick to the New York Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Other players selected by Tampa Bay in 2013 were quarterback Mike Glennon (third round), defensive tackle Akeem Spence (fourth round), defensive end William Gholston (fourth round) and defensive end Steven Means (fifth round).