Michigan Panthers Sign Bumper Pool & Mika Tafua

Michigan Panthers Sign Bumper Pool & Mika Tafua

Another day, another set of injuries for the Michigan Panthers. The team has signed LB Bumper Pool, and also brought back Mika Tafua due to Levi Bell being placed on the injured reserve list.

LB Bumper Pool

Bumper Pool is a fascinating signing for this team. He is fresh off a preseason stint with the Carolina Panthers during the fall, but has since remained a free agent.

Pool was a highly sought after prospect coming out of Arkansas. He set a school record with 441 career tackles, surpassing Tony Bua who had 408. Bumper was tremendous in his senior season, with 92 total tackles, despite dealing with injuries. That year, he also notched 4.5 TFL’s and two sacks.

This led to Bumper earning 2023 Second-Team All-SEC honors, an award that he was used to at that point. He racked up several All-Team selections during his career. Bumper Pool is a tackling machine, and shows traits similar to that of All-USFL LB Frank Ginda – who is currently out on the injured reserve list.

Christian Runza’s linebacker room just got better with the addition of Bumper, and it’ll be intriguing to see if he can get up to speed in time for the playoffs.

DE Mika Tafua

Tafua returning makes sense, but is part of a larger story. He was just cut last week to make room for Levi Bell, who was poised to make his return this past weekend.

Mika played primarily on special teams, with 108 snaps on kick and punt coverages. He did total four tackles defensively, with a 77.2 Defensive Grade via PFF.

Unfortunately for Levi Bell, his season has ended before it even started. The standout from a season ago made his triumphant return last week – but got hurt prior to kickoff against Memphis. He went down during warmups, and even though his pads were on, he did not enter the game.

This injury has apparently put a close to his UFL campaign. In the USFL, Levi had 16 tackles and four sacks in just several games with the Panthers. He was tremendous, and was ready to boost this defense down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Despite Bell’s disappointing tenure this year, General Manager Steve Kazor continues to kill it in free agency. Bumper Pool is an excellent addition, and Mika Tafua was already with the team, so he’s familiar with the system.

What are your thoughts on Bumper Pool signing with Michigan? Will the Panthers miss Levi Bell’s presence on the line? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!