The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just wrapped up minicamp, and the Bucs had several players that stand out and will be joining the veterans when the third round of OTA’s start on Tuesday.
Safety D’cota Dixon of Wisconsin, offensive tackle Riley Mayfield of North Texas, wide receiver Spencer Schnell of Illinois State, linebacker David Kenney of Indiana, and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald of Mississippi State will all be coming back on Tuesday as they have signed contracts with the Bucs.
Another free agent who opened some eyes and will be attending OTA’s was free agent defensive end Kahzin Daniels of Charleston College in West Virginia a Division 2 school.
Daniels who is blind in his right eyes from a bike accident when he was five years old,has 20/20 vision in his left eye and had 34.5 sacks in his career at Charleston.
The 6 foot 3 244 pound Daniels impressed Arians with his speed and his ability to get to the quarterback. “He looked great off the ball. I don’t think he has any limitations.”
With Jason Pierre-Paul out until October or November and Kendall Beckwith on IR for the second year in a row, the Bucs are looking for players who they think can help bring pressure to the quarterback from the linebacker/defensive end position.
Daniels would be used as an outside linebacker in this defense.
David Kenney another outside linebacker also turned some heads at rookie camp as he impressed everyone with his speed and seemed to always find a way to get to the quarterback.
With OTA’s starting again on Tuesday, Arians and the staff want to look at how these free agents will look against some veteran competition.
Wide receiver Scotty Miller, the sixth round pick from Bowling Green turned some heads with his speed and playmaking ability. Miller undersized for a slot receiver at 5 feet 10 176 pounds, will see most of his work on the outside where he can better utilize his speed versus the slot where a more physical game is required.
It looks as if Chris Godwin will get a long look at the slot position.
Nick Fitzgerald the quarterback from Mississippi State will be at OTA’s on Tuesday and said he is willing to do what ever he needs to do to make this team.
Think of Fitzgerald as a Swiss Army knife type of player. A guy who can do a bit of everything and will be given that opportunity.
Taysom Hill of New Orleans and Joe Webb of the Texans are two college quarterbacks who made an NFL roster due to their special teams play and their ability and willingness to be used in multiple offensive roles.
On possibly playing special teams or maybe a receiving role Fitzgerald said “I would love to get on special teams and have a chance to do that, maybe go run some routes. I’m always open to doing whatever I can to make the team first, and then obviously help the team all in one, so whatever they ask I’m willing to do.”
Most of the offensive linemen who were at rookie camp struggled at times.
A couple offensive linemen, it was the first time they put their hand in the ground, and they struggled mightily trying to pass block that way,” Arians said. “It’s a big learning curve, but I was pleased with what I saw.”
Arians said that it is going to take a lot of coaching to get these rookie linemen ready to play at the NFL level.
Linebacker Devin White did not disappoint as he appeared to be everything and more that the Bucs were hoping for when they drafted him.
White had a pick six on Saturday after dropping one on Friday, and could be seen calling out signals and making sure the defense was lined up correctly. That is the piece of White’s game that really appealed to the Bucs, his leadership ability.
White remains unsigned though as does defensive backs Sean Murphy Bunting and Mike Edwards.
Defensive end Anthony Nelson the sixth round pick from Iowa looked good and they are looking at multiple uses for Nelson as well. Arians said they just need to find out what his strengths are.
Nelson as with a lot of the players on the Bucs defense, the coaching staff is just going to have to look at them in different positions and roles, and find out what their strengths are to put them in the best position to help the team
Arians was so pleased with the two practices on Friday and Saturday that the practice scheduled for Sunday was canceled.
The loss of Pierre-Paul and with Beckwith not returning make the defensive end and outside linebacker positions one of the most important positions on this team going into training camp.
It looks as if the Bucs are doing their best to bring in some guys that may be able to help this defense out.
Jason Licht has a much better track record on finding these undrafted free agents and developing them into good football players then he does at signing free agents. JR Sweezy, Chris Baker, and Vinny Curry are just a few of the free agents that come to mind that didn’t work out.
Adam Humphries and Cameron Brate are two players that were undrafted free agents, signed and developed by the Bucs and became good football players.
What is certain is that this rookie and free agent class on the defensive side of the ball is going to have contribute in a big way for the Bucs to get things turned around this season.