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May 4, 2012 @ 4:30 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Rookie Mini-Camp Insider: 5-4

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The PewterReport.com staff was on-hand to watch 30 minutes of Bucs rookie mini-camp on Friday. What observations did the Pewter Reporters make about Tampa Bay's 2012 rookie class? Get the analysis in this Pewter Insider article.
The media was allowed to watch 30 minutes of Friday’s practice during Tampa Bay’s 2012 rookie mini-camp and PewterReport.com was able to come away with these conclusions:

It was interesting to see the team’s draft picks being isolated away from the undrafted free agent signings and the try-out players. Strong safety Mark Barron and cornerback Keith Tandy were practicing together with an assistant coach. Linebackers Lavonte David and Najee Goode were with another assistant coach and so on. As expected, David lined up at weakside linebacker.

“We have several objectives because it’s a different audience,” Schiano said. “We have our seven draft picks, then we have our free agents that we signed and then we have a lot of guys that are in a try-out mode. So, as you could see, we are utilizing all three fields. Our draft picks we know are going to be with us. They are going to be in training camp with them. We are teaching more in-depth technique to them. The other two fields we are utilizing as try-out fields for evaluation and doing some drills that we normally wouldn’t do at Buccaneers practice. They are more drills that you would do if you would work out a guy at a college campus.”

Schiano discussed what drills the drafted players were working on with Tampa Bay’s assistant defensive backs coach.

“Just the Buccaneers defensive backs drills that we use with our guys in the Phase II workouts and that we are going to use in our OTAs and we’ll use in training camp,” Schiano said. “Just to get them started on the learning curve and learning how we’ll do things.”

The rest of the players – the undrafted free agents and the try-out players – were practicing together with the rest of the position coaches as head coach Greg Schiano, director of player personnel Dennis Hickey and general manager Mark Dominik, who spent a good part of the practice watching the defensive backs. Schiano and Hickey also spent some time watching the defensive backs drills.

Cornerback Leonard Johnson, an undrafted free agent signing from nearby Clearwater, Fla., dropped the first pass thrown his way in an interception drill right in front of Dominik. Not a fatal drop at all, but not a great way to make a first impression in front of the general manager. Johnson only tallied four interceptions at Iowa State.

The Buccaneers have signed undrafted free agent quarterback Zach Collaros from Cincinnati, who beat Schiano’s Rutgers team 69-38 in 2010 while completing 23-of-39 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 17 yards and another score against the Scarlet Knights.

With 51 passing touchdowns, just 26 picks and another 16 rushing scores, he is an intriguing prospect, even though he stands just 5-foot-11 and weighs 217 pounds. Collaros was 18-9 as a starter at Cincinnati, and that had great appeal to Schiano.

“Zach, a guy that I faced several times as a head coach at Rutgers, is just a winner,” Schiano said. “That guy is just a proven winner. Maybe he doesn’t have the height and those kind of things, but we had the opportunity to get him here and we took advantage of him. I’m anxious to see how he does the next couple of days.”

The other quarterback during the Bucs rookie mini-camp is former LSU star Jordan Jefferson, who is a try-out player. Jefferson, who threw 34 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, while adding another 12 TDs on the ground, helped lead LSU to the national championship game this year.

“There is definitely characteristics and traits that we think that we would like to see if he’s strong enough to make our ball club,” Schiano said. “It’s too early to tell. We watched one tape. I’m anxious to get up there and meet with him and kind of evaluate as you go.

“He’s a big, strong-armed athlete that we wanted to see where he is in his development as a quarterback.”

One of the more interesting tryout players during the rookie mini-camp was middle linebacker Alex Wujciak. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by Cleveland last year, but waived during the first week of training camp on August 4, 2011. Wujciak, who was one of the middle linebackers PewterReport.com liked in college football in 2010.

He posted 381 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, four interceptions that he returned for 238 yards and two touchdowns, nine pass breakups, three forced fumbles, 2.5 sacks and one blocked kick. Wujciak is not the most athletic linebacker, but he can run a 4.77 in the 40-yard dash, which is pretty good for a player of his size at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds. It will be interesting to see if he makes enough of an impression to get signed.

• Brandon Herron, a tryout linebacker from Michigan, walked off the field early on in practice with the help of a trainer. He might have been struggling with the Florida heat and humidity.

• The Bucs had the following players on the practice squad from a year ago participating in practice today:

TE Collin Franklin
G Chris Riley
G Mike Ingersol
WR Ed Gant

• The Buccaneers had the following players in for tryouts:

LSU QB Jordan Jefferson

Running backs
Arkansas RB De’Anthony Curtis
Toledo RB Adonis Thomas
Henderson State FB Antonio Leak
Bethune-Cookman FB Byron McLeod
Arkansas State FB Jermaine Robertson

Wide receivers
Nevada WR Shane Anderson
Syracuse WR Van Chew
North Carolina WR Brooks Foster
Rutgers WR Tim Brown
Liberty wide receiver B.J. Hayes

Tight ends
Virginia Tech tight end Chris Drager
Princeton tight end Harry Flaherty
Toledo tight end Danny Noble

Offensive linemen
Nebraska OT Jermarcus Hardrick
TCU G Jeff Olson
Central Florida G Nick Pieschel
Connecticut C Moe Petrus

Defensive linemen
North Carolina DT Jordan Nix
Oregon DT Terrell Turner
Portland State DT Myles Wade
Eastern Washington DT Renard Williams
North Carolina DE Hilee Taylor
Duke DE Ayang Okpokowuruk
Mississippi DE Wayne Dorsey
Wagner DE Quintin Anderson
Temple DE Morkeith Brown

Central Arkansas LB Frank Newsome
Maryland LB Alex Wujciak
Miami LB Jordan Futch
Michigan LB Brandon Herron

Defensive backs
Rutgers CB Derrick Roberson
Arkansas Tech S Myron Johnson
Southern Mississippi CB Marquese Wheaton
Nicholls State CB Chika Madu
San Diego State CB Larry Parker
Ball State S Sean Baker
Missouri S Kenji Jackson
Northwestern S Brian Peters
North Carolina S Johnathan Smith

Special teams
Iowa P Eric Guthrie
West Virginia LS Cody Nutter
USC LS Chris Pousson

– Eric Dellaratta and Andrew Scavelli contributed to this report

Last modified on Friday, 04 May 2012 19:26

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  • avatar

    Surfer,You should go back and check DB55's weight & height coming out of FSU,the same things were said about him. I'm not about to say this (David ) is the next DB,but like David many teams felt he (Brooks) would be better suited at safety and Brooks went on a letter writing campaign advising teams if they were considering making him a safety they should not draft him that's the reason he last until late in 1st rd.I think that work out well for the Bucs and DB as well. Dungy & Kiffins always favored the smallish athletic type lb's ,the hit and run type , a seek and destroy type,David will be just fine a welcomed edition or addition.
  • avatar

    I like seeing how many DTs they brought in for tryouts. You never know when you might find that diamond in the rough and that goes for every other position for that matter. We could really stand to find one at DT or CB though.
  • avatar

    Won't be long before the last element of training camp shows up, the injury bug!
  • avatar

    Love the practice format too. Like that the drafted guys get some "extra" direct coaching without the try-out players. I can't wait to see this all come together in the pre-season! I hope some of these new guys stick. Some of them are very interesting and it looks like, again, the Bucs really did their homework on these guys. Go Bucs !!!!!
  • avatar

    Thank god we got a coach who knows what he's doing. A lot's been said about our picking small linebackers. If being tough smart quick to see the play develope player, 6' 233 lbs is plenty big enough to bring backs down. We've heard the looks like Tarzan,plays like Jane crap enough, I just want football players.
  • avatar

    We know the Bucs aren't letting the media view much of the practices but we appreciate the info on what you can watch!
  • avatar

    Wojciak has the weight you would like to see at MLB and definitely has the stats from college. Hope he makes it to the Preseason to show what he can do. I definitely believe he is good enough to be a backup for us. Hope he is good at special teams as well. With all the QBs we have now it should be very interesting to see who lands the third QB spot. I love the idea of three fields and the way Schiano is running his practices. Another great article, Scott!
  • avatar

    Whats good about separating players like this is the undrafted ones get to practice with less pressure and get to play more naturally without losing confidence practicing next to and competing against the high draft picks AND the draft picks get more valuable direct coaching than having it divided by guys just trying to make the team.. It will be easier concentrating to what the coachs teach. I like this new way. Never seen it before. I like the direction of our new coach!
  • avatar

    I kinda like this using three fields to get the jobs done like weaving out the players who are trying out-go idea! GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Good start. Reminds me of a song lyrics:"This ain't no party. this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around."
  • avatar

    Thanks Scott for the info.
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