The Buccaneers chose to address depth on the defensive side of the football after the NFL Draft, signing a number of free agents after spending all six draft picks on offensive players. One of those, Euclid Cummings, is glad the Bucs are giving him a shot and thinks he can contribute.
Many in the media, PewterReport.com included, thought Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald was one of a handful of players that made some sense for Tampa Bay to draft with the seventh-overall pick in last May’s NFL Draft. The Buccaneers chose wide receiver Mike Evans instead, and it is hard to argue with that selection after seeing Evans in limited action so far this offseason. Tampa Bay is painfully thin at the three-technique behind star Gerald McCoy, but maybe not as thin as some might believe.
While a long way from developing into a starting caliber defensive tackle, Georgia Tech undrafted free agent Euclid Cummings has shown some flashes over the last month, and is working hard to earn the right to be on the opening day roster.
Cummings, who talked to PewterReport.com following last Tuesday’s OTA, knows there is no better example for him to look to than following the lead of No. 93.
“I love it, I mean it is him(Gerald McCoy) and I strive to be like him,” Cummings said. “Everything from his steps, to how he hustles on the field, off the field. He is just a great leader and I feel like that is something I can rally behind.
“When I first got here, he was like that third coach saying, ‘Hey man, you’re not flipping your hips, or open your hands, you need to hit that bag or you need to take that step.’ And that is crucial. The coaches are coaching you but when a player who is out there grinding with you says it, sometimes it has even more of an effect.”
Several draft prognosticators expected Cummings to be a late-round draft selection but the Athens, Ga. native didn’t hear his name called over the three-day event in early May. Still Cumming said Tampa Bay is where he wanted to be.
“It was a great call and like an answer to my dreams,” Cumming said. “So when I got the call, I was really excited. Coach Cullen called me and told me they wanted me so I just got here.”
Listed on the Bucs roster at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, Cummings admitted his college career in Atlanta was a roller coaster.
“Pretty much my college career I started as a defensive end then we had a coaching change so I went more to a 3-4 defensive end under coach Al Groh,” Cummings said. “So I was pretty much two-gapping. Then my last year I moved to the three-technique and that is when I started getting upfield and penetrating.”
PewterReport.com noted Cummings, who ran a 4.79 at his pro day, has shown aggressiveness and quickness during OTAs and the rookie mini-camp. But Cummings knows that what he does against bags isn’t going to earn his a roster spot.
“I feel like my ability to just flip my hips and smack that bag…but I mean a bag is one thing and a moving target is another thing,” Cummings said. “Now it is taking that bag work and then taking it to the field. I feel like what I can work on at the next level is just being a way more effective pass rusher.”
One of those who is going to push Cummings to excel is defensive line coach Joe Cullen. Cummings said the Rod Marinelli-disciple has already made an impression on him.
“Oh yeah he is the kind of guy that is going to get it out of you everyday, whether you like it or not,” Cummings said smiling when talking about his position coach. “So from the start it is him yelling, with that Boston accent. Even in meetings everything is uptempo. He is one of the best coaches in the league and always has great defensive lines and I am just ready to learn and play for him.”
Cummings doesn’t have an unrealistic expectations, but feels deep down he has a place in the NFL.
“I definitely have that confidence that I can succeed or I wouldn’t be here,” Cummings said. “If I had the attitude that I couldn’t play with these guys, then I am not going to make it. I am out here for one thing and that is making the team and to get better. But I definitely think I can compete on this level.”
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