As a former second-round draft pick in 2013 (57th overall) with plenty of upside and high expectations, it was no surprise that D.J Swearinger brought some excitement to Bay Area fans, after the Buccaneers took advantage of having the first waiver by nabbing the jettisoned Texan.
But although Swearinger, 23, joins a relatively unproven group of safeties in Tampa, that doesn’t mean he’s an automatic Day 1 starter. The former Gamecock didn’t quite play up to the standard for a second-round draft selection during his first two years in the NFL. Like any other offseason addition, he’ll have to play his way onto the field for Tampa Bay.
“If nothing else, (Swearinger and Kaseem Greene) should help us with our depth,” said defensive coordinator Lesie Frazier on Monday. “We need that. We need guys that are going to help you on special teams, help you on defense if you have injuries, which do occur in our league. They’re going to push for starting spots, if they’d had a chance to succeed in their previous spots.”
Currently, Swearinger will have to compete with five other guys for one of the two safety positions. Along with Bradley McDougald, who the team is very high on, the Bucs have returning safeties Major Wright and Keith Tandy, as well as 2015 free agent acquisition Chris Conte. They also signed undrafted players in TCU’s Chris Hacket and Minnesota’s Derrick Wells.
“They’re a great group of guys and I’m ready to compete with them,” Swearinger said. “So far (Tampa Bay’s) been great. I’ve known Major for a couple of years. It’s just like starting over again. There are new faces, but I’ve been fitting in well.”
Although he joins a different system, Swearinger is confident that he can build on his past two seasons in the NFL, and become the same versatile player that he was during his collegiate career at South Carolina.
“I would say that, in any defense, I’m able to adjust,” Swearinger said. “Whether it’s blitzing, covering, making tackles, knocking the ball out and forcing turnovers, leading the defense and making calls, I think I have an all around game.
“Coming out of college, I played all over (the field). (I played) corner, nickel, dime, free and strong. That’s one of my strengths.”
Although he struggled at times in Houston, primarily while playing in coverage, he’s shown his ability as a fierce hitter and an effective blitzer. And, given his draft status, one would have to think that Swearinger will be given a strong look from coaches.
“D.J., high draft pick, (and) he’s had some success in our league,” Frazier said. “We’re anxious to see him once we get pads on and see how well he picks up what we’re trying to get done here.
“I had a chance to watch him on tape during his time there with the Texans. You can see that he’s a football player, a guy who makes a lot of plays. He’s an excellent blitzer, I remember that. That’s one of the things that really stuck out to me. He’s one of those guys who’s very quick getting from Point A to Point B. And he seems to be a bright football player as well.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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Hey Mark – I think what would be helpful here is if you could ask/figure out what isn’t adding-up with this guy. If he’s got all this versatility and great skills and was a 2nd round pick and Frazier thinks he’s great and so on…then why did the Houston Texans (not exactly the Seahawks) just cut him? I have heard something about an unwillingness to play ST….yet that’s not coming across in your report…why doesn’t 2 and 2 add up to 4 here?
EEB; I think it’s his height which is hurting him. We don’t need big hitters at Safety; we need big cover Safeties. He’s going to have a tough time making this team. Just my opinion; I wish him the best.
Even if we do not want him because he will or cannot play ST, maybe he can be traded for a 7th round draft pick to some team in need of a hard hitting safety.
Another sideways move. We have had issue with our safeties not having coverage skills. Got rid of hard hitting Barron Goldson and replaced with another hard hitting safety that can’t cover and doesn’t want to play special teams? Seems dumb to me but if price was right I guess it’s cheaper depth?
Come on fellas, the Bucs just added another FS today, Derrick Wells, Minnesota. Is he any good? I don’t know, you don’t know, they don’t know. What they are doing is looking and better now than after the season starts.
We don’t have the first voluntary OTA until Monday 5/25. There is no harm in looking. There is great harm after we’ve seen that a player can’t/won’t play and we keep him on the roster, ie Bowers, Cousins, Myron Lewis to name a few.
Then somebody explain why we let Michael Bennett walk? Maybe O’Brien made a mistake and threw in the towel too early. Give Swearing his chance. It is way too early to say not! Our eyes won’t lie to us! We’ve got time!
So after all the hype to salute and honor our Veterans and especially those who gave their lives for our Country, we have an OTA. Beautiful. God Bless America!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers OTA Schedule
Voluntary OTA Dates
Mandatory OTA Date
Is anyone else concerned that B. McDougald ran in the 4.7’s at his combine? He’s a good player but i don’t think he should be our center fielder and last man back on D. The cupboard is bare at safety. IMO i would like to see Tandy start at FS- he’s got ball skills and he’s fast. Swearinger is a poor mans mark Barron – he fears no man but he’s immature. The conte signing is another L+L headscratcher…he sucked in Chicago and everyone in the NFL knows it. We may have to rotate 3 safeties this year. I’d also like the bucs to let verner play the slot in nickel packages..he’s a ronde barber clone and got scorched when left alone on the outside b/c of our lack of safety play to take away deep balls
My golly; what’s the harm in bringing in a guy to compete who was considered good enough to be drafted in the 2nd round only two seasons ago? There are no Pro Bowl safeties out there on the waiver wire.
It’s like the kid searching for a Prom date the afternoon of the big event and ending up with a “developmental” prospect when all of the cheerleaders are taken. Better than going with your sister.
I agree with macabeee being cut doesnt mean the guy is useless or a bust, just that he didnt fit in the previous scheme or wasnt a fit with the coach, it happens. Also people need to stop saying hard hitting safeties are out of style, the Seahawk safeties tattoo people that come across the middle its all about teaching proper technique and lowering the target. Easier said than done but with good coaching its certainly still a part of the game. I liked the signing initially and look forward to seeing him compete in training camp and the preseason to see what he’s got.
So…I’m gathering that many Bucs fans are over us signing big ticket FAs. And they’re also against signing non-probowl caliber players. I hate to be the bearer of bad news guys but you can’t have both.
I see no problem with any of these signings. More signings = more competition and more options. Give these guys their shot to earn their spots on the roster and in the end the best players will make it. Go Bucs!
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