The Buccaneers are reportedly in the mix for Brown’s outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard, per Rand Getlin.
Sheard has been a productive player since getting drafted in the second round of 2011, racking up 190 career tackles to go along with an impressive 23 sacks and seven forced fumbles. However, if the talented linebacker were indeed signed by Tampa Bay, he would need to transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defensive end. Given his background, though, it might not be a difficult switch.
During his collegiate years at Pittsburgh Sheard played the five-technique, earning Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, which eventually propelled him into being a top NFL prospect. Former Pitt head coach and Buccaneer’s special teams coordinator, Dave Wannstedt, had this say about him.
“(Sheard’s) a gifted pass rusher in his own right, and his combination of burst, balance and closing speed will find him a spot on an NFL roster.”
Sheard’s services won’t come without a bidding war, though. Numerous teams have expressed their interest including the Patriots, Seahawks and Bengals. And while all three of those teams have the upper hand when it comes to a win-now environment, the Buccaneers have some coaching connections that could help lure the fifth-year pro to the Bay Area. The team’s offensive line coach George Warhop was previously in Cleveland from 2009-2013, while defensive line coach Joe Cullen spent the 2013 season with the Browns. It’s also worth noting that 15 of his 23 career sacks came during the first two years in Cleveland, where he primarily played defensive end.
It remains unclear what the Buccaneers will do with Michael Johnson, who’s slated to make $9 million on March 13, or what their plans for last year’s standout Jacquies Smith are. But with interest in players like Sheard and Philadelphia’s Trent Cole, what does seem clear is that Tampa Bay is poised to add another pass rusher this offseason.
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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