With training camp right around the corner, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are attempting to finalize their roster by signing the rest of their 2008 draft class.
The Bucs have already signed three draft picks and added a fourth to that list on Tuesday by agreeing to terms on a contract for rookie guard Jeremy Zuttah, the team's third-round pick out of Rutgers.
For Rutgers University, Zuttah played primarily at right tackle, starting 28 straight games there. With the Buccaneers, Zuttah is practicing at center, guard and right tackle.
The 6-foot-4, 303-pound Zuttah registered a whopping 191 career knockdowns and opened up a plethora of running lanes for Rutgers running back Ray Rice. Zuttah really caught the eye of NFL scouts in February at the Combine, where he ran the best 40-yard dash of any offensive lineman with a 4.99 and put up 35 reps of 225 pounds. Against Louisville, Zuttah showed off his athleticism when he caught a lateral and ran the ball 13 yards to set up a Rice touchdown on the next play.
The David Bender Trophy winner also led a Rutgers offensive line that ranked second in the nation in fewest sacks allowed in 2007, and was first in fewest sacks allowed in 2006. Zuttah himself did not allow a sack in his final two seasons at Rutgers. Over his collegiate career, Zuttah started 40 of 44 games in four seasons.
Zuttah, 22, also was awarded the Kevin Helen Collins Academic Improvement Award and graduated with an economics degree in three and a half years. For conference play, Zuttah was an All-Big East First Team selection for both his junior and senior seasons.
In Zuttah’s sophomore campaign, he started nine games at left guard and missed three games due to injury. As a freshman he played in nine games making five starts and played all line positions except center. He started at right tackle, left guard, and left tackle.
The Buccaneers appear to be set along the offensive line with the signing of Zuttah. The left tackle position is the only starting spot up for grabs as veteran Luke Petitgout comes back from knee surgery, and will compete with last year’s 12-game starter Donald Penn. At left guard is returning starter Arron Sears. center Jeff Faine takes over for former center John Wade, and right guard Davin Joseph and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood will be entering their third seasons and have been starters since early in their rookie years.
Zuttah is competing with guard/tackle Anthony Davis and guard/center Dan Buenning for spots on the depth chart. Also competing on the offensive line is tackle Dennis Roland, tackle Chris Denman, tackle Chris Clark and guard Brian Johnson.
The Bucs have three draft picks unsigned in cornerback Aqib Talib (first round), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (second round) and quarterback Josh Johnson (fifth round).
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