Yardbarker Horiz

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rookie Camp Weekend 2010

Around 65 former college football players will be in Tampa this weekend for the Buccaneers Rookie Camp.  This is an invitation only event for players who do not have one league year in the NFL (which is different from a calendar year in many ways).  Those rules mean the camp is populated by rookies just drafted, rookies just signed as undrafted free agents, and players not claimed by other teams (either fresh out of college or without a league year in the NFL).

Generally, camp is run with three full squads of players (11 offense, 11 defense; three full sets of each unit or 66 players).  The first thing you want is for your drafted players to c-l-e-a-r-l-y stand out among others at their position.  If this happens then your draft was very successful.  Secondly, you would like your undrafted free agents to also stand out at their position.  Also, remember that the rookies plus the undrafted free agents (along with the returning veterans) make up the 80-man roster at this point in time.  So to sign a player which was not drafted nor was an undrafted free agent means you must cut a player from your 80-man roster.  As we have seen, the Buccaneers have a nice position chart already set up for their young offensive and defensive players -- to unbalance those charts would be a significant move for the team.

So there is a bit of information which can be gathered from this camp.  Let's see what we can find out about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Good Luck to each of these men as they continue to fight for their dream of playing in the NFL!

Players list in bold are 2010 draft picks.
Players listed in italics are 2010 undrafted free agents.
Players listed in regular font are invited players with less than one NFL year of experience.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
QB Matt Grothe, USF
QB Bobby Reid, Texas Southern
QB Jevan Snead, Mississippi
    We have the necessary three players here to conduct camp.  To make the roster, Reid or Grothe has to outperform Snead.  Snead did not have a great final year in college and came out early, so the opportunity is real for Reid and Grothe.

Wide Receiver
WR Arrelious Benn, Illinois
WR Brandon Banks, Kansas State
WR Chris Bonner, Florida Atlantic
WR Chris Brooks, Nebraska
WR Eyad Salem, Illinois State
WR Mike Williams, Syracuse
WR Preston Parker, North Alabama
    With seven players in camp, two of which were drafted, it will be a hard group to crack.  Parker needs to have a good camp to defend his roster spot.  If someone shows a talent level equal to either of the draft picks the Buccaneers will have found a real diamond -- and that player will quickly advance to the roster.

Tight Ends
TE Jeron Mastrud, Kansas State
    Obviously Mastrud would have to have a horrific camp to not stay on the 80-man roster.

Running Back
RB Chris Garrett, Ohio
RB Dana Brown, Youngstown State
RB Darius Marshall, Marshall
RB Demetrius McCray, Indiana
RB James Mallory, Central Connecticut State
    It will be hard for any of these men to crack the roster in Tampa as there is plenty of talent at the position with a good mix of veterans and youth.  2009 Buccaneer Kareem Huggins made it to the roster from the same position as these men.  Some could be considered for upgrading special teams play.

Fullback
FB Isaac Stockton, Chadron State
FB Phil Riley, Hofstra
FB Rendrick Taylor, Clemson
    This comes down to a matter of numbers on the roster.  These men could be playing for the practice squad.  Considering BJ Askew was cut but no fullbacks were drafted or signed, Tampa Bay may have all it needs at this position.  Some could be considered for upgrading special teams play.

Center
C  Ian Bustillo, UCF
C  Jared Zwilling, Purdue
C  Jeff Tow-Arnett, Minnesota
    At Center we have the requisite three players.  To make the team these men have to rate out higher than 2nd year pro Johnathan Compas (Incumbant starter Jeff Faine is going nowhere).  What provides a spark of possibility here is that when Faine went down with an injury last year, Compas did not replace him -- the Buccaneers went to the free agent market and brought back Sean Mahan instead.  Was Compas not ready in 2009, or was he underperforming?  Bustillo, Zwilling, and Tow-Arnett must make the most of this chance to slide in the door.

Guard
G  Abdul Kuyateh, Louisville
G  Lee Grimes, Texas A&M
G Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
G Vladimir Richard, Tennessee

    This should be a competitive group.  Two roster spots available between four men.  Normally there should be six guards in camp.  These men are all going to get extra opportunities to show their talents.  It seems the team is looking for something to happen here -- this will be a battle to watch.  2009 Buccaneer Marc Dile rose from this position onto the regular roster last year.

Tackle
T  Brandon Parks, Kent State
T  Carl Spitale, Florida Atlantic
T  Lavoris Williams, Florida Atlantic
T  Wesley Yarbough, Fort Hays State
T  Derek Hardman, Eastern Kentucky
T  James Williams, Harvard

    With no draft picks here the two roster positions should create some highly competitive action.  Unlike at Guard there are six men in camp, so each must make the most of his opportunities to impress the coaches. 2009 Buccaneer Demar Dotson began his career at this point last year.


DEFENSE
Tackle

DT Brian Price, UCLA
DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma

DT Boo Robinson, Wake Forest
DT Justin Lawrence, Morgan State
DT Melvin Matthews, Grambling
    There are four players on the roster drafted by the Buccaneers at this position:  Dre Moore (2008), Roy Miller (2009), Brian Price (2010), and Gerald McCoy(2010).  With the release of Chris Hovan, the Buccaneers signal they believe the talent on their roster is ready to replace a steady, 11-year veteran.  Quite a statement.  There is probably no room for these men on the roster.  Next year, the Buccaneers will not need another defensive lineman in the draft.  Robinson, Lawrence, and Matthews are, most likely, playing for a spot on the practice squad.

Defensive End
DE Aaron Harris, USF
DE Brandon Gilbeaux, Delaware
DE Erik Lorig, Stanford
DE George Johnson, Rutgers
DE Greg Middleton, Indiana
DE James Ruffin, Northern Iowa
    It has the look here as though it is six men competing for two roster spots.  Lorig was the last player selected by the Buccaneers in 2010 (very late in the 7th round).  If I was an unsigned college defensive end I would want be in Tampa Bay this weekend.  A strong performance here could reach the playing rotation this fall.

Cornerback
CB Armando Murillo, Nebraska
CB C.J. Lovett, Fort Hays State
CB Darrell Pasco, Georgia Southern
CB Kennard Banks, Iowa State
CB Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt
CB Quincy Wofford, Northern Colorado
CB Roderick Williams, Alcorn State
    To make room on the 80-man roster for Lewis, the Buccaneers cut Stony Woodson.  Meaning Tampa Bay feels there has already been an upgrade in talent at a position which had a constant revolving door during the 2009 season.  It would be shocking for any of these men to unseat the 2010 fourth rounder Lewis, which means they must make themselves more valuable than a veteran player already on the roster.  Hard to do when the veterans are watching from the sidelines.

Linebackers
LB Bryan Parker, Florida A&M
LB Dekota Watson, Florida State
LB Fred Garrin, Iowa State
LB Mike Nixon, Arizona State
LB Nekos Brown, Virginia Tech
LB Pat Benoist, Vanderbilt
LB Rico McCoy, Tennessee
LB Ryan Reeves, Wayne State
    Watson was a 7th round pick and considered to be someone who must find a way through special teams to stay on the roster.  The same would hold true for the rest of these men.  Getting a true outside linebacker from this group would be a nice bonus.

Safties
S  Andrew Sendejo, Rice
S  Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech
S  John Wilson, Sacred Heart
S  Kevin Thornton, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
S  Taylor Lanigan, Murray State
S Dennis Rogan, Tennessee
    There will be a lot of eyes on this group.  Safety play was erratic in 2009 and Tampa Bay will continue to look for a way to improve the position having bypassed it until the 7th round in the draft.  And, one more time, some could be considered for upgrading special teams play.

Specialists
K Hunter Lawrence, Texas
P  Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech
LS Chris Mauriello, Penn State
    While intriguing may be too strong a word, each of these players can get to the roster.  Lawrence comes from a state with a billion kickers, so he probably better than average.  Can he handle the Florida humidity and wind?  Bowden was chosen in the 6th round and the incumbent punter, Sam Paulescu, has already been released.  Mauriello is a unique case -- current long snapper Andrew Economos is on his fifth year and could become a free agent soon.  How much cap space do you give to a long snapper?  A younger option here means more to spend elsewhere.  It's not a sure thing, but I think Mauriello will be given every chance and it could be the shortest line to playing on Sunday for anyone at the Rookie Camp.

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