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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs rookie free agent Rashaan Melvin bears watching

Rashaan Melvin was the Bucs’ top target after the draft.


Rashaan Melvin was the Bucs’ top target after the draft.



Bucs cornerback Rashaan Melvin arrived at Northern Illinois as a walk-on, hoping merely to earn a scholarship.

He left there having started 27 games with a school-record 17 pass break-ups as a senior, helping lead the Mid-American Conference champion Huskies to the Orange Bowl.

So, you can see why it was not considered a deal breaker for Melvin when no team selected him in the NFL draft in April. All he’s done is overcome it with a solid training-camp performance that has him in position to make the cut on Tampa Bay’s regular-season roster.

“When it comes to the draft, everybody wants to get drafted, but in reality, everybody doesn’t,” Melvin said. “For me, it was an opportunity to keep working and keep grinding and keeping a chip on my shoulder, showing that drafted or undfrafted, you still have to come out and play ball no matter what.”

The Bucs, honestly, aren’t that surprised. As it turns out, plenty of teams wanted Melvin. The Bucs won the right to sign him as an rookie free agent, outbidding others with a larger signing bonus. Melvin was the Bucs’ top target after the draft, and their efforts appear to have landed them a player.

“He’s got physical tools,” coach Greg Schiano said of the 6-foot-2, 193-pound Melvin. “He works very hard at his preparation mentally. He’s got a good temperament. I think he’s got a chance to be a good player. Now, that’s a lot of pressure on an undrafted player. But every day he goes out there and practices and does a good job, if you keep stacking those on top of each other, he’s got a chance.”

Coaches say Melvin has earned an increasing number of practice reps, and he’s maximized them, showing consistent playmaking. In many cases, those plays are coming against first- and second-teamers, with the cornerback lineup shuffled a bit as Darrelle Revis (knee) sits out full-speed drills.

“It’s a better opportunity for me to showcase my talents,” Melvin said of the chance.

Overlooked initially – again – Melvin continues to prove capable of overcoming.


[Last modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 3:51pm]


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