LSU's Jordan Jefferson among large number of signings in Bucs rookie camp
Jordan Jefferson’s first opportunity to further his football career will come in Tampa Bay.
The former LSU quarterback who was 24-8 as a starter for the national runner-up Tigers, was signed to a contract today by the Bucs after a strong performance in the weekend’s rookie minicamp.
Jefferson is among a number of players who will be added to the roster after this weekend, based on statements from coach Greg Schiano. According to Schiano, the team could have “22 to 29” transactions, including some of the 14 rookie free agents the team signed last week. That amounts to a major shakeup of the bottom of the team’s roster, even with the new 90-man roster limit enacted by the NFL last month.
Regarding Jefferson, Schiano said the Bucs are intrigued by what they see.
“He’s an athletic guy who has a strong arm,” Schiano said. “We wanted to gauge his development as a quarterback. I thought he made consistent improvement all weekend. There’s a lot of upside there, so I think we would like to have a chance to work with him.”
The Bucs currently have four quarterbacks on the roster, though that seemingly could change depending on what players the Bucs decide to keep this weekend. In addition to starter Josh Freeman and primary backup Dan Orlovsky, the Bucs have journeyman Brett Ratliff and Zach Collaros, a rookie free agent from the University of Cincinnati.
Jefferson is not seen as a polished quarterback and faces long odds, but he wants the opportunity nonetheless.
"I just want to prove that I’m a very talented player," he said. "I played at LSU for a large (number) of games. I had a very strong winning percentage there. I was the second-most winningest quarterback there. But at the same time, I’m not where I want to be. But I’m a competitor and I can be the pro style quarterback that Tampa Bay wants me to be. But I have to do a lot before I can get to that situation. I have to learn. That’s what I’ll be doing in my time here. I just want to prove that I can be an NFL quarterback."
Meanwhile, Schiano was clear there would be much turnover today. He said last week's rookie free agent signees aren't guaranteed spot.
"I’m not sure that the 14 we signed are going to be with us," Schiano said. "We look at it like we evaluate (the players) regardless of what has been done. That’s what we did."
The Bucs actually decided not to conduct a practice this morning after the staff met and discussed its evaluations on Saturday evening. After those discussions, coaches agreed they'd seen enough in the 2-a-day practices on Friday and Saturday to make personnel decisions.
One of the players who appears to be among the keepers is former Rutgers cornerback Derrick Roberson, who played there under Schiano. Roberson has been on the Bucs' roster before, but was allowed to participate because he wasn't currently on an NFL roster. Also, a report this morning indicated Portland State defensive tackle Myles Wade, a tryout candidate, is also among the players being signed to a contract.