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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Who is Rennie Curran and what's he doing with the Bucs' first-team defense?

When the Bucs signed a handful of so-called “futures” free agents back in January, the transactions made very little news.

But every once in a while, those futures players – players who weren’t on an NFL roster at the end of the last regular season – can actually become factors.

Is this one of those times?

It’s too early to tell, but Bucs linebacker Rennie Curran could buck the trend if he keeps up whatever it is he’s doing. Curran, a 2010 third-round pick of the Titans, fell off the map in 2011 after he was released by Tennessee, spending the season on the sidelines with no team.

But during the two practices reporters have been permitted to observe in recent weeks, Curran has consistently been the first-team weak-side linebacker. His status as a starter, for the time being, has relegated rookie Lavonte David to the second team.

Will things remain this way?

That seems doubtful. The likely scenario here is that David eventually takes the reigns as the starting weak-side backer, assuming the remaining positions stay the way they are (with Mason Foster in the middle and Quincy Black on the strong-side).

But, Curran apparently has been consistently impressive, though it’s important to point out he’s got a slight head start on David, who has only been learning the defense for less than a month.

So, what happened to Curran in Tennessee? The way the story has been portrayed, it seems the Titans decided the undersized Curran was not a good fit for their defense under new coach Mike Munchak. He and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray last season decided to move toward bigger linebackers. At 5-11 and 230 pounds, Curran didn’t fit the bill (to avoid getting too far off the subject, we’ll ignore the fact that the Titans signed another undersized linebacker, former Buc Barrett Ruud, in 2011).

Given the fact that Curran was active for just nine games as a rookie and couldn’t find his way onto another roster in 2011, he has to be considered a long shot. But the Bucs must see something in him, otherwise they wouldn’t waste first-team snaps on a player without a very legitimate shot to make their final roster.

It sure seems like Curran is a player who bears watching. Can he finally live up to the potential he showed coming out of the University of Georgia? Can he make the Bucs’ final roster?

Training camp will be here before you know it, at which time the answers will be revealed.

[Last modified: Monday, May 28, 2012 3:28pm]


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