Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers soon might face roster decisions

TAMPA — The Bucs have 89 players on their roster but are eyeing a few more during this weekend's rookie minicamp.

That means moves could be made in the next couple of days.

Teams are limited to 90 players on their offseason roster, up from 80. But unlike in the past, unsigned rookies count toward that number. Several players signed in recent weeks coupled with last weekend's draft leave the Bucs with little wiggle room.

Saturday, coach Greg Schiano said he is intrigued by some defensive linemen.

"It's going to be hard to decide which D linemen we go with because there are some that have done a good job and show promise," Schiano said. "(Saturday night was) a big night, evaluating everything and meeting as a staff, grinding through it and making some decisions."

Ten defensive linemen are participating this weekend. Two from North Carolina, Hilee Taylor and Jordan Nix, were coached by Bucs special assistant Butch Davis. The Bucs have one more workout today and likely will notify players they want to keep before they leave town.

How many will the Bucs keep?

"It'll be as many guys as we think can help us win," Schiano said.

GOODE START: LB Najee Goode, drafted in the fifth round, doesn't have a clear role, but the Bucs don't intend to have him sitting around, either.

Goode has been working at weakside and middle linebacker. At West Virginia, he saw time at those positions as well as at strongside linebacker. His ability to play in the middle, where he played as a freshman and senior, might be helpful for the Bucs, who are leaning toward Mason Foster as the starter but have questionable depth behind him.

It's a role Goode takes seriously.

"Being the signal caller, a lot of people look at the (middle linebacker) for leadership," he said. "But coming in as a rookie, I'm trying to come in and earn my stripes just as every other vet did when they were a rookie."

Participating in camp is giving Goode a closer look at Schiano, whom he got to know from afar while playing against his Rutgers teams in the Big East.

"Coach Schiano always gets the best out of his players," said Goode, whose teams never lost to Rutgers. "We noticed that from guys like (former Rutgers stars) Ray Rice and Kenny Britt.

"Even when we played them, they were beating … us early in a game and then we had to flip it around. I know one thing about Coach Schiano: He's going to get the best out of his players. And that's what I like about him."

NOT THERE YET: First-round pick Mark Barron is not being held out of action. But Schiano said it's obvious the safety is still hobbled by January's double-hernia surgery that prevented him from taking part in the scouting combine.

"He's recovered from that," Schiano said. "But you can see he's still not 100 percent."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]

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