TAMPA — Sean Murphy-Bunting wasn’t on the radar of Bucs cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross until scouts kept mentioning the name of this big playmaker from Central Michigan.
“I first learned of him from a scout in Arizona and then here. Both of those scouts were talking about him so I popped in the tape,” Ross said. “And when I popped in the tape, he kind of jumped off the screen a little bit at me. Good worker. Hard worker. Smart player. I hope I don’t mess him up.”
Murphy-Bunting, the Bucs’ second-round pick, was among five of the eight draft choices to sign with the team Thursday on the eve of the team’s two-day rookie minicamp.
Also signing rookie deals were defensive end Anthony Nelson, a fourth-round pick from Iowa; kicker Matt Gay, a fifth-round pick from Utah; receiver Scotty Miller, a sixth-round pick from Bowling Green; and defensive lineman Terry Beckner, Jr., a seventh-round pick from Missouri.
Still not under contract are linebacker Devin White, the Bucs’ first-round pick from LSU; cornerback Jamel Dean, a third-round pick from Auburn; and Kentucky safety Mike Edwards, also a third-round pick.
At 6-foot, 194 pounds, Murphy-Bunting has the length and speed (4.22 40-yard dash) to compete with some of the bigger receivers in the NFC South.
“We’ve had experience with Julio Jones when I was in Arizona with Patrick Peterson, so we know how good he is,” Ross said. “We played Carolina a couple years in the playoffs and regular season when Bruce (Arians) was in Arizona as well, so we kind of know their physicality, their length. They should match up pretty well with our guys.”
The Bucs may need to create some salary cap space to sign their remaining three draft picks. White will eat up about $5 million on the salary cap for 2019. Last year’s No. 5 overall pick, Broncos defensive lineman Bradley Chubb, signed a four-year, $27.271 million contract that included a $17,913,630 signing bonus, $27,271,241 guaranteed.
The Bucs rookies and tryout players will begin a minicamp Friday afternoon and Saturday at the AventHealth Training Center.