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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs training camp: Five players under the radar

DL Steven Means
A fifth-round pick out of unheralded Buffalo, Means is trying to make the transition from outside linebacker to rush end as a rookie and has already wowed the Bucs' brass with his burst off the ball and instincts. Means has a knack for knowing precisely when to make his cut toward the quarterback, which is often the key to eluding a blocker and finishing off a sack. The Bucs haven't reached the 30-sack plateau since they registered 33 in 2007. If Means can play to the level the Bucs expect, he could earn regular playing time as a rush specialist and help them end their disconcerting string of sub-par sack seasons.
RB Matt Brown
Brown doesn't look at all like your typical NFL back. He stands just 5-foot-5 and weighs 170 pounds, which is why he was ignored by major college programs coming out of high school. He walked on at Temple four years ago and soon became a sensation, particularly as a return man. He returned 83 kicks for 2,068 yards (24.9 average) and 45 punts for 403 yards (8.95 average) the past two seasons with the Owls. The Bucs were nothing short of pedestrian in those areas last year, ranking 30th overall in kick return average and 19th in punt return average. If he can withstand the punishment the NFL dishes out, Brown could change that.
CB Rashaan Melvin
Some guys just know how to find the ball and Melvin is one of those guys. At Northern Illinois, he set the single-season school record for pass breakups with 17 last year and had 35 for his career, the second-most in NIU history. Now, that was college. And the MAC is not exactly the SEC. But it must be noted that the undrafted Melvin has continued to show that knack for finding the ball with Tampa Bay. The Bucs are really excited about this kid, in part because of his ideal size (6-2, 193) and in part because he shows a willingness and ability to play strong against the run. With the Bucs on the lookout for corner help, Melvin could prove to be an impact player.
RT Gabe Carimi
The Bucs believe their offensive line depth is as good as it's been in years, and Carimi is one of the reasons. The 2010 Outland Trophy winner as college football's top offensive lineman, Carimi was a first-round pick (29th overall) of the Chicago Bears in 2011. The Bucs, who acquired him in a June trade, believe he still has the ability to justify that selection. The key is staying healthy and playing right tackle. After losing him to a season-ending knee injury in 2011, the Bears moved Carimi to guard in 2012, but he never made a sound adjustment. Now back at tackle, Carimi has a chance to right his career and win a starting job.
WR David Douglas
Few players impressed the Bucs more during their offseason workout program than wideout Kevin Ogletree. A free agent signed away from the Cowboys in March, Ogletree established himself as the leader in the race for the third or slot receiver spot. But Douglas has the ability to pass him and win the job. At 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds, Douglas has good size, very good leaping ability - he can jump 39 inches from a stand still - and intriguing speed with a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. Coming out of college at Arizona two years ago, he drew some comparisons to Wes Welker for his ability to find openings and make tough catches.
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