Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Another One Done: Hamilton Signs

The fast-moving Bucs now have two of their 10 draft picks under contract, after announcing a deal with seventh-round cornerback Marcus Hamilton on Sunday


CB Marcus Hamilton had 15 career interceptions at Virginia, just like a certain well-known Buccaneer defensive back

Tanard Jackson got the ball rolling. Now Marcus Hamilton has kept it moving, fueling optimism that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would get their 2007 draft class under contract in time for the start of training camp.

Camp is still five weeks away, but the Bucs now have a fifth of their 10-man class in the fold. On Sunday, the team announced the signing of cornerback Marcus Hamilton, one of three players selected in the seventh round of April's draft. That follows Friday's news that Jackson, a fourth-round safety, had inked his first NFL deal.

Of course, the Bucs already have a promising history of getting their rookie class in for the beginning of camp, even when that group includes a high first-rounder (such as two years ago with running back Cadillac Williams). Tampa Bay hasn't had an extended rookie holdout since quarterback Trent Dilfer in 1994.

Still, this year's pattern of signings represents a departure from recent history. The Bucs have generally waited until the week or so before the start of camp to get their rookie signatures, often finalizing a handful of deals on the actual reporting date. While the work on higher selections might still linger well into July, the team is off to a very good start in getting its second-day picks under contract.

Both Jackson and Hamilton just finished the team’s offseason program, and on Friday they stuck around for a Rookie Club Youth Football Camp at team headquarters. The two rookie defensive backs were in contract talks at the time but they found time to help mentor 60 visiting kids in the fundamentals of football.

Hamilton finished his collegiate career with 15 interceptions, exactly matching the total of another former Virginia cornerback-turned-Buccaneer, Ronde Barber. Hamilton had an outstanding senior season, combining 39 tackles with five picks, four passes defensed and 3.5 tackles for loss. He was a second-team all-ACC choice as a junior in 2005.

The Bucs have eight more draft picks to sign: first-round defensive end Gaines Adams, second-round guard Arron Sears, second-round safety Sabby Piscitelli, third-round linebacker Quincy Black, fifth-round defensive tackle Greg Peterson, sixth-round linebacker Adam Hayward and seventh-rounders tackle Chris Denman and running back Ken Darby.

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