LB Quincy Black won't miss a day of camp, having signed his contract in time to meet reporting day
As far as getting their 2007 draft class signed in time for training camp is concerned, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now very much in the black.
And Black – third-round linebacker Quincy Black, that is – will be in when camp begins on Thursday, having signed his first NFL contract. The Buccaneers announced that deal on Wednesday; terms were not disclosed.
Black's signed contract means he now counts against the team's 87-man camp roster limit (80 plus seven NFL Europa exemptions), so the team also announced the release of rookie quarterback Zac Taylor.
Tampa Bay had a pair of unrelated roster moves on Wednesday as well, claiming center/guard Enoka Lucas off waivers from the Houston Texans and waiving rookie guard Anthony Wollschlager.
With Black in the fold the Bucs are now down to three unsigned players out of their 10 draftees from April. Previously inking deals within the last few weeks were fourth-round safety Tanard Jackson, fifth-round defensive tackle Greg Peterson, sixth-round linebacker Adam Hayward and a trio of seventh-rounders – tackle Chris Denman, cornerback Marcus Hamilton and running back Kenneth Darby.
Still looking to complete their deals are first-round defensive end Gaines Adams, second-round guard Arron Sears and second-round safety Sabby Piscitelli. Black's contract could be a bellwether for things to come over the next 36-48, as he is the first of the team's four first-day picks to get a deal done. The team is hopeful that it will have Adams, Sears and Piscitelli on the field, too, in time for the first practice of training camp on Friday morning.
The 6-2, 240-pound Black was one of the best pure athletes available in the '07 draft and he possesses outstanding speed and quickness, traits the team values highly at the linebacker position. As a senior at New Mexico he started all 13 games and racked up 114 tackles, one sack, four passes defensed and three interceptions. Playing the same position at New Mexico previously made famous by Brian Urlacher, Black proved adept at both rushing the passer and covering backs and tight ends out of the backfield.
Black's top-notch physical skills were on display at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he posted a combine-best vertical leap of 41.5 inches and ran a 40-yard dash in the 4.4s. He made a quick impression on the practice field upon joining the Buccaneers, too, trying his hand at several positions and flashing that trademark speed.
Lucas (6-4, 299) signed with Houston as undrafted free agent out of Oregon on May 10. He was released this Monday as the Texans signed two members of their draft class.
A two-time team captain for the Ducks, Lucas was an All-PAC 10 first-team choice in 2006 after earning second-team honors in 2005. Last fall, he anchored an OU line that allowed just 16 sacks in 12 games while also blocking for a running game that finished 14th nationally with 181.9 yards per game. He played both center and guard at Oregon and is considered capable of handling any of the interior-line positions.
The players released by the Buccaneers, Taylor and Wollschlager, were also undrafted free agents. Taylor, a star passer at Nebraska, was one of the 11 free agents signed by Tampa Bay right after the draft. Wollschlager, a top performer on the University of Miami's O-line, was added on May 8 after performing well on a tryout contract in the team's rookie mini-camp.