The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have found great success in playing rookies the last two seasons, will have their entire 2011 draft class on the practice field for the remainder of training camp.
Seven of the team's eight draftees came to contract agreement prior to the beginning of practice on Friday. On Saturday, the team announced the signing of sixth-round draft pick Allen Bradford, making the class complete in time for the second day of on-field action.
Bradford, a 6-0, 235-pound running back out of USC, was the 187th player selected overall in the 2011 draft. Like LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay's rookie sensation in 2010, Bradford is a big, bruising back who also has breakaway speed. That big-play ability is evidenced by his stellar career average of 5.81 yards per carry with the Trojans.
Bradford was also a force on special teams for the Trojans, not surprising given that he first came to USC as a highly-recruited linebacker.
Bradford was originally thought to be a safety upon his arrival at USC. However, he was quickly converted to offense and asked to make an impact in the backfield. That could have been a daunting request for Bradford, given that USC's tailback stable is often four or five deep in five-star recruits, but he fought his way through the crowd to become one of the team's most productive runners.
While he carried the ball only sparingly in his first two seasons, he was one of the Trojans' top special teams players by his sophomore season, with 11 kick-coverage tackles in 2007. His emergence in the backfield began in 2009, after he missed most of 2008 as a medical redshirt. As a junior, he carried 115 times for 668 yards and eight touchdowns.
Last year, new USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin named Marc Tyler the Trojans' starting back ahead of Bradford, but the two ended up being a very productive tandem. Tyler led the team with 913 yards and nine touchdowns, but Bradford was just behind at 794 yards and five scores. Moreover, Bradford's impressive 7.2 yards per carry was easily the best mark among the Trojans' many backs.
Tampa Bay's training camp continues on Saturday with an afternoon practice beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. The practice at One Buccaneer Place is free and open to the public. Click here for more information on attending camp practices at the Buccaneers' headquarters.