The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2021 draft picks are gathering at the AdventHealth Training Center for rookie mini-camp this weekend, and three of them took the opportunity on Thursday to ink their first NFL contracts.
Fifth-round inside linebacker K.J. Britt, seventh-round cornerback Chris Wilcox and seventh-round inside linebacker Grant Stuard all signed the standard four-year deals that players drafted after the first round receive. The Buccaneers still have four more draft picks to sign before training camp: first-round outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, second-round quarterback Kyle Trask, third-round tackle Robert Hainsey and fourth-round wide receiver Jaelon Darden.
Though there aren't many openings at the top of Tampa Bay's depth chart, all three rookies could make an immediate impact on special teams. General Manager Jason Licht stressed that aspect of the game on the evening after the three Britt, Wilcox and Stuard were drafted.
"Yeah, we definitely wanted to get faster. We wanted guys that played with big heart [and] a lot of energy, love football – that was kind of the common theme. We wanted to stress special teams, so that was one area we wanted to upgrade."
Britt, in fact, stood out on special teams for two years at Auburn before getting his chance to start in 2019. He made the most of that opportunity, racking up 68 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles while excelling against the run. He also had double-digit tackle totals in each of his first two games last fall before his season was cut short by a thumb injury.
A high school track standout, Wilcox ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at the BYU Pro Day. In 41 games for the Cougars he tallied 88 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and eight passes defensed.
Stuard appeared in 33 games over four seasons at the University of Houston and was named a team captain for his 2020 senior campaign. He led the Cougars with 61 tackles last year and finished his collegiate career with 191 stops, 16.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and four passes defensed.