Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Add Versatile D-Lineman Wilkerson

While the first two newcomers to the Bucs' roster have been brought in to boost the blocking on offense, the team's newest free agent addition plays on the other side of the ball: defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson

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DE Jimmy Wilkerson played all along the defensive line for the Chiefs

Mere days after releasing Kevin Carter and Greg Spires prior to the start of free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have replaced some of that veteran experience on the defensive line with the signing of unrestricted free agent Jimmy Wilkerson.

Wilkerson, a 6-2, 290-pound defensive end, spent the last five seasons in Kansas City after the Chiefs selected him in the sixth round (189th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft.

As is team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Bucs' strategy last offseason included an effort to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Although defensive end Gaines Adams posted a stellar rookie campaign in 2007 and former Arena League star Greg White emerged as one of the surprise performers in the NFL, the goal heading into this year's free agency period was the same – to further bolster the defensive line.

With that aim in mind, the Bucs have added an experienced, versatile lineman in Wilkerson. While his natural position is left defensive end, Wilkerson has shown the ability to play effectively at any spot along the defensive front. A durable performer, the 27-year old has played in at least 12 games every year he's spent in the league, including all 16 in both 2005 and 2007.

After the Chiefs drafted Wilkerson in 2003, he immediately carved a niche into the defensive line rotation and on the special teams unit. Along with linebacker Kawika Mitchell, Wilkerson shared the team's Mack Lee Hill award that year, given annually to the Chiefs' top rookie or first-year player.

Wilkerson spent the next four seasons as a reserve defensive lineman and special teams contributor. In 72 career games (five starts), Wilkerson has tallied 97 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and six passes defensed. Wilkerson has also proven to be a contributor on special teams with 41 career stops, and his 13 special teams tackles in 2007 were good enough for second on the Chiefs.

Wilkerson attended college at Oklahoma, where he earned All-Big 12 honors in his sophomore season in 2001 and again in his junior campaign in 2002. His collegiate career saw him post 130 tackles, 35 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, 13 passes defensed and four forced fumbles in 38 games (24 starts).

A former quarterback in high school, Wilkerson was born in Mount Pleasant, TX.

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