DT Roy Miller could move quickly into a spot in the Buccaneers' defensive line rotation
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got an early start on signing their 2009 draft picks, and now they're down to just one unsigned player with three weeks to go before training camp.
On Monday, the Buccaneers announced the signing of third-round pick Roy Miller, the high-motor defensive tackle out of Texas. To make room on the roster for Miller, who by signing now counts against the 80-man offseason limit, the team released veteran quarterback Brian Griese.
Miller and the Buccaneers agreed on a four-year deal. As is team policy, other terms of the contract were not announced. However, the completion of the deal means the Buccaneers have now signed five of their six '09 picks, leaving only first-round selection Josh Freeman still in negotiation. The quick contract work on this year's draft class has inspired confidence that the entire roster will be intact when camp opens on July 31.
The Buccaneers grabbed Miller with the 17th pick of the third round of the NFL Draft in April, the 81st selection overall. Due to the Kellen Winslow trade, Tampa Bay did not have a second-round pick after taking Freeman in the opening stanza, so Miller was the first defensive selection for a team clearly looking for help up front. The Bucs believe Miller, at 6-1 and 310 pounds and with impressive strength and leg drive, can provide that help immediately.
At Texas, Miller often occupied multiple blockers in order to free up other Longhorn defenders, but he also racked up 138 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 10 sacks over the course of 49 games.
Last year, Miller started all 13 games at defensive tackle and was an All-Big 12 choice by the conference's coaches. He helped the Longhorns rank first in the Big 12 in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense, logging 49 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 28 quarterback pressures, four passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
Miller, who hails from Killeen, Texas, was on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll at UT and he graduated with a degree in corporate communications.
Griese's release concludes his second stint with the Buccaneers. He originally signed with Tampa Bay in March of 2004 and spent the next two years with the team, starting a total of 16 games. He departed via free agency for the Bears in 2006 but, after two seasons in Chicago, was reacquired by the Buccaneers in a trade in March of 2008. Last year, Griese started a total of five games when Jeff Garcia was hurt.