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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie Rise: SirVocea Dennis Nabs Interception During Practice 

Buccaneers fifth-round pick SirVocea Dennis left an impression on Thursday during the team period, snagging an interception

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Training camp is underway for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and with it, the opportunity for young players to earn a spot on the depth chart. For rookie inside linebacker SirVocea Dennis, he is focused on proving his worth, while taking advantage of reps. On Thursday at the AdventHealth Training Center in front of a vivacious defensive crowd, Dennis made his mark. 

Dennis anticipated where Kyle Trask was going to throw the football at the snap, broke on it and came away with an interception. The defensive sideline erupted in cheers – personifying proud parents - as Dennis jovially ran with the football in his hand. 

"He has great lateral movement," Trask described on Dennis. "Obviously, he's here for a reason. You saw what he did in college, I'm sure. He's been making plays all day in OTA's and has always been in the right spots in training camp. Maybe I was forcing it, maybe I was testing him out a little bit, but he made a great play and that's good to see."

In April, the Buccaneers started things off with their first-round selection of Panthers defensive lineman Calijah Kancey and dipped back into the Pitt talent pool in Round Five to select off-ball linebacker SirVocea Dennis. It signified the first time since 1995 that Tampa Bay drafted two players from the same college defense in the same year. 

The Panthers let Dennis roam in their defense, maximizing his agility and play recognition. He consistently made plays up and down the line of scrimmage with elite range, producing 94 tackles and 7.0 sacks as a senior, earning first-team All-ACC honors. Over his last three seasons at Pitt, Dennis racked up 15.0 sacks and 36.0 tackles for loss. For the Panthers, Dennis was an explosive A-gap blitzer with quick downhill pursuit. In 2022 for the Panthers, Dennis only missed four tackles with detailed precision on tackling form/angles. 

In 2023, the Buccaneers have one of the league's best inside linebacker tandems in Lavonte David and Devin White. However, both David and White are currently under contract for just one more season, and David will be going into his 12th campaign in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers were not going to force a pick at that position with an emphasis on the future, but when Dennis was still on the board at pick 153 in the fifth round, they took another gritty player from the ACC. 

There are several intriguing competition battles commencing at training camp for the Buccaneers, and although the two starting inside linebacker roles are entrenched with David and White, the third and fourth spot are up for the taking. General Manager Jason Licht fielded questions from the podium on Tuesday and discussed the team's deep roster at various position groups. 

"A lot of depth at the wide receiver position," Licht stated. "Obviously, the running back position, as well. We already talked about the quarterbacks. Defensive line – there will be some battles going on there. In the secondary, there will be some backup rotational corner positions ready there. There will be a lot of backup stops available. The outside [linebacker] room is very talented, and the inside linebacker group – as far as their backups – will be talented. There is going to be a lot of competition."

Dennis shined during Day Two of training camp practice and will strive to continue an upward trend on the grass, capitalizing on every rep as a pro.

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