The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued the work of getting their draft class under contract on Thursday, as punter Jake Camardasigned his first NFL pact shortly before the final practice of the team's three-day minicamp. Camarda, the second of two fourth-round picks by the Buccaneers in the 2022 draft, received the four-year deal that is standard for all players picked after the first round.
The Buccaneers have now signed six of their eight 2022 draft picks, with only second-round defensive lineman Logan Hall and fourth-round tight end Cade Otton still needing to complete their deals. The team previously reached agreement with second-round guard Luke Goedeke, third-round running back Rachaad White, fifth-round cornerback Zyon McCollum, sixth-round tight end Ko Kieft and seventh-round outside linebacker Andre Anthony.
The Buccaneers used the 133rd overall pick on Camarda, the former Georgia standout, representing the highest selection the franchise had used on a punter since 1988. Tampa Bay felt it was a worthy investment because Camarda can affect field position in multiple ways, as both a strong-legged punter and a proficient kickoff specialist.
Camarda averaged 45.8 yards per punt over four seasons with the Bulldogs, including a 46.7-yard mark on 144 punts over his final three seasons. The Georgia native showed off both his leg strength and his touch by hitting 67 punts of over 50 yards and 17 of over 60 yards but also downing 70 punts inside the 20.
Camarda was also used on 102 kickoffs and hit 71 of them for touchbacks, with another 16 resulting in fair catches. His easy power allows him to produce touchbacks almost on command, but he is also adept at the "mortar kick" strategy in which the ball is hit high but short of the goal line, allowing the coverage team to get to the return man inside the 20-yard line.
The Buccaneers currently have three punters on the roster, with Camarda joining veteran incumbent Bradley Pinion and practice squad holdover Sterling Hofrichter. On Wednesday, Head Coach Todd Bowles said the team would likely not take three punters into training camp.