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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie Chris Braswell Provides 'Balance' in Edge Rush Rotation

Chris Braswell’s versatility and aggressive style of play at Alabama will undoubtedly foster an accelerated transition to the NFL and Todd Bowles’ scheme


Rookie minicamp is underway for the Buccaneers and a word that has become synonymously linked with the team's 2024 draft class is "finish." Both General Manager Jason Licht and Assistant General Manager John Spytek have emphasized the indulgent high-effort play of the rookie bunch, including outside linebacker Chris Braswell.

Braswell will bolster the Bucs' edge rush rotation following the cap-casualty release of Shaquil Barrett in March. He will join Todd Bowles' penetrating-based scheme, similar to what he played at Alabama in Nick Saban's hybrid 3-4 system. For the Tide, Braswell lined up in a two- and three-point stance, while showcasing his versatility at rushing the passer, setting the edge against the run and dropping into coverage.

"I feel like I am a balanced player," said Braswell. "I can play the run, I can drop in coverage, pass rush and I played all four in college last year, so I think I am pretty balanced overall. As far as working on things, I would probably say active hands at the top of the rush."

In 2022, Braswell predominately played in the Tide's sub-packages on passing downs. The next year, he took over Will Anderson Jr.'s role in Alabama's defense. In 2023, Braswell led the SEC in pressures (56) and led the team with three forced fumbles. Like many at the college ranks, Braswell could have entered the transfer portal and been a starter on another roster, however, he chose to stay at Alabama. His loyalty to the Tide, its players and coaches, impressed the Bucs' brass.

"I would think I would start with the person, like we've talked about in the past," said Spytek of Braswell. "Here's a kid that went to Alabama to compete; he wanted to play with the best. He ends up behind Will Anderson and Dallas Turner, two really high-end players, and when we came in to visit with us here [we asked], 'Did you ever think about leaving?' [He responded,] 'No, why would I leave? I picked Alabama, I love Alabama, I'm not afraid of competition. I believe in myself. This is where I want to be.' He got to learn from two really good guys that he considered to be really good teammates. Then you put the tape on – he finally gets a chance to play this year and he produces with eight sacks."

Braswell's patience paid dividends. As a two-time member of Bruce Feldman's heralded "Freak's List," he pairs first-step quickness with an impressive speed-to-power conversion. He plays with a fiery disposition and downhill charge. Braswell has the lateral quickness to succeed on twists/stunts and is a wrap-up tackler with outstanding pursuit skills. Now, Braswell will begin the process of learning new terminology in Bowles' system.

His versatility at Alabama and experience dropping into coverage will help accelerate the learning process in Tampa Bay. Braswell's personal mantra, "every time you are out there, play like it is your last down," will undoubtedly serve him well at the NFL ranks. With violent hands to separate from blockers, Braswell is the next chess piece for pressure guru, Todd Bowles.

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