Former Alabama RB Kenneth Darby is ready to report to Bucs camp and make his mark
Thanks to a busy afternoon on the second day of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' player personnel department has been hard at work this month. The Buccaneers made six of their 10 selections on Day Two of April's draft; now, all six of those players are under contract and ready to report to training camp.
That task was completed on Saturday when the team announced the signing of former Alabama star running back Kenneth Darby. Only the third player in Crimson Tide history to rush for more than 3,000 career yards, Darby was the third of three picks made by Tampa Bay in the seventh round.
Thanks to his new deal, Darby now counts against the team's 80-man training camp roster limit. Thus, the Bucs had to pair his signing with the release of another player; in this case defensive tackle Justin Frick .
On Friday, the Buccaneers announced the signing of another seventh-rounder, tackle Chris Denman. That follows previous deals for fourth-round safety Tanard Jackson, fifth-round defensive tackle Greg Peterson, sixth-round linebacker Adam Hayward and seventh-round cornerback Marcus Hamilton. With all of that work done, the Buccaneers can now concentrate on getting their four first-day picks in the fold in time for the start of training camp next Thursday.
Still needing completed deals are first-round defensive end Gaines Adams, second-round guard Arron Sears, second-round safety Sabby Piscitelli and third-round linebacker Quincy Black. Players are expected to report to training camp on the afternoon of July 26; those without contracts may not report.
The Bucs followed a common pattern by getting contracts for their day-two selections done first. Draft-pick salaries are governed by a slotting system that assigns specific values to each spot in the draft, descending as it goes. Early-round contracts can still be complicated, but there is less room or need for creativity in the later rounds.
Darby's total of 3,324 rushing yards at Alabama trailed only the career marks of Shaun Alexander (3,565) and Bobby Humphrey (3,420). He also caught 70 passes for 340 yards in his four collegiate seasons and scored 13 touchdowns. As a junior in 2005, Darby rushed for a career-high 1,242 yards on 239 carries (5.2 avg.) and earned All-SEC First-Team honors from the league's coaches. He hails from Huntsville, Alabama.
Frick joined the team on May 3 as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State. He played in 38 games with 22 starts for the Bison, recording 131 tackles, 10 sacks and nine passes defensed.