The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have all their draft picks in camp on the first day of practice and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has every opportunity to prove he can elevate the Buccaneers' defense.
That was assured on Saturday afternoon when McCoy and the Buccaneers finalized a five-year contract between the first and second workouts of the day. Tampa Bay's first-round pick in the 2010 draft and the third player selected overall, McCoy got his deal done in time to join the second half of the camp-opening two-a-day.
To make room for McCoy on the 80-man camp roster, the Buccaneers released rookie quarterback Jevan Snead.
All nine of the Bucs' 2010 draftees are now under contract, and the team still has not endured an extended camp holdout by a rookie since Trent Dilfer in 1994. McCoy's agreement was essentially done on Saturday morning, around the same time the Bucs also finished a six-year extension for left tackle Donald Penn, but not completed and signed until after the morning workout.
The Buccaneers expect McCoy to make an instant impact on their defense, shoring up a run defense that struggled in 2009 and providing the sort of interior pass rush the team has been lacking since the days of Warren Sapp. Though straight comparisons to Sapp may be unfair to McCoy at this point, the Buccaneers do believe the former Oklahoma star can make the under tackle position a dynamic part of their attack once again.
McCoy played that under tackle, or three-technique, position at Oklahoma, starting all 40 games during his three-year career and twice serving as a team captain. His 40 consecutive starts set a new school record for defensive linemen. By selecting him with the third pick of the opening round, the Buccaneers made McCoy their highest-drafted defensive player since they took another former Sooner, defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, with the first overall choice in their inaugural 1976 draft.
The 6-4, 295-pound pass-rusher possesses natural strength and an extremely quick first step that allows him to collapse the pocket from the middle of the line. He dealt with near-constant double-teaming during his collegiate career but still recorded 83 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 33 tackles for loss and 21 quarterback pressures. In 2009, McCoy earned All-America honors while racking up 34 tackles, 6.0 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.
The Buccaneers signed Snead as an undrafted free agent on April 26.