Najee Goode and Keith Tandy can celebrate another professional milestone together.
Three weeks ago, the former teammates and road-game roommates at West Virginia entered the NFL together as fifth and sixth-round picks, respectively, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On Monday, Goode and Tandy were at One Buccaneer Place to sign their first NFL contracts, fittingly on the same day. Both players agreed to four-year deals.
The Buccaneers have now inked four of their seven 2012 draft picks. Seventh-rounders and Drake Dunsmore finalized their first contracts a week ago. Still remaining to be signed are first-rounders Mark Barron and Doug Martin and second-rounder Lavonte David. Rookies may participate in offseason team programs without contracts but must get that issue resolved before reporting to training camp, which will open in late July.
Under new Head Coach Greg Schiano, the Buccaneers used four of their seven draft picks on defensive players after struggling on that side of the ball in 2011. Goode, a versatile and hard-nosed linebacker who played multiple positions for the Mountaineers, and Tandy, a big cornerback with outstanding coverage skills, will both have the opportunity to compete for significant roles this summer.
The 6-0, 244-pound Goode started the past two seasons at West Virginia and compiled 134 tackles, 8.0 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. In his final 25 collegiate games he made 21 stops behind the line of scrimmage despite playing in a run-stopping role in the middle of WVU's defense.
As a senior in 2011, Goode earned first-team All-Big East honors after starting all 13 games, including a handful each in the middle, on the strong side and on the weak side. He finished with a career-best 87 tackles, 5.0 sacks and 14.0 tackles for loss and also notched his second career interception. In his first season as a starter in 2010, Goode rang up 47 tackles, 3.0 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss, while also being credited with four passes defensed and four quarterback pressures.
Tandy (5-10, 200) excelled against the run in his three seasons as a Mountain, as evidenced by his 182 tackles from 2009-11. He also racked up 13 interceptions in his collegiate career, to go with 24 passes defensed and eight tackles for loss.
Tandy moved to the left cornerback spot as a senior after starting on the right side the previous two years and produced a very strong season. Last fall he racked up a career-best 64 tackles while also snaring four interceptions and breaking up nine other passes. That earned him first-team All-Big East honors both from the conference's coaches and ESPN. In 2010, Tandy recorded a career-best six interceptions, tying for the 10th-best total in the nation. Those turnovers, plus 57 tackles and another 11 pass deflections, earned him second-team All-America accolades from SI.com.