Tampa Bay Buccaneer players will take to the fields behind One Buccaneer Place on Monday to begin the team's nine-week offseason program. On Friday, several dozen potential Buccaneers beat them to the punch.
The Buccaneers held their annual pre-draft workout of "local" players on Friday morning, taking advantage of a provision in the CBA that allows them to bring in up to 30 draft prospects who played either high school or college football in their metropolitan area. The provision also includes a handful of state schools from a bit farther away, including Florida and Florida State. These workouts are in addition to the 30 prospect visits the team can arrange with players from any school or hometown.
Among the players working out at Buccaneers headquarters on Friday was Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who has seen his draft stock rise rapidly since the end of the Knights' undefeated 2017 season. Griffin, who was born with a syndrome that led to the amputation of his left hand at the age of four, put on a dominant performance at the NFL Scouting Combine and is one of 22 potential draftees who will be in attendance at the NFL Draft in Dallas.
Griffin and his twin brother Shaquill, a 2017 third-round draft pick who plays cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, played their prep football at St. Petersburg Catholic. Many of the prospects who took part in Friday's workout also played their high school football locally, including South Florida guard Cameron Ruff, a Jesuit High product. Jesuit is located within walking distance of both One Buccaneer Place and Raymond James Stadium.
The entire list of players who participated in Friday's local-prospect workout is below.
|CB||Abraham, Devin||South Florida||East Lake|
|S||Conyers, Denzel||Maryland||Boca Ciega|
|QB||Flowers, Quinton||South Florida|
|TE||Franks, Jordan||Central Florida|
|CB||Fullwood, Tajee||South Florida||Tampa Bay Tech|
|RB||Green, Ryan||Florida State||St. Petersburg Catholic|
|LB||Griffin, Shaquem||Central Florida||Lakewood|
|G||Hall, Jeremy||South Florida|
|DT||Hector, Bruce||South Florida||Robinson|
|P||Hernandez, Jonathan||South Florida||Manatee|
|RB||Johnson, D'Ernest||South Florida|
|DE||Love, Mike||South Florida|
|QB||McGough, Alex||Florida International||Gaither|
|WR||Murray, Chris||Arkansas State||King|
|CB||Nichols, Deatrick||South Florida|
|DT||Pittman, Jamiyus||Central Florida|
|WR||Pringle, Byron||Kansas State||Robinson|
|G||Ruff, Cameron||South Florida||Jesuit|
|LB||Salmon, Shaheed||Samford||Land O' Lakes|
|LB||Sanchez, Auggie||South Florida||Northeast|
|DT||Senat, Deadrin||South Florida|
|RB||Tice, Darius||South Florida|
USF quarterback Quinton Flowers, who also took part in the NFL's Combine, is one of the more intriguing stories in the group. Despite a wildly productive career for the Bulls that included a Conference Player of the Year award as a junior, Flowers might be a better fit as a running back in the NFL. Of course, he was also a prolific runner for the Bulls, racking up 3,599 yards and 41 touchdowns during this three years as the starter. He worked out as a running back at the Combine.
Three other quarterbacks were invited to Friday's workout, including Marshall's Chase Litton and Florida's Malik Zaire. Litton was one of 20 quarterbacks in the nation to be invited to the Combine and is considered a potential late-round draft pick. He played his prep football at Wharton High in Tampa. Zaire is not a Bay area native but he spent the 2017 with the Florida Gators after transferring from Notre Dame.
As usual, the local workout drew a large contingent of USF players. That included linebacker Auggie Sanchez, who played his prep ball at Northeast High in St. Petersburg before becoming the Bulls' all-time leading tackler. Sanchez's teammate, Deadrin Senat, was also a Combine participant and is considered a potential mid-round draft pick as a strong and active 4-3 nose tackle.
The Buccaneers' local-prospect workout was conducted less than two weeks before the start of the 2018 NFL Draft, which kicks off with its first round on Thursday, April 26. Many of the players in attendance on Friday grew up in the Bay area and played high school and/or college football within sight of Raymond James Stadium. Perhaps one or more of them will find their way onto the Buccaneers' 2018 offseason roster, either as a draft pick or a high-priority undrafted free agent signee.