DT Greg Peterson could be a good fit at the Bucs' under tackle position
With the majority of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' players and coaches still enjoying some highly-valued down time before training camp begins, there's a noticeable lull at One Buccaneer Place these days. The locker room is empty, the weight room sparsely populated and the training area as close to vacant as it ever gets.
That lack of activity doesn't extend to the personnel office, however, as team executives are busily working on getting the team's 2007 draft picks under contract in time for camp. On Monday, they kicked things off with completed deals for defensive tackle Greg Peterson and linebacker Adam Hayward.
Peterson, a fifth-round pick, and Hayward, a sixth-round selection, join fourth-round safety Tanard Jackson and seventh-round cornerback Marcus Hamilton, both of whom inked deals near the end of June.
That's four of the team's 10 draft picks signed, and it's likely more will follow soon. The Bucs haven't had a lengthy rookie holdout since Trent Dilfer in 1994 and have had every draft pick signed by the reporting date since Bruce Allen took over as general manager in 2004.
The Buccaneers are excited about Peterson's potential. The 141st player taken overall in this year's draft, the 6-5, 271-pound Peterson has displayed a rare combination of size and speed that could see him flourish as a three-technique interior linemen or a defensive end, as some scouts have projected.
While at North Carolina Central, Peterson was a force up front, registering 10.5 sacks throughout two seasons after transferring from Hinds Community College in Mississippi. He also posted 104 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, one interception, three forced fumbles and a blocked kick during the 2005-06 seasons.
Hayward is a 6-0, 235-pound linebacker who possesses exceptional range and the sideline-to-sideline cover ability the team demands of that position. The 182nd overall selection in this year's draft, Hayward is a quick and athletic defender who not only has the makings of a solid Cover Two linebacker but also an effective pass rusher off the edge.
As a senior in 2006, Hayward turned in a breakout season, leading Portland State with 104 tackles to go with 9.5 sacks and 16.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also forced three fumbles and recovered another while registering seven passes defensed. That season, Hayward earned consensus All-America and unanimous All-Big Sky honors and was also named the league's defensive player of the year.
In 22 games at Portland State, Hayward started 11 times and recorded 123 tackles, 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He forced four total fumbles with one recovery and tallied seven passes defensed.
Still unsigned are first-round defensive end Gaines Adams, second-round offensive guard Arron Sears, second-round safety Sabby Piscitelli, third-round linebacker Quincy Black and a pair of seventh-round picks, tackle Chris Denman and running back Kenneth Darby.