The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finish their offseason training program next week with a three-day mini-camp. They might be done with almost all of their rookie contract work not long after.
On Friday afternoon, the Buccaneers announced that they have signed linebacker Dekoda Watson, a seventh-round pick out of Florida State, to a four-year deal. Tampa Bay also released veteran linebacker Angelo Crowell.
Watson is the second member of the team's 2010 draft class to sign on Friday and the fifth overall to reach contract agreement. While the majority of NFL draft picks get their initial deals done closer to the beginning of training camp, the Bucs are already down to just four unsigned rookies.
Seventh-round defensive end Erik Lorig opened a busy Friday at One Buccaneer Place by agreeing to his deal in the morning. That followed a trio of earlier signings in June: fourth-round wide receiver Mike Williams signed a four-year deal on June 4, third-round cornerback Myron Lewis did the same on June 14 and sixth-round punter followed suit this week. The remaining unsigned 2010 draftees are first-round defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, second-round defensive tackle Brian Price, second-round wide receiver Arrelious Benn and seventh-round safety Cody Grimm.
Watson, a 6-1, 226-pound playmaker for the Seminoles, boasts the sort of instincts and sideline-to-sideline range the Bucs have previously seen in FSU linebackers like Derrick Brooks and Geno Hayes. Like Lorig, Watson was a captain for his team as a senior. He started 32 of the 46 games he played at FSU over four years, 31 one of them on the strong side and one on the weak side. He produced 184 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 32.5 tackles for loss, eight passes defensed, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 51 yards for a touchdown. Another strong special teamer, he also blocked three kicks, two of which he recovered and returned himself.
Crowell signed with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent during the 2009 offseason but never suited up for a regular-season game in Tampa. He had missed the 2008 season while with the Buffalo Bills due to a knee ailment, and he spent his one season with the Buccaneers on injured reserve after sustaining an arm injury.