After improving their bulk, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked to finally satisfy head coach Jon Gruden’s itch for yet another quarterback.
The Buccaneers selected San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, taking a chance on a signal-caller who threw just one interception against 40 touchdowns last season for the Division 1-AA program.
Earlier Sunday the Bucs worked to improve their bulk on both sides of the line in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, selecting Rutgers G Jeremy Zuttah in the third round and Maryland DT Dre Moore in the fourth round.
The Bucs moved up five spots to No. 115 — a pick originally held by Chicago — to take Moore.
The Bucs also added another pick in the fifth round, trading down from No. 153 to No. 160 in a deal with New England that allowed the Bucs to acquire New England’s seventh-round pick (No. 238 overall). The Bucs then used the No. 160 selection to pick Johnson.
In the sixth round the Bucs selected Florida State linebacker Geno Hayes, who told reporters in February that he received advice from current Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks during the offseason.
Johnson drew plenty of attention from NFL scouts after he threw just one interception last year. He did not have a great combine workout, but the Bucs thought enough of Johnson to fly quarterbacks coach Greg Olson to a private meeting with Johnson in March.
His selection will cause some buzz in Tampa Bay, where the Bucs already have six quarterbacks on their roster — Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Bruce Gradkowski, Jake Plummer, Chris Simms and Luke McCown.
Zuttah (6-foot-4, 303 pounds) moved steadily up draft boards throughout the scouting process after a solid career at Rutgers in which he spent a good portion of his time blocking for second-round pick Ray Rice.
Zuttah made 28 consecutive starts at right tackle for the Scarlet Knights, but some scouts believe that Zuttah would be a solid fit at guard for a NFL team.
Some scouts compare him to Josh Beekman of Chicago and believe that Zuttah will need to bulk up for either position.
Zuttah said the Bucs were not specific about his future duties.
“At Rutgers, there were a couple of years where we would find the best four other offensive linemen and I would plug myself into the last spot, whichever spot was open,” Zuttah said. “Whatever is best for the team, I am willing to do.”
The Bucs likely see Zuttah as depth, as their guard positions — Davin Joseph and Arron Sears — seem set. But Zuttah’s ability to play tackle makes him an immediate improvement in depth at a position that seems to suffer injury after injury every year.
Moore (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) can play both positions in the interior defensive line. He started two seasons for the Terrapins, earning All-ACC honors his senior year and proving to be a solid defender against the run and the pass. He posted 17 ½ career tackles for loss, including 10 ½ sacks. His six sacks last season led the Terps.
The Bucs sacked the quarterback just 32 times in 2007 and were ranked only No. 17 against the run. Moore could be seen as a player that could help them in both areas. And Moore acted the part of a confident rookie on Sunday.
“By the end of my rookie year 31 teams will be shaking their head,” Moore said.
The Bucs used their fourth-round selection (No. 120 overall) and the fifth-rounder they acquired from Jacksonville on Saturday (No. 158 overall) to move up to Chicago’s fourth round pick (No. 115) to select Moore. The Bucs also received the Bears’ sixth-round selection (No. 175 overall).
On Saturday the Buccaneers addressed needs at two key positions. In the first round the Bucs took Kansas CB Aqib Talib and in the second round the Bucs selected Appalachian State WR/KR Dexter Jackson.
Whether you agree or disagree, Aqib Talib and Dexter Jackson are Buccaneers now. But what do you really know about them. Check out our “First Draft” feature, which includes seven things you might or might now know about each player. But the real bonus is all of the links to our Scout.com analysis on each player, previous stories from their college days and the scouting process, along with audio and video on each player if we have it. It’s the Scout.com network in action. You’ll know more about both players than some of the writers covering the team after you take advantage of our “First Draft” feature. Check out our “First Draft” feature on Talib by clicking here and our “First Draft” on Jackson by clicking here
Get expert analysis on where new Bucs Aqib Talib and Dexter Jackson fit into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coaches like Jon Gruden and Monte Kiffin put the selections — and their impact on the team — into context in this article. Click here to access.
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Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.