The 2009 NFL draft marks the beginning of the Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After cutting a slew of veterans, including former Defensive Player of the Year Derrick Brooks, Dominik made a move that the previous regime resisted for years by moving up in the draft to select Josh Freeman to be the franchise quarterback. The Bucs had not invested this high of a pick in the quarterback position since they selected Trent Dilfer with the sixth pick in 1994. Though Morris’ days as the Bucs head coach are over, the franchise is still waiting to see if the quarterback he first met at Kansas State is the captain of their ship.
1st round (17th overall) – Josh Freeman – Quarterback – Kansas State
Josh Freeman, the only remaining player on the current Buccaneers roster from the 2009 NFL Draft, has started 56 games beginning with his week nine victory over the Green Bay Packers his rookie season. Freeman led the Bucs to two more wins on the road against Seattle and New Orleans, during a lackluster rebuilding year.
Freeman entered the 2010 season as the Buccaneers starting quarterback. He quickly gained a reputation for leading fourth-quarter comebacks against Cleveland, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Arizona. Freeman finished the season with 3,451 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions on the way to a 10-6 record, in which the Bucs would surrender the final NFC wild card spot in a league office tiebreaker to Green Bay, who would go on to win Super Bowl XLV.
With a 10-win season under his belt, expectations for Freeman’s 2011 season were set high. However, the inexperienced Buccaneers team fell drastically short of their goals. Freeman finished with 16 touchdowns, 22 interceptions on his way to a 4-12 record.
The 2012 Buccaneers offense was revitalized with the signings of Pro-Bowlers Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks. Freeman broke the 4,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and threw 27 touchdowns, despite his 17 interceptions.
Freeman is entering the final year of his contract in the 2013 season. He will be hoping to maximize his value in the free agent market with a productive year like the Ravens’ Joe Flacco did this offseason, who Freeman will square off against in the first week of the preseason schedule.
3rd round (81st overall) – Roy Miller – Defensive Tackle – Texas
The Buccaneers sent their second round pick to Cleveland in a trade for tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. With a need to bolster a defensive line that struggled to defend against the run and rush the passer, the Buccaneers aimed their sights at defensive tackle Roy Miller from Texas. Miller has only missed two games in his four seasons as a Buccaneer. During his career in Tampa, he has amassed 139 tackles and 3 sacks.
Roy Miller parted ways with the Buccaneers after the 2012 season and has recently signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he will be reunited with former Bucs Geno Hayes and Jordan Shipley.
4th round (117th overall) – Kyle Moore – Defensive End – University of Southern California
Kyle Moore only spent two seasons with the Buccaneers, where he recorded a measly 28 tackles. He was released on September 2, 2011 and landed on the Detroit Lions’ practice squad.
The Buffalo Bills signed Moore in November 2011, where he assumed a backup role appearing in only four games. In 2012, Moore started seven games for the Bills due to the absence of injured Mark Anderson, where he recorded 24 tackles and three sacks. Many speculated that Buffalo would retain Moore, but he was allowed to test the free agent market and signed with the Chicago Bears on April 9th.
5th round (155th overall) – Xavier Fulton – Offensive Tackle – Illinois
Xavier Fulton suffered a torn knee ligament in the 2009 preseason finale against Houston. The Buccaneers cut ties with the tackle in September 2010. After leaving Tampa, he bounced around to Indianapolis, San Francisco and Washington.
Fulton adapted boxing into his offseason training regimen for football. He became a Golden Cloves Champion in April 2012, with a career 3-0 record.
In 2011, Fulton played in the UFL for the Virginia Destroyers, before finding a home with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League the following year. Last season Fulton started 17 regular season games for the Roughriders, missing only one game to injury.
7th round (217th overall) – E.J. Biggers – Cornerback – Western Michigan
The much maligned and ill-mentioned E.J. Biggers missed his rookie year due to a shoulder injury that occurred in practice. Biggers made his NFL debut starting against Cleveland in week one of the 2010 season, where he replaced Aqib Talib who was serving a one-game suspension.
During his three active seasons with the Buccaneers, Biggers recorded 168 tackles, two forced fumbles, three interceptions and a quarterback sack. He was often forced into a starting role that he was unprepared for and faired quite well against the likes of Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson. Though his name often brought up amongst the fan base for failing to meet expectations.
The Buccaneers allowed Biggers to test the free agent market in 2013 and was signed by the Washington Redskins, where he will reunite with former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris.
7th round (233rd overall) – Sammie Stroughter – Wide Receiver – Oregon State
Perhaps best known for his go-ahead touchdown reception against Green Bay during his rookie campaign, Sammie Stroughter served as a slot receiver and return man for the Bucs during his four-year tenure. He pulled in a career-high 31 receptions in 2009, recorded 334 yards and caught the aforementioned touchdown.
Stroughter was an effective slot receiver when he could remain healthy, an issue that he dealt with often. He only appeared in 33 games during his four seasons with the Bucs and just two games last year. He is currently a free agent.
Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers