It's summertime and with training camp right around the corner, NFL teams are in the midst of OTA's and among the players trying to make an impression are the 100's of undrafted free agents signed to fill out NFL 800-man rosters. After training camp, when the final cuts are made to get down to the final 53, around 90 percent of those undrafted guys won't make the cut.
Among the Buccaneers 80-man roster are 8 undrafted free agents vying to make the team. Three of the Buc's UDFA's are former USF players including defensive end Jarriett Buie, who's been impressing the coaching staff.
"Everything's going real well. I've had some good days and some rough days, but overall I'm doing a lot of good things out here."
For Buie and the others, the key for them is to get noticed and make an impression before training camp starts in August, and that started last month when Buie was among 33 players who were invited to Tampa Bay's minicamp on try-out contracts.
"I came out with a chip on my shoulder, and did a lot of good things during the rookie minicamp," said Buie, who also said that his time at USF gave him a slight edge. "A lot of guys weren't used to the Tampa heat, and a lot of them cramped up and stuff. I've been training for this and preparing for this for a long time."
Buie used the 3-day minicamp to open some eyes with a tenacious pass rush, but said there was a bit of an adjustment compared to his days in college..
"I got a lot of sacks, but one thing I learned about the league is that you have to stay away from the quarterback. The first couple of times I would keep getting back there and got real close to them, but I had to do it and let them know that I was here. In college you could tag them, but in the league they want you to stay away from them, and you can't even touch them."
Buie was offered a contract right after the end of camp and has been working hard during OTA's ever since.
"I feel pretty good right now," said Buie. "But I understand this is only the beginning and anything can happen, and I just got to stay on edge, and keep working hard, and training hard."
While playing for the Bulls, Buie used his size, speed and skills to cause mismatches for opposing offensive linemen. Last season he started all 13 games, finishing with five sacks for minus 32 yards, and eight tackles for a loss. Buie also credits his time at USF for much of his success.
"At South Florida we had to work out very hard in the heat, so it made me better prepared for when I got to camp here," said Buie, who also added that "After being with Coach Leavitt, you can almost tackle anything, because he's a hard coach and will push you. Also our strength program with Coach Mac kept us working all the time. When I got here, it made the transition pretty much easy."
"USF will always be my home, but I know that my time there was limited and now it's time for the next chapter.
Now that Buie is in his last week of OTA's with the Buc's he says "I've been excelling on special teams, and in pass situations I've knocked a couple balls down, and get sacks all the time." Buie also says he gets encouragement from the coaching staff.
"They tell me I'm doing a good job and to keep working hard, keep getting after it, and keep bringing that pass rush."
Tampa Bay's mandatory minicamp will be held June 16-18 and Buie who has a good shot of making it through August has a mindset that he's carried all through camp.
"I go out there with a lot of confidence, have fun and prepared to get the job done every day that I'm out there," said Buie. "Just show up and Show out. Every day that I show up, I'm gonna try and show out." That's my motto when I play football."
Jarriett Buie "Just show up and show out!"
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