The Bucs passed on...missed out on...Greg Hardy and most other available defensive ends this off-season. Despite it being a position of desperation for the Bucs, it seemed as if the team was content with who they had on the roster.
Just a couple of weeks before the NFL Draft, the Buccaneers made an attempt to sign restricted free agent, George Johnson, away from the Lions. The Lions would dispute some of the language in the deal. In the end, the Bucs would send the Lions a 5th round pick to acquire Johnson and his six sacks from 2014.
Johnson's six sacks were a strong statistic despite not officially starting a game for the Lions in 2014. With that said, those six sacks were also the first six sacks of Johnson's five year career. Yes, Johnson may be getting better and could be a late bloomer, but it took him into his 5th season to record his first sack. Let's also not forget he was playing on a line with Ndamukong Suh and Ziggy Ansah, both of which are more dominant players at their positions than what the Bucs currently have.
What we thought he would be is, we brought him in to be one of our defensive ends, to be able to rush the passer, to be a good run support player," Lovie Smith said of Johnson during off-season workouts. "He’s a guy that plays with a motor. All those things we have seen. Again, for the linemen, defensive linemen or offensive linemen, there is only so much you can see, but he’s bright, he shows up every day and he works the same way. He’ll be one of our guys this year. We’ve seen enough to know that.”
It's a good review, but not a glowing review for Johnson. It sounds as if Johnson will be part of the rotation, but he isn't being viewed as a difference-maker on the Bucs defensive line.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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