Scout Analysis — Patrick Chukwurah

BucsBlitz.com continues its "Scout Analysis" series on the Buccaneers' free-agent signings with a look at defensive end/linebacker Patrick Chukwurah. First, an expert from the Denver Broncos provides his analysis from Chukwurah's time in Denver. Then Buccaneers expert Matthew Postins provides his own analysis on Chukwurah's place in Tampa Bay.

Michael John Schon, Scout.com's Broncos expert (broncosupdate.com)

During his three-year stint with the Denver Broncos, Patrick Chukwurah proved to be an above average role player, splitting time between outside linebacker, defensive end and special teams, where he recorded seven solo tackles during the 2005 season.

Although considered undersized on the defensive line, he worked well within coordinator Larry Coyer's scheme, being used primarily in pass-rush situations where speed to the quarterback was essential. Throughout fourteen regular season games in 2006, he collected 20 tackles (11 solo), including four-and-a-half sacks (20 yards) and one pass defensed.

While he was never able to crack the starting lineup defensively, his role on special teams was unquestioned — a solid performer who gave nothing short of his best.

With Coyer now taking over the reins of Tampa Bay's defensive line, I expect Chukwurah will be given a legitimate shot to advance on the depth chart — an opportunity he was never awarded in Denver playing behind Kenard Lang and D.J. Williams.

From an injury standpoint the six-year veteran looks strong, missing only one game the past three seasons with an ankle/thigh injury. Listed at 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, the former Minnesota Viking combines good skills with above average speed and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help out the team — a factor that should play out nicely in Jon Gruden's system.

Matthew Postins, Scout.com's Buccaneers expert (bucsblitz.com)

When I talked to Patrick in June he said that one of the primary reasons he came to Tampa Bay was Coyer.

It appears the Buccaneers envision Chukwurah as an end in pass rushing situations, much the same way Denver did. Chukwurah worked out with the ends throughout OTA's and mini-camp and exhibited great speed, but not a great deal of power, which one would expect out of a 250-pound end (he actually disputed his listed height of 6-1, saying "I never believed I was 6-1").

But advancing up the depth chart will be difficult. There's Simeon Rice and Gaines Adams to contend with on the right side, and Greg Spires and (potentially) Kevin Carter on the left. Chukwurah isn't big enough to be a starter, and Tampa Bay didn't acquire him with that in mind. He'll strictly be a pass-rush specialist when the matchup is right, possibly setting up as an outside linebacker in that case, and a special teams contributor. In fact Chukwurah may be a heavy contributor in that regard. Chukwurah told me "That's how I make my living," and that's just about right for his role in Tampa Bay.


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