The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a head start on their Senior Bowl contacts as the AFC and NFC Championship games were being contested on Sunday. Bucs scouts talked to several players, including Alabama defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry.
The 6-foot-3, 267-pounder considers this week's Senior Bowl his "coming out party," as he's seeking to prove he can be a versatile defensive lineman at the NFL level.
"This is a very important week," Gilberry said. "There are a lot of doubts out there about me, whether I can play linebacker, defensive tackle or defensive end. I'm using this week as a tool. There are a bunch of well-respected NFL teams here and I hope that I can impress them."
The Buccaneers were one of several teams to talk to Gilberry on Sunday, as players arrived for the game in Mobile, Ala.
Gilberry also talked to scouts from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Gilberry was a four-year letterman for the Crimson Tide who made an impact his redshirt freshman year in 2004 when he led the Tide in stops behind the line of scrimmage (13).
That paved the way for Gilberry's career as a starter where he specialized at getting behind the line of scrimmage.
Gilberry finished his four-year career as a starter with 60.5 tackles for loss, including 27 tackles for loss and 10 sacks as a senior, according to his bio on the University of Alabama's Web site.
He is projected by at least one scouting service as a third-round pick.
Gilberry might seem an odd choice for the Bucs, given he thrived as an end in Alabama's 3-4 defense this past year. In fact Gilberry said he knows there are questions about where he might fit into the NFL. Some consider him a potential 4-3 end or tackle, while others see him as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
Those mixed signals have Gilberry on his toes as the week of practices begin on Monday.
"(I heard they want me to) gain weight and play defensive tackle or stay the same weight," Gilberry said. "A lot of them say they like the way I use my hands and like my quickness and explosion off the ball. But at the same time it works both ways. Whatever they say that's the way it goes.
"I'm really going to refocus. It's a second season, a one game season. My Alabama career was great. But it's time for Gilbert to do him. I have to prove myself all over again."
Gilberry will weigh in with the rest of the players at 10:30 a.m. then practice in the afternoon.
SDBoltreport.com's Michael Lombardo contributed to this report.
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.