When Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano examines the roster he inherited, one player gets him particularly excited: Gerald McCoy.
McCoy, the defensive tackle whom the Bucs selected with their first-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft, is just the kind of player Schiano says he needs on his defensive line.
“I’m excited to coach Gerald,” Schiano told the Tampa Bay Times. “He plays defensive tackle the way I like. He comes off the ball with a flat back, he’s a penetrating guy who can change direction. We’ve got to get him back healthy and keep him healthy. I think he can be a dominant force if we can just get some miles underneath him, some plays.”
When healthy, McCoy has shown flashes of the talent that made him the third pick, after Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh, two years ago. The problem is that McCoy has suffered a torn biceps in each arm, ending his season after 13 games his rookie year and ending his season after six games last year. If McCoy plays 16 games this year, there’s every reason to think he can become the kind of player Schiano is hoping to see.
Because he was drafted in the final year before the new rookie wage scale was implemented, McCoy got a five-year, $63.2 million contract with $35 million guaranteed. If he gets hurt again, he’s going to look less like a dominant force and more like an expensive mistake.