After an uneven rookie year that included a slow start, considerable second half progress, and then a serious injury, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says he’s ready to lead.
The No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft wants to take the next step in his development.
“It’s not a problem,” McCoy told the Tampa Tribune recently. “I was raised to be a leader.”
The Bucs have an exciting young group of defensive linemen with McCoy, Brian Price, Roy Miller, and this year’s first two picks Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers added to the mix. The best way McCoy can lead is to produce. He said last year that flip-flopping between end and defensive tackle slowed him down.
“My first snap as an NFL player against Cleveland, I didn’t even play [tackle],” McCoy said. “I was an end. I was moving all around. So, finally, I just said to Coach, ‘Man, please let me play one position so I can learn it.’ . . . After that, things started working for me and I took that tape and (looked) at what I was doing right and I just built off of that. And that’s what I’ve been doing this offseason.”
Without the NFC West on their out of division schedule, the Bucs will have to play much better this year to finish 10-6 again. Getting a big second year leap from McCoy would help a great deal.