The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached an agreement with veteran defender Larry English, who was released by the San Diego Chargers last month. Terms of the deal were not immediately released.
Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 passed along word of the signing:
Buccaneers announce they've signed DE Larry English, former Chargers 1st-round pick.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 14, 2014
Scott Smith of the team's official site provided further details:
Bucs have signed former 1st-round pick Larry English. He'll be a DE in Bucs' scheme. Rookie DT Jibreel Black was waived/injured to make room— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 14, 2014
English was drafted by the Chargers with the 16th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. He never lived up to that top billing, however. He appeared in just 52 games over five seasons, racking up just 82 total tackles and 11 sacks.
San Diego kept him on the roster with hope he would eventually showcase the potential he displayed during his time at Northern Illinois. It never happened and the team finally decided to move in another direction heading into this season.
Do you think English will make the Bucs' final roster?
Now the question is whether the change of scenery can help English.
He will make the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end. Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn are slated to start for Tampa Bay at the position, but there are question marks behind them that the new signing could capitalize on with three strong weeks.
Chris Trapasso of NFL.com thinks it could be a beneficial switch:
Larry English never cut it in SD as 3-4 OLB, but he did play 4-3 DE in college. Maybe Lovie Smith is perfect HC for him. Long shot/low risk.— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) August 14, 2014
Although the odds of English suddenly transforming into a feared pass-rushing asset are small, it's hard to fault Tampa Bay for taking a chance. He's a former top prospect and the Bucs finished tied for 23rd with just 35 sacks last season.
The worst-case scenario is he doesn't make an impact during what amounts to a tryout with the team over the next few weeks and they let him go. But the Buccaneers will hope they catch lightning in a bottle and add some much-needed production off the edge.