More is better.
Versatility gets players noticed.
And Tampa Bay Buccaneer linebacker Dekoda Watson is turning heads.
The former seventh-round draft pick out of Florida State has been on Buccaneer head coach Raheem Morris' radar since the beginning of training camp.
Morris has been cross-training Watson at all three linebacker positions as well as implementing special packages on defense to get the explosive linebacker in on passing situations. This isn't new for Watson, who welcomed a similar role during his college days as a Seminole. Former FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews used Watson as an every-down linebacker and allowed him to line up as a defensive end on passing downs.
Watson excelled as a hybrid defender, using his quickness and hand speed to blow past offensive tackles, and now Morris wants to see that same type of success and tenacity as a pro.
If the performance he had against the Kansas City Chiefs during the Buccaneers' 2011 preseason debut is any indication, Watson is going to have a booming season contributing to the defense. While lining up at defensive end, Watson—along with Michael Bennett—nearly buzz-sawed Kansas City backup quarterback Tyler Palko in two, forcing a safety in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Watson again flew by the offensive tackle, sacking Palko and forcing a fumble, which was recovered by the Chiefs.
Watson finished the game with three tackles, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.
The Buccaneers were tied for 30th in sacks during the 2010 season.
A change-of-pace, interchangeable linebacker like Watson may benefit and revive an ailing pass-rush, and the second-year pro gladly accepts the challenge.