Current backup tackle Xavier Fulton, a fifth round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Illinois in the 2009 NFL Draft spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve after succumbing to a knee injury in the final preseason game against the Houston Texans. With the release of Arron Sears last week Roy Cummings, of the Tampa Tribune is speculating that Fulton, who took some snaps in training camp at guard will battle incumbent left guard Jeremy Zuttah in 2010.
A player to watch through the offseason workout program and into training camp is offensive lineman Xavier Fulton.
The Bucs drafted Fulton out of Illinois in the fifth round in 2009 with a plan to work him primarily at tackle. Because of his tremendous athleticism, however, the Bucs also have worked Fulton at guard, so there’s a chance he could push Jeremy Zuttah for playing time at left guard.
The Bucs are looking for a permanent replacement there after releasing Arron Sears. At 6-foot-5 and 301 pounds, Fulton is built like a guard, but needs some polish and to play a little meaner.
Sure, it’s an option for the Bucs, but based solely on Cummings description of Fulton it makes absolutely no sense. First, what you’re essentially looking for in a guard is a player who is a mauler, second how many 6-foot-5 guards are there in the league? Let’s not forget the team just signed undrafted free agent guards Sergio Render (who many had a fourth or fifth round grade on) and Robert Okeafor. Not to mention there’s an undrafted player who spent all last season on the practice squad whom the team is very high on in guard Marc Dile.
Based on who the team has at depth behind starting tackles Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood. It’s highly unlikely a player that oozes athelticism – is a natural pass protector and is of a slight build, seeing as he’s only 301 pounds, is going to be moved as a permanent replacement for Sears. If that were the case the team would have to rely on undrafted and very raw tackle Demar Dotson should an injury occur to either starter or one of the recently signed undrafted players from 2010 to fill in at both tackle spots.