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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers believe they accomplished their major goals of upgrading the defensive line and a porous secondary through the draft after going 5-11 and missing the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season.

The Buccaneers added more defensive pieces Saturday [url=http://www.ravensfootballauthentics.com/lamar-jackson-jersey-authentic]Womens Lamar Jackson Jersey[/url] , taking Pitt safety Jordan Whitehead in the fourth round and Wisconsin linebacker Jack Cichy during the sixth.

"Thirty-one teams passed up (taking me) so I've got a chip on my shoulder coming in already," Whitehead said.

Cichy didn't play in 2017 because of a knee injury that occurred in preseason camp.

"I feel great," he said. "I'm real close to 100 percent. I think by the time I get down there for minicamp and OTAs I'll be 100 percent."

Tampa Bay used its first-round pick Thursday to take Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea 12th overall. He will be plugged into a revamped defensive line anchored by six-time Pro Bowl tackle Gerald McCoy and bolstered by last month's trade for pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and the signing of Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein in free agency.

Tampa Bay ranked last in the NFL with 23 sacks a year ago.

The Buccaneers used a pair of second-round selections Friday to take cornerbacks M.J. Stewart from North Carolina and Auburn's Carlton Davis.

"We feel great," Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht said. "There's more of a better vibe, not that it was ever bad, more high-fives and more positive energy with all the coaches and scouts this year than I can remember."

LEARNING CURVE

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter knows that 6-foot-6, 304-pound guard Alex Cappa [url=http://www.panthersfootballauthentic.com/christian-mccaffrey-jersey-authentic]Womens Christian McCaffrey Jersey[/url] , taken in the third round from Division II Humboldt State, will be facing a major step-up in competition. "That's a different level of football," Koetter said. "Right when his season was over, he goes down to Phoenix and works out at an O-line place with a bunch of NFL guys. He's the right kind of guy but there's definitely a transition."

Tampa Bay has had previous drafting success with small-school offensive lineman, taking starting guard Ali Marpet from Division III Hobart College in the second round of the 2015 draft.

FAMILY AFFAIR

Former Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis is Whitehead's cousin.

"He gave me a lot of advice going through this process," Whitehead said. "Stay humble, anything can happen throughout this weekend."

FASTER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK

Second-round selection Ronald Jones II from USC is an explosive runner who the Buccaneers feel is faster than generally known.

"He's got track times, the ran guy 10.3-something 100-meters and multiple 10.5's [url=http://www.vikingsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-stefon-diggs-jersey]Stefon Diggs Jersey Big[/url] ," Koetter said. "He runs hard. He's going to bring something."

HIGH GRADES

The Buccaneers took Penn wide receiver Justin Watson in the fifth round. He will graduate after taking his last final Wednesday at Penn's Wharton School.

"I didn't have a lot of I-A offers, in fact the only two offers I had at the I-A level were Buffalo and Akron out of the MAC," Watson said. "For me, Penn was just the best fit for both football and academics."

STILL NEED

Tampa Bay could look to add depth at safety and the offensive line before the start of training camp.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) More than $500 million in claims were approved as of Monday under the NFL’s concussion settlement, nearly a decade earlier than league officials estimated they would reach that amount.

Claims administrators in the settlement released an updated report on the concussion settlement information website saying about $502 million had been approved in less than two years of the settlement. The original actuarial estimates from the NFL estimated a little more than $400 million would be paid out in the first decade.

Attorneys for the retired players adjusted their estimates on the total payout of expected claims earlier this month, saying the settlement would likely reach $1.4 billion- almost a half billion more than the NFL originally estimated.

”We encourage all eligible former players to immediately sign up for a baseline assessment, and they can take comfort in knowing that compensation will be available for more than 60 years if they develop a qualifying condition,” said Christopher Seeger [url=http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/jordan-reed-jersey]Womens Jordan Reed Jersey[/url] , co-lead class counsel for the former NFL players. ”The fact that $500 million in claims have been approved in less than two years proves that this settlement is fulfilling its promise to former NFL players and their families.”

Almost 2,000 claims have been filed in less than two years, according to the update filed Monday. Hundreds more of the nearly 20,500 retired players signed up to be prequalified to file claims than were expected, outpacing all previous projections.

As of Monday, the claims administrator said 7,343 medical appointments to assess neurological baselines had been made and more than 6,000 had been attended.

The settlement [url=http://www.vikingsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-stefon-diggs-jersey]Authentic Stefon Diggs Jersey[/url] , which took effect January 2017, resolved thousands of lawsuits that accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the risks of repeated concussions.

It covers retired players who develop Lou Gehrig’s disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their pro careers, with awards as high as $5 million for the most serious cases.



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