TAMPA, Fla. – After being released by the Seattle Seahawks, defensive tackle Tony McDaniel said he drew interest from about 12 other teams.
So why did he choose the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that was 2-14 a year ago and already had plenty of depth at defensive tackle?
“I think Tampa is on the edge of being a really good team,’’ McDaniel said Tuesday. “I did some research and they lost seven or eight games by six or less points. I think if you bring in an extra run stuffer and help stop the run, it will make your life that much easier. I think I can really be a part of changing things around here. I like the idea of going to a place and being able to change things rather than going to a team that’s already great. I’d rather come to a team that’s on the verge of being really great.’’
Prior to signing McDaniel to a one-year contract worth $2.5 million, the Bucs already were in good shape at defensive tackle. They have All-Pro Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald, a starter last year. They also added former Pro Bowler Henry Melton as a free agent in the offseason. They also have Akeem Spence and a pair of converted defensive ends in Da’Quan Bowers and William Gholston. But McDaniel sees a role for himself.
“To win ballgames, it starts up front,’’ McDaniel said. “The defensive line is pretty solid here and I think I bring more toughness. I think having me here we’ll win a lot more ballgames. I’m about 6-7 and 315 right now, so it’s kind of my job to eat up blockers so my linebackers can run around and make plays.’’
Coach Lovie Smith said McDaniel brings versatility to the defensive line.
“Big body, a 315-pound guy that can clog up the middle a little bit,’’ Smith said. “Most nose guards haven’t had that type of height. That’s a big wall in front of the quarterback. He’s not just a nose tackle. We think he can give us some reps at the three technique also. He’s played in the league for a long time for good reason. He’s a good football player we’ve added to our team.’’