Sports

Michael Bennett Displaying Consistency For Buccaneers

View Comments
Buccaneers Central
Buy Bucs Tickets
Sun Oct.26
Home vs Minnesota Vikings
findticketsbtn Michael Bennett Displaying Consistency For Buccaneers
Sun Nov.2
Away vs Cleveland Browns
findticketsbtn Michael Bennett Displaying Consistency For Buccaneers
Sun Nov.9
Home vs Atlanta Falcons
findticketsbtn Michael Bennett Displaying Consistency For Buccaneers
 
Shop for Bucs Gear
NFL Scoreboard
NFL Standings
Team STATS
Team Schedule
Team Roster
Team Injuries

Sports Fan Insider

Keep up with your favorite teams and athletes with daily updates.
Sign Up

By Max Luckan

Michael Bennett, DE, #71
Height: 6‘4“
Weight: 274 lbs.
Age: 27
Hometown: Avondale, Louisiana
College: Texas A&M
Experience: 4 years

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys fumbles the ball after being hit by Michael Bennett #71 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-10. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

(Credit, Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have suffered a few key injuries on the defensive line this year, including a season-ending injury to defensive end Adrian Clayborn, one player has consistently played at a high level, garnering the attention of talent evaluators around the NFL. Surprisingly, it’s not Gerald McCoy, the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. It’s Michael Bennett, who is in his fourth year in the league and was ignored by many because he didn’t appear to have the necessary talent to start in the league. Some say he was simply overshadowed by his brother, Martellus Bennett, who is the starting tight end for the New York Giants, and that’s plausible, too.

Bennett was born in Avondale, Louisiana, but played his high school football at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, Texas. As a senior, Bennett earned All-District honors as one of the better players in the district. In his senior year, Bennett racked up 110 tackles and four sacks, which contributed to his achievement of All-District honors.

In college, Bennett wasn’t a standout player, but a solid contributor, racking up 2.5 sacks and 42 tackles in the 2008 season. Bennett was selected to the honorable mention All-Big 12 team once, but other than that, didn’t garner much attention as a potential star in the NFL.

Sure enough, Bennett went undrafted in the 2009 draft, but was given his first shot with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks gambled on Bennett because his play in college was, actually, rather inconsistent, which is likely why he wasn’t drafted at all. With the Seahawks, Bennett was able to make the final roster in 2009, but was waived on Oct. 10 to make room for another player.

Just two days later, the Bucs claimed Bennett off waivers because of an injury to McCoy. Of course, the Bucs had to move Bennett back to defensive tackle, where he played well in McCoy’s absence.

In 2012, Bennett has arguably been the most consistent player on the Bucs’ defensive line. So far, Bennett has seven sacks, three forced fumbles, and 30 combined tackles. Aside from being consistent, Bennett is also very ambitious.

“I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I’m not satisfied,” Bennett said last month, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I want to go to the Pro Bowl. There are a lot of other things I want to do.”

Bennett signed a tender in March of 2012, meaning he’s making around $2.7 million this year and will be a free agent once the season concludes. The Bucs would be wise to re-sign Bennett, as he’s proven that he’s worthy of a starting spot in the lineup. However, Bennett will have to compete with Adrian Clayborn once he returns and defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who has also shown rapid improvement.

The Bucs saw the potential in Bennett, potential that other teams apparently didn’t see, as he didn’t garner any interest from other teams after being waived. As general manager Mark Dominik is accustomed to doing, he signed Bennett to a deal in a low-risk, high-reward situation, and it appears to be paying off so far.

Bennett will surely command a long-term deal this upcoming offseason, and the Bucs should be willing to lock him up right away, because he’s turned into a consistent, flexible starter on the defensive line.

For more Local Football Bloggers, and the latest Buccaneers news and analysis, see CBS Sports Tampa.

Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. You can find more of his work at Examiner.com.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 941 other followers