Per the Buccaneers Media release, the Bucs signed former Rutgers safety Rod Girault and former Notre Dame running back Robert Hughes. Both players came into the league as undrafted free agents, Girault in 2008 with the Kansas City Chiefs, and Hughes in 2011 with the Chicago Bears. Hughes was a practice squad player for the Chicago Bears last season and Girault was playing with the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives.
Hughes is the player with the most question marks, nobody really sure on what his ability is at the professional level. Girault on the other hand fits perfectly with coach Greg Schiano’s vision of what he wants to do at safety. He is a very hard nosed player who thrives on run support and getting up in the box. A high school running back, Girault made the transition to safety and locked down the position. Per CBS Sports, Girault started 40 of his 45 games at Rutgers, totaling 271 tackles, a sack and a half, 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumbles recovered and 10 interceptions.
At 5’10, Girault is the same size as Ronde Barber with a slightly better nose for run defense but a big drop in terms of coverage. Schiano was high on Girault and trusts the safety to run his scheme. If the Bucs are serious about Barber playing safety, the move could just be one for depth as they move Ronde around different positions. Otherwise, the Ronde experiment could have been just that, an experiment. Either way, the Bucs are adding guys they trust and fit into the new system. Girault is not a splashy pickup, but he makes sense. Below is a highlight reel of Girault’s time in the UFL last year.