The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that the team has signed four players selected in the 2018 NFL Draft: cornerback M.J. Stewart, (second round, 53rd overall); safety Jordan Whitehead (fourth round, 117th overall); wide receiver Justin Watson (fifth round, 144th overall); and linebacker Jack Cichy (sixth round, 202nd overall).
Stewart (5-11, 200) was chosen 53rd overall, out of North Carolina. The Arlington, Virginia native totaled 199 tackles (11.5 for loss), 41 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three sacks in his career. Stewart earned honorable mention All-ACC from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association in both his junior and senior seasons, after being named second-team All-ACC as a sophomore, when he tied for the conference lead with 18 passes defensed.
Whitehead (5-10, 198) was selected 117th overall out of Pittsburgh. In his three seasons with the Panthers, Whitehead started 30-of-31 games, totaling 234 tackles (7.5 for loss), 12 passes defensed, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles, as well as a half-sack. The Aliquippa, Pennsylvania native also saw time on offense, rushing 43 times for 362 yards (8.4 avg.) and three touchdowns, as well as a two-point conversion rush.
In Whitehead’s freshman season, he earned consensus Freshman All-American honors, as well as ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. He became the first defensive player to earn ACC Rookie of the Year honors since North Carolina cornerback Dre’ Bly in 1996. Whitehead also earned second-team All-ACC honors from the league’s coaches and media in 2016 and was an honorable mention choice from the league’s coaches as a junior.
Watson (6-3, 215) was chosen with the 144th overall pick out of Penn, where he finished as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (286), receiving yards (3,777), receiving touchdowns (33) and all-purpose yards (4,116). He holds single season school records for receptions (89 in 2016), receiving yards (1,115 in 2016) and receiving touchdowns (14 in 2017).
The Bridgeville, Pennsylvania native also set an Ivy League career record in 100-yard receiving games (19), while ranking second in league history in receiving yards and third in receptions and receiving touchdowns. Watson was a two-time finalist for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, given annually to the FCS Offensive Player of the Year and also earned a number of All-American distinctions.
Cichy (6-2, 238) was selected 202nd overall out of Wisconsin. In his collegiate career, the Somerset, Wisconsin native played in 24 games, with 11 starts, totaling 120 tackles (15 for loss), 6.5 sacks, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Cichy missed the 2017 season with an injury. As a redshirt junior in 2016, he was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given annually to the best linebacker in college football, while also earning All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition. Cichy was also the 2015 Holiday Bowl Defensive MVP after recording 3.0 sacks against USC – on three consecutive plays.