Buccaneers Sign 6-foot-3 37-Touchdown Quarterback

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 15: Zack Annexstad #5 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers passes the ball against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks during the third quarter of the game on September 15, 2018 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Golden Gophers defeated the Redhawks 26-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have landed another quarterback to round out their depth chart.

Shortly following the conclusion of the 2024 NFL draft, the Buccaneers signed quarterback Zack Annexstad, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Annexstad began his career with the University of Minnesota before playing the past two seasons with Illinois State.

“Former Illinois State QB Zack Annexstad is signing with the #Bucs, per source,” reported Pelissero on Saturday, April 27.

Zack Annexstand Had Notable Start to Collegiate Career

Annexstad’s career is notable because he became only the second true freshman walk-on to start a season opener for the Minnesota Golden Gophers back in 2018.

The 6-foot-3 quarterback actually started the first seven games of the season in 2018 and began his career 3-0 — the first-ever Gopher freshman quarterback to start and win the first three games of his career. He completed his freshman season with nine touchdowns and 1,277 yards.

However, an injury sidelined him for the 2019 season and he didn’t see any action during the 2020 season. He eventually transferred to Illinois State for the 2022 season, where he was named a team captain and posted 11 passing touchdowns for the Redbirds in eight starts.

Prior to suffering a season-ending injury during the 2023 season, Annexstad threw for 17 touchdowns — with two rushing touchdowns — in nine games.

Over the course of his collegiate career, Annexstad threw for 5,079 yards, 37 passing touchdowns and 19 interceptions with 149 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

Following Annexstad’s signing, the Buccaneers now have four quarterbacks on its roster, with Baker Mayfield as the starter and veterans Kyle Trask and John Wolford as the backups.

The Buccaneers will hold rookie minicamp in May before holding OTAs between May 21 and June 6. If Annexstad can remain on the roster past the rookie minicamp phase, he figures to be the fourth quarterback and a camp arm for training camp when it begins in late July.

Buccaneers Given Favorable Grade for Draft Picks

The 2024 NFL draft has concluded and the Buccaneers have a number of new players on the roster.

With their first-round pick at No. 26, Tampa Bay selected Duke center Graham Barton. They also brought in outside linebacker Chris Braswell from Alabama with their second-round pick and Georgia safety Tykee Smith with their third-round selection.

To round things out, the Buccaneers also had a notable late third-round selection in Washington wide receiver Jalen McMillan and Oregon running back Bucky Irving in the fourth round.

ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. says he likes what he saw from the Buccaneers over draft weekend, giving them a “B” grade and saying they “got better.”

“Graham Barton (26) is my top-ranked center, and he’ll immediately help a run game that ranked 32nd in yards per attempt (3.4) last season,” writes Kiper Jr. “While he played left tackle at Duke, he has All-Pro upside at the pivot. Wideout Jalen McMillan (92) was a steal at the end of Round 3. He could be an outstanding No. 3 receiver as a rookie before taking on a bigger role in 2025. McMillan is my favorite prospect in Tampa Bay’s class, but Barton should step in and be a top-10 center as a rookie. The Bucs got better this weekend.”

With Ryan Jensen retiring, the Buccaneers have their new starting center in Barton and have a potential new slot receiver in Jalen McMillan.

To top it all off, Tampa Bay now has valuable depth at running back in Bucky Irving, who ran for 1,180 yards and 11 touchdowns during his final season with the Oregon Ducks. Irving projects as the top backup to starter Rachaad White.

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