DOUNWS-04-30-20 DRAFT

Former Chapel Hill High standout Cam Gill signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He works out daily to get ready for training camp this summer.

Near the end of the NFL Draft last weekend, Cam Gill started to cut his television off.

He had figured that he wouldn’t hear his name called by any of the NFL teams.

However, the former Chapel Hill High standout kept the TV on to see if any of his friends would be drafted.

Gill saw several people he knew drafted, but never heard his name.

However, he will get a shot at making an NFL team this upcoming season.

Just after the seven-round, 255-player draft ended, Gill got a call from several teams with a free agent offer.

After getting past the initial sadness of not being drafted, Gill decided to sign an undrafted free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It was definitely disappointing not getting drafted,” he said. “It has always been a dream, and you only get one chance.”

Gill, who had an All-American career at Wagner College in New York, will use the draft snub as motivation.

“It just makes me all the more hungry,” he said. “It was how it was for me when I came out of high school. It has just added more fuel to the fire.”

Gill said he had a chance to go to some other teams, but chose the Buccaneers because he thought it would be the best situation.

In addition, the Buccaneers are in the same division as the Atlanta Falcons, and he could play here at least once a season if he makes the 53-man roster.

Gill said he has also been motivated by current Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett.

After signing a one-year deal with the Bucs last season, Barrett went on to have an All-Pro season after leading the league in sacks.

Like Barrett, Gill was a big pass rusher coming out of college. He finished his career on the Div. I FCS level with 59 tackles for loss, 36 sacks (a conference record), 188 tackles, 24 quarterback hurries and eight forced fumbles.

Coming out of Colorado State seven years ago, Barrett signed with Denver as an undrafted free agent. Gill is hoping to pattern his route to an NFL career after Barrett.

“I took all of that into consideration when I was making my decision,” Gill said. “I think we are very similar in the way we play.”

While drafted players are considered a better shot at making a 53-man professional roster for opening day, several undrafted players have had productive professional careers.

Three other county players signed undrafted free agent deals over the weekend.

Former Chapel Hill standout Josiah Coatney, a starter at Ole Miss, signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brian Herrien, a former standout at New Manchester and a reserve running back for the Georgia Bulldogs, signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Tyler Simmons, who played at New Manchester and for the Bulldogs, signed with the Houston Texans.

This year’s group of rookies faces a big challenge of going to training camp without the possibility of participating in minicamps and OTA with NFL facilities closed for the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 draft class and undrafted free agents might not get to work out with their teams until training camps begin in late July.

Gill said he understands the possibility and is ready for the challenge.

“We are going to jump right into the fire,” he said. “I just have to prepare myself and be ready. I’m ready to get started.”