At one time, it was questioned whether Christian Izien would stick at the NFL level. Now, he has been named a starter and will play a significant role for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season.
On Sunday, Bucs’ head coach Todd Bowles told local media outlets that the former Rutgers Scarlet Knight will be the team’s starting nickel defensive back.
Todd Bowles says undrafted rookie Christian Izien will be the team’s starting nickel defensive back. Has not only made the 53 but secured a key role.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 27, 2023
Izien was not selected in the 2023 NFL Draft and was signed as a free agent by the Bucs. He made an impression both in camp and during preseason contests. In two preseason games this month, Izien totaled three tackles and a forced fumble in 42 snaps.
Izien spent the last four years in Piscataway patrolling the secondary for Rutgers. He played 40 games during that time and started 24 of the last 25 games over the last two years. In 2022, Izien helped lead a strong Rutgers defense with 84 tackles, including five for loss, and four passes defended.
In his college career, Izien logged 303 tackles, 19 passes defenses, 15.5 sacks, and four interceptions in 50 games.
Greg Schiano has helped many players transition into the NFL during both of his stints as head coach of Rutgers. This is especially true of the secondary headlined, of course, by the McCourty twins.
As for the Bucs, they will begin their post-Tom Brady era and will go through a transition period. Izien is now part of the rebuild as the team looks to build a winner once again.