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Noah Spence signs with Buccaneers

NFL Combine - Day 5

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Noah Spence of Eastern Kentucky participates in a drill during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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One of the harder prospects to peg on boards leading up to last month’s draft was defensive end Noah Spence, whose pass rushing ability made him look like a first-round pick while the positive drug tests that led to his dismissal from Ohio State made it hard to feel confident he’d go that early in the process.

Spence, who played at Eastern Kentucky after leaving Ohio State, didn’t go in the first round, but he didn’t have to wait long on the draft’s second night before the Buccaneers made him the 39th overall pick. Spence got his first work in with the team at last weekend’s rookie minicamp and the Bucs announced on Thursday that they have signed him to a four-year deal.

Spence had 22.5 tackles for losses and 11.5 sacks during his one season at Eastern Kentucky and should be in the mix for a pass rushing role for the Bucs right off the bat. If Spence makes a quick transition to the NFL, teaming him with Robert Ayers and Gerald McCoy up front should make for a thornier defense in Tampa than the 2015 edition.

Kicker Roberto Aguayo, who was also selected in the second round, is the only unsigned Buccaneers draft pick.