Colmer Finds Perfect Fit
Offensive tackle Chris Colmer was the first Pack player chosen, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him with the 27th pick in the third round, the 91st overall selection. Colmer was the seventh offensive tackle picked in the draft and the second from the Atlantic Coast Conference, as Florida State tackle Alex Barron was chosen with the 19th pick in the first round by the St. Louis Rams.
The 6-5, 310-pound Colmer addresses the Buccaneers need for depth along the offensive line. His selection allows the Bucs to move Anthony Davis to guard.
The Buccaneers struggled running the ball in 2004, and drafting Auburn running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams with the fifth overall selection left no doubt that they are looking to improve the ground game. Colmer, known as an aggressive and physical football player, is a terrific run-blocker and will compete for playing time at left tackle right away.
"It hasn't been a strength of ours," Bucs general manager Bruce Allen told the Tampa Bay Online when asked about the offensive line. "Our running game has been poor, and you can't just blame the running back for that."
In addition to Colmer, the Bucs selected Wisconsin interior lineman Dan Buenning in the fourth round, and he projects as a guard on the next level.
"After we took Cadillac, there were a lot of jokes, people saying if you have a new car you've got to make sure it has a nice garage and a good cover," Allen added. "So we took care of that and the guys we have now, they all have some flexibility to them."
Colmer was obviously a player that impressed the Bucaneers. The Bucs have only taken one other offensive tackle on the first day of the draft since 1991, selecting Kenyatta Walker in the first round in 2001.
"When healthy, he's been tremendous," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden told reporters after selecting Colmer.
Maddox Joins The Mix
Following Colmer's selection, safety Andre Maddox was chosen by the New York Jets with the 25th pick of the fifth round, the #161 selection overall.
"I am so happy to be a Jet," Maddox said. "Herman Edwards is one of my favorite coaches and I'm really looking forward to playing for him. I'm also looking forward to being a Jet when we come to play at Miami so my family can see me play."
The Jets, looking for special teams and secondary help, also picked another safety, Kerry Rhodes, in the fourth round. Rhodes and Maddox will compete right away for playing time.
"The two guys are a little different in styles and a little different in abilities perhaps, but both are real good talents and will come in and compete in our defensive backfield situation and also compete on special teams," said Jets' Senior Director of College Scouting Jesse Kaye said of Maddox and Rhodes.
The Jets special-teams coordinator Mike Westhoff reportedly rated Maddox the top special-teams player among defensive backs in the draft.
"When you look at the two fourth-round picks, they both have good special-teams abilities," Jets general manager Terry Bradway told the media. "Andre Maddox was a guy that (Westhoff) evaluated in the top of his group."
Maddox, a 6-1, 205-pound native of Miami, Florida, was honored with team co-MVP honors following the 2004 season. Over the course of his N.C. State career, Maddox registered 341 tackles (ninth in school history) and eight sacks. Maddox is a tough player who plays very well up in the box and will contribute immediately on special teams.
"He is a physical guy who can run," said Jets National Scout Joey Clinkscales of Maddox. "You can line him up at numerous positions. He can even be a gunner if you need him to be, but he is a physical guy and he has speed. He is a 4.45 kind of guy and he's fairly athletic."
Maddox, a two-time All-ACC pick and a three-year starter at NC State, has never lacked confidence Jets, and had harsh words for Oklahoma standout safety Brodney Pool, taken 34th overall by Cleveland. "I'm better than Brodney Pool. Brodney Pool can't tackle," Maddox said when asked about the future Brown.
Thomas Stays In Florida
Wolfpack linebacker Pat Thomas, a native of Miami, Florida, can now return to his home state as the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him with the 20th pick in the sixth round and the #194 pick overall.
Thomas was a three-year starter at linebacker for the Wolfpack, and a 2003 All-ACC selection. The 6'1, 235-pounder starter every game in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Thomas played outside linebacker at NC State, but Del Rio feels he has the versatility to play any linebacker position in the NFL.
"We think that he has position flexibility which is one of the things that we like, we think he can play inside and outside," Del Rio said. "We'll get him in here and like what we do with our guys and see what he does best and go accordingly."
Thomas was the Jaguars' second selection in the sixth round, as Jacksonville also picked Hawaii wide receiver Chad Owens. Thomas will get the chance to contribute in Jacksonville, as head coach Del Rio, a former NFL Pro Bowl linebacker and noted defensive guru, appears to really like the Wolfpack star.
"You add a guy like Pat Thomas who is another guy that we believe adds team speed," Del Rio said. "He's a guy that was elected team captain at North Carolina State. Second-leading tackler the last two years for his team, a productive run and hit guy. We're excited to add Pat to the team."
The Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Jets contributed to this story.