Insider Draft Day Notes: Day 1

April 20 - Buccaneer Magazine has the latest inside scoop from One Buc Place, including how the Bucs were surprised to find WR Marquise Walker still available at pick No. 86 in the third round. Buc Mag also takes a look at which players are available for the Bucs on the second day of the NFL Draft and identifies certain players whom the Bucs may be targeting the later rounds.

Here are some news and notes from One Buccaneer Place after the first day of the 67th NFL Draft:

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were mildly surprised that Michigan wide receiver Marquise Walker was still around by the time the 86th pick rolled around.

"I'm very pleasantly surprised," Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said. "We didn't hesitate very much at all in terms of taking him off the board."

Walker said he wasn't shocked that he was picked later than most draft experts and pundits had predicted.

"Not really," Walker said. They said I could have been a first-, second- or third-round draft pick. I wasn't really worried about it."

Bucs general manager Rich McKay noted that anytime a player doesn't time well in the 40-yard dash, especially at the receiver position, their stock will drop regardless of their production on the field. Whether it's right or wrong, the league still places a high emphasis on measureables, and when Walker's 4.6 time in the 40-yard dash didn't measure up, he fell to the Bucs in the bottom of the third round.

"We thought he had potential to be in the start of the third round, middle of the third round. (We) didn't think he would make it to our pick, necessarily," McKay said. "He sits atop of the list of the guys we thought had a chance to be there. We had a couple dream picks that went in the early second round."

Other receivers the Bucs coveted who were picked in the second round include Louisville's Deion Branch and Indiana's Antwaan Randle El.

BIG ROLE MODEL: Walker is excited to go to a team like the Bucs with an established wide receiver he can learn from like Keyshawn Johnson. Walker's size and game are similar to the Bucs' Pro Bowl receiver and he hopes he can be mentored by Johnson.

"I think it will be great experience," Walker said. "I really like (Johnson's) game and I can't wait to meet him. I have been watching his talents in the pros and I think, hopefully, I can be another weapon to the offense."

EARLY RETURNS: The Buccaneers were without their first- and second-round picks in this year's NFL Draft because they were used as part of the compensation in the trade with Oakland that brought Coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay.

The fact that the acquisition of Gruden has already improved the Bucs' offense from a personnel and scheme standpoint, and his intense coaching style and knack for holding players accountable has been well received by the players and front office means that Tampa Bay's draft day was a success even before it started.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: The Bucs traded their first- and second-round picks to Oakland prior to the draft for the rights to Jon Gruden. Here's how Tampa's original first two picks -- No. 21 and 53 overall -- turned out on Saturday.

The Raiders traded the 21st pick to the Washington Redskins, who traded the pick to the New England Patriots, who used the pick on Colorado tight end Daniel Graham. Interestingly, Graham was a player that the Bucs were targeting with their first-rounder prior to trading it to Oakland in late February.

Oakland used the No. 53 pick on California offensive tackle Langston Walker, who was one of the draft's largest players at 6-foot-8, 344 pounds. The pick could be considered a reach as most draft prognosticators felt that Langston was more of a third-round pick as opposed to a second-round pick.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR BUCS: Although the Bucs had just one pick on Saturday, the team has seven picks remaining on Sunday, the final day of the NFL Draft. With one pick in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, and four picks in the seventh round, including three compensatory picks, Tampa Bay will have a chance to rebuild depth at the linebacker position, add a safety, a cornerback, a defensive lineman or two, another running back, a blocking tight end and perhaps a backup offensive tackle or quarterback.

Names to keep in mind for Sunday's Buccaneers picks include:

QB
East Carolina's David Garrard
Cal-Davis' J.T. O'Sullivan
Hawaii's Nick Rolovich

RB
Georgia Southern's Adrian Peterson
Tennessee's Travis Stephens
East Carolina's Leonard Henry
Toledo's Chester Taylor

TE
Marshall's Greg Kellett
Louisiana State's Robert Royal
Oregon's Justin Peelle
Michigan State's Chris Baker

OL
Boise State's Matt Hill (OT)
Utah's Ed Ta'amu (G)
Texas' Antwan Kirk-Hughes (G/T)
Oklahoma's Frank Romero (G/T)

DL
Colorado's Justin Bannan (DT)
Florida's Alex Brown (DE)
Louisiana State's Jarvis Green (DE)
Maryland's Charles Hill (DT)
Virginia Tech's David Pugh (DT)

LB
Virginia Tech's Ben Taylor
Florida's Andra Davis
Louisiana State's Trev Faulk
Northwestern's Billy Silva
Kansas' Algie Atkinson
Georgia Tech's Nick Rogers
Texas' D.D. Lewis

S
Western Kentucky's Mel Mitchell
Pittsburgh's Ramon Walker
Mississippi State's Pig Prather
West Virginia's Rich Sherrod
Georgia Tech's Chris Young

CB
Nebraska's Keyou Craver
Wisconsin's Mike Echols
Wisconsin-Stout's Tony Beckham
UNLV's Kevin Thomas
Miami's Markese Fitzgerald
Western Kentucky's Bobby Sippio

Bucs general manager Rich McKay told Buccaneer Magazine that barring any real surprises, that the team was probably done at the wide receiver position as it pertains to the draft. But the Bucs might consider Alabama's Freddie Milons if he slips into the sixth or seventh round, as well as Northern Illinois' Darrell Hill.

Tampa Bay may even spend one of its sixth- or seventh-round picks on a punter. Purdue's Travis Dorsch, Ohio's Dave Zastudil and Tulane's Casey Roussel are candidates.

Click here to view Tampa Bay's current 2002 roster.

Click here to sound off on this topic on BucMag.com's Premium message boards.


Copyright 2002 Buccaneer Magazine/BucMag.com

This story is intended to be read only by BucMag.com Club Insiders only and TheInsiders.com. Sharing of the Club content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.

Get more analysis, inside information and expert commentary by subscribing to Buccaneer Magazine or by calling 1-800-881-BUCS(2827).

Looking for the largest selection of Bucs merchandise on the internet? Check out BucGear.com.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories