Bucs Land TE Wistrom With Second 7th-Round Pick

April 21 - With their second seventh-round draft pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Nebraska tight end Tracey Wistrom. The former Cornhusker is more of a pass-catching type of tight end and the Bucs are hopeful he can take over the team's long snapping duties. Wistrom's brother, Grant, plays for the St. Louis Rams.

With the Bucs' second seventh-round selection, Tampa Bay drafted Nebraska tight end Tracey Wistrom with the 251st overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Wistrom is cut from the same mold of free agent signees Marco Battaglia and Ken Dilger and will be competing against those players as well as the likes of Todd Yoder, Mike Roberg and Damian Vaughn.

Wistrom (6-foot-4, 245), is the younger brother of St. Louis Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom, who shares the same intensity and work ethic. He is not the most athletic tight end in the draft and may be a bit of an overachiever. He is a capable and willing blocker, although he isn't a dominator.

Under new head coach Jon Gruden, the Buccaneers' tight ends will be much more involved in the passing game and that fits into Wistrom's strengths. He has great hands, is a superb route runner and does a good job of finding the soft spots in zone coverage. He isn't the biggest tight end coming out of college and his lack of size caused his stock to drop, but Wistrom does have a rangy frame and could pack on some more bulk at the NFL level.

"He's (Wistrom's) a big tight end out of Nebraska," said Gruden. "He made some flashy plays. They don't throw the ball at Nebraska very much, but here's a guy who delivered some big plays. He is a long snapper candidate. He did not snap in games at Nebraska, but he's thrown the ball back with good accuracy. He's shown the aptitude to be a potential at the position."

Wistrom burst onto the scene in 1999 before missing the Big 12 Championship Game with a torn posterior ligament in his knee with 16 catches for 429 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 26.8-yard average set a school record.

In 2000, Wistrom recorded 19 catches for 314 yards (16.5 avg.) and led the Cornhuskers with five touchdowns. He caught a career-high 21 passes for 323 yards (15.4 avg.) and a pair of scores in 2001 as a senior. Wistrom's 58 receptions rank second in school annals among the tight ends, but he owns the all-time mark for receiving yards at the tight end position at Nebraska with 1,150 yards.

Wistrom is a solid "effort" guy who, like Yoder over the past two years, will likely make an impact on special teams. Gruden said that while Wistrom has not long snapped in a game at Nebraska, but he was working on that skill in the post-season and might have a future as the Bucs' long snapper and third- or fourth-string tight end.

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