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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs select W. Virginia ILB Najee Goode in 5th round, 140th overall



The Bucs went back-to-back at linebacker in the NFL draft, using their fifth round pick on West Virginia's Najee Goode, 140th overall.

The 6-foot-1, 241-pound Goode arrived to the Mountaineers program as a walk-on and wound up starting the past two seasons at inside linebacker.

Tampa Bay traded up with the Houston Texans and moved into the second round Friday to select Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David with the 58th overall pick. As a result, the Bucs did not have a third round choice when the draft resumed Saturday.

Goode started 24 games in his last two seasons at West Virginia and finished with 157 career tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two interceptions. He is no stranger to Bucs coach Greg Schiano, whose Rutgers teams never beat the Mountaineers. 

"We always played them in tough games in crazy weather,'' Goode said. "They had good athletes and against them, I did have some great games. I'm glad he got a chance to see me before he looked at me NFL-wise. I was actually pretty good against them and made some plays.   

The youngest of three brothers, Goode's father, John, was a standout tight end at Youngstown St. who was a fifth-round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1984. His brother, Tarig, played at Youngstown St., in 2006 and later in the Arena Football League for the Mahoning Valley Thunder. Another brother, Wakeem, was a starting linebacker at Hampton University from 2005-08. 

"The competition has always been through my family because we have a high level of it,'' Goode said. "My family is all boys...we always try to make each other better. I have a close family that I thank God for and I think my dad for. My dad playing in the NFL, he never pressured us about anything we wanted to do. He just said, "If you're going to play football, make plays,' and I was able to do that and get to where I'm at right now.''

"It was just a longshot. I was hoping and praying for it and I just kept working hard. You know, now that's it's here I still can't believe it. But when I first walked on, I was just trying to get to the next level, and for me, that next level was just getting a scholarship and playing hard.''


[Last modified: Saturday, April 28, 2012 2:57pm]


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