Lockout will reduce impact of Bucs rookies in 2011
So much of the Bucs' success in 2010 was the result of their draft class -- WRs Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, DT Gerald McCoy, S Cody Grimm, CB Myron Lewis, FB Erik Lorig -- each started at least one game and made huge plays. That list doesn't include RB LeGarrette Blount, who was claimed off waivers from the Tennessee Titans.
But what impact would those players have had if they weren't allowed to participate in a rookie minicamp or OTAs? What if they weren't even given a playbook to study following the draft?
That's essentially what could happen to this year's crop of rookies because of the NFL lockout.
NFL Comissioner Roger Goodell made it clear that after teams draft a college player, they can no longer have contact with them until there is a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. In fact, players cannot receive playbooks.
"They are not allowed any contact, including sending them information," Goodell said at the close of the NFL owners meetings. "As draft prospects, I believe they can have contact with them. Once they are drafted, they can no longer have contact with them."
Teams will be allowed to fly in drafted players to meet with the media, but that's the extent of the contact that is permitted, according to league spokesman Greg Aiello.
There also can be no negotiations with drafted players or their representatives, not even handshake agreements.
"There are no team transactions, even unofficial," Goodell said. "Especially unofficial."