Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Reader question: Bucs and the supplemental draft

Here's a little-known fact: The NFL's supplemental draft is fast approaching, scheduled for July 15.

One of our readers, Mike Norris, asked the following about the topic.

"(Will) the Bucs even consider the BYU running back in the supplemental draft because of non-production from (Derrick) Ward and Caddy's past injuries?"

I have to admit I hadn't even thought this until the question was posed, but it's worth taking a look at. Mike is referring to BYU running back Harvey Unga, who declared for the supplemental draft after withdrawing from BYU because of a violation of the school's strict honor code.

Here's a good rundown of what to look for and info on Unga and the other candidates available in the draft. The supplemental draft is designed to allow a path to the NFL for underclassmen who are now ineligible to finish their college careers. Teams that select a player will lose a pick in the corresponding round in next season's draft.

As for Unga, he has been wildly productive during his career, becoming the first BYU player to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Last fall, he led the Mountain West Conference in rushing with 1,087 yards and 11 touchdowns.

So, what about the Bucs? Unga is a kid that seems worth a look because he would give the Bucs the sort of runner they lack. They don't have anyone in the backfield with his combination of size (6-0 and 245 pounds) and speed, said to be in the 4.6-second range in the 40-yard dash. The Bucs have slashing runners like Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward, and they have scat backs like Clifton Smith and Kareem Huggins. Earnest Graham has some size, but he is basically a full-time fullback at this point.

This is not to suggest that the Bucs should fork over a high-round pick for Unga. But they might consider using a late-round selection on him and their chances would be better than most teams. Clubs with the worst records in the preceding season pick earlier in each round, just as they do in the standard April draft. And don't discount Unga's injury history, which is a bit extensive.

Whatever happens, Unga is one of the more intriguing possibilities you'll see in the supplemental draft, and it's likely he'll draw a lot of interest from NFL clubs -- maybe even the Bucs.

*Have a question? Send it to sholder@sptimes.com or find me on Twitter at twitter.com/holderstephen and maybe I'll address it on this blog.

[Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 2:42pm]

    

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