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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Suh and McCoy are different players and personalities, but both are ready to become the face of the Bucs defense

21

April

Mccoy_crop Ndamukong Suh doesn't understand all the inevitable comparisons with Gerald McCoy.

"I have had an opportunity to hang out and be around Gerald. We're good friends and what not but I don't find a comparison at all,'' Suh said Wednesday on the eve of the NFL draft. " We played a totally different defense. The only comparison you've got there is we both wear 93 and we're both DTs. That's where I leave it at.''

At least one of college football's elite defensive tackles from Big 12 rivals -- Nebraska's Suh and Oklahoma's McCoy -- are expected to be available Thursday when the Bucs make the No. 3 overall pick.

Both players visited Tampa Bay recently and are eager to become the face of the Bucs' defense

Suh "It's funny because I know a little bit about that defense through Barrett (Ruud),'' Suh said. "I definitely feel I can go in there and play with that defense and help that defense out, without a doubt. I have a great Mike linebacker back there (Ruud) to help me learn the ropes that much faster. I think I see myself as a versatile player and able to adapt to any situations. Ithink I've proven that.

"I had the pleasure to talk to (Warren) Sapp and get his views on myself, which I definitely think I can follow heavily in his footsteps, without a doubt.''

"You know they've got a great history of defense,'' McCoy said. "Warren Sapp, of course, at the three technique. And that's what they're looking for. They're looking for another three technique to come in and be the face of the program and bring them back to the style of defense that they've played. I'd love to be a part of it.''

But that's probably where the similarities end. Whereas McCoy says he'd be happy to be drafted in the top five, Suh hasn't given up on going to the Rams or another team with the No. 1 overall pick.

"No, not at all. I definitely think I have an opportunity,'' Suh said. "As far as I know, at this point in time, St. Louis has not decided on who they want to take and created a deal for that person, even if they do know who they want to take. In my mind, and from what I'm told, I still have an opportunity to be the No. 1 overall player.

"I'd love to be the first pick. That's been my goal ever since I left the University of Nebraska.'' 

Suh is slightly more imposing physically, but McCoy has a bigger personality. He was the only member of the 2010 draft  class visiting New York to grab the microphone from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and address the youth directly.

He also insisted on wearing his Dolce&Gabbana prescription eyewear that makes him look more like a professor than professional football player.

"I always wore glasses. I love glasses,'' McCoy said. "Everybody is talking about lasik surgery. That's not me. I wear glasses. I'm the only player in the draft who wheres them and people still don't know who I am. I don't get it.''

McCoy said don't let the off-field image fool you.

"A lot of people don't think I'm tough because I'm so nice,'' McCoy said. "But my toughness comes from my father and my temper does, too. He's got a temper just like me. When I step across those white lines, that temper changes. I'm like BruceBanner.

"As I recall, Reggie White was one of the nicest people ever. Look what he was doing on the field.'' 

Both players are the product of good families who accompanied them to New York City. McCoy's mother, Patricia Dianne McCoy, died three weeks after suffering a brain anuerysm after his redshirt freshman year at Oklahoma.

On Thursday, McCoy said he will walk the red carpet at Radio City Music Hall wearing a suit with the initials PDM. 

"She taught me to be the head, not the tail. To be the leader and not the follower,'' McCoy said. "Never give up. I almost quit one year at OU. I called my mother and she's the one who told me, "Don't quit. We don't quit in this family and I'm not going to allow you to quit.' Look where I'm at now.''

Suh, whose father is from Camaroon and his mother is from the Bahamas, donated more than $2-million to the University of Nebraska for upgrades in the weight room and an engineering scholarship in his name.

Both players are extremely anxious to get this over with. They are being wined and dined with other members of the 2010 draft class in New York this week. The itinerary included an appearance on the CBS Early Show, a visit to Goodell's Park Ave., office, the Play 60 clinic (watch video of Gerald McCoy from the clinic here), a luncheon, a visit to Mt. Sinai Hospital, ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange and posing for photos atop the marquee at Radio City Music Hall.

That was just on Wednesday.

"It's been very fun, but at the same time, hectic,'' Suh said. "Tomorrow will officially be two weeks on he road, living in hotels. It's fun, but sometimes, a little tiring. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.''

(Pictured: Gerald McCoy, top, and Ndamukong Suh participate at the Play 60 youth football clinic today at Central Park in New York. Times photos -- Rick Stroud)

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:59pm]

    

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