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Bucs add FSU's Hayes to lengthy linebacker list

TAMPA — If the Bucs have depth nowhere else, they certainly have it at linebacker.

Entering the draft, Tampa Bay had 11 linebackers on its 80-man roster. So, what did the team do in the sixth round Sunday? Add another, of course. The Bucs took FSU's Geno Hayes with the 175th pick, a somewhat peculiar move for a team that has added three reserve linebackers this offseason.

But if nothing else, bringing in another prospect at the position guarantees competition.

"You want to go into training camp and have a mentality that you better have seven or eight pretty talented linebackers to play four preseason games," coach Jon Gruden said. "We saw a couple of our guys go down in the preseason last year."

Gruden has already decided this much: Hayes has a chance.

"I will say this: he can run, he can hit, and he's 20 years old and had some pretty good experience at a high level at a place that's relatively famous for producing linebackers," Gruden said. "We're excited to put him in the same room as Derrick (Brooks) and Barrett (Ruud) and Cato (June) and see what happens."

Hayes had an altercation outside a Tallahassee bar last year, resulting in three misdemeanor offenses. Hayes recently completed a pretrial diversion program to resolve the matter.

MORE COMPETITION: The receiving corps got a bit deeper with the addition of Appalachian State's Dexter Jackson in Saturday's second round, and Gruden is hoping the Bucs finally will get the heated competition they've been looking for at the position.

"Good teams have competition," he said. "There's a lot unresolved at the wide receiver position. (Maurice) Stovall coming into his third year, Michael Clayton, can he put it all together again? Antonio Bryant, it might be a Cinderella story or it might flicker out."

In last fall's camp, the Bucs expected competition from Clayton, Stovall and others. But in the end, there was little threat to eventual starters Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard.

Bucs add FSU's Hayes to lengthy linebacker list 04/27/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 2, 2008 1:56pm]
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