Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs' second pick|Dexter Jackson

Bucs trade down but still get receiver Jackson

Appalachian State’s Hans Batichon, left, congratulates Dexter Jackson for one of his two touchdown catches against Michigan.

Associated Press (2007)

Appalachian State’s Hans Batichon, left, congratulates Dexter Jackson for one of his two touchdown catches against Michigan.

TAMPA — As widely speculated, the Bucs indeed traded their second-round pick Saturday and selected a receiver on the first day of the draft.

But the result likely came as a surprise.

Tampa Bay moved six picks down in the second round, from 52nd to 58th, in a trade with Jacksonville (getting a fifth-round pick for today and 2009 seventh-rounder) and selected Appalachian State's Dexter Jackson.

Bucs coach Jon Gruden said the 5-foot-9, 182-pound speedster gives his team an explosive playmaker, someone who could help as much on special teams (punt and kick returns) as receiver.

Jackson averaged 22.9 yards per reception last season as a slot receiver and split end, but for a franchise that boasts just one kick return for a touchdown in its 32-year history, the Decatur, Ga., native offers the Bucs a much-needed home run threat.

"He's a quick-strike guy," Gruden said. "You see him catch balls down the field. You see him catching quick screens. If he can make one guy miss and find a crease, he's capable of hitting it."

Just ask Michigan.

Jackson became the face of the I-AA Mountaineers' 34-32 upset last season, scoring two touchdowns and earning a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Jackson said the Michigan game helped his stock, which rose dramatically since the beginning of the season, when, "I was already thinking free agent."

After he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and had a strong pro workout day, he believed he would go in the late second or early third round. But when Jackson saw no receivers picked in the first round Saturday (for the first time since 1990), he "started to worry a lot."

But a quick conversation with Gruden fixed that.

"I was very overwhelmed," Jackson said. "It was a blessing."

The Bucs were believed to have targeted Cal receiver DeSean Jackson (who was picked by the Eagles earlier). But Gruden said he believed the two Jacksons and Houston's Donnie Avery were similar in size and speed.

Jackson said the success of the Patriots' Wes Welker, who wreaked havoc in the slot with 112 catches in 2007 despite his 5-9 frame, increased his value.

"I just feel like the mismatches, it makes other teams draft nickels and fast corners to guard us in the slot," Jackson said. "I feel with my size, I might not be the tallest thing. But I feel like my work ethic and my speed can really make some problems for the defense."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Meet Dexter Jackson

Receiver Appalachian State 5-9, 182


Made the cover of Sports Illustrated after helping Appalachian State upset Michigan 34-32 last season. … Had three catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, including a 68-yarder, against the Wolverines. … Finished his career with 3,415 all-purpose yards, averaging nearly 14 yards every time he touched the ball.


Look at it this way: The last Bucs player named Dexter Jackson was their only Super Bowl MVP. "That's wild," the newest Jackson said. Jackson compares somewhat favorably with Cal's DeSean Jackson, who went nine picks earlier (at No. 49) to Philadelphia. He will pay immediate dividends as a kick returner and eventually will be used as a slot receiver. His 4.35 speed in the 40-yard dash is what the Bucs sought.

Bucs trade down but still get receiver Jackson 04/26/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 2, 2008 2:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Ready to win, and win big:' Dick Vitale sees Bucs going 10-6


    ESPN's Dick Vitale, whose love and optimism for Tampa Bay sports teams goes far beyond basketball, has high hopes for the Bucs in 2017.

    ESPN's Dick Vitale, shown at One Buc Place last year when he announced a Bucs draft pick, has high hopes for Tampa Bay this fall, predicting a 10-6 record for the Bucs.
  2. Want elite college football athletes? Recruit Tampa Bay


    Now that college football watch list season is over (I think), here's one takeaway you probably already knew: Tampa Bay produces a lot of great athletes.

    Robinson High produuct Byron Pringle has gone from this performance in a high school all-star game to all-Big 12 at Kansas State.
  3. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.

  5. Rays journal: Rookie Jacob Faria continues to show veteran poise

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles threatened in the first inning and the second. They loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning with the top of the order up and seemed poised for a big inning. But those opportunities produced only one run because Rays rookie RHP Jacob Faria kept his composure and got the …

    Jacob Faria goes a career-high 71/3 innings, staying composed when the Orioles threaten.