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Bears grab Gator

Florida’s Jonathan Bullard lasts until the third round as the Bears select the defensive tackle 72nd overall.

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Florida’s Jonathan Bullard lasts until the third round as the Bears select the defensive tackle 72nd overall.

Gators DT Jonathan Bullard, projected by some as a potential late first-round pick, went in the third round to the Bears at No. 72 overall. He was the seventh defensive tackle taken Friday, after five in the second round.

High on kickers

It's not often you see an NFL kicker drafted in the first 60 picks, as the Bucs did Friday in trading up to take Florida State's Roberto Aguayo at No. 59 in the second round.
Recent history bodes well for kickers taken so high - the past three were Mike Nugent (47th in 2005), Sebastien Janikowski (17th in 2000) and Jason Hanson (56th in 1992). The career averages for those three are 16 years in the NFL and 364 made field goals. Those are still active counts for Nugent and Janikowski; Hanson lasted 21 years, all with the Lions.
Compare that to the Bucs, who in their 40-year history have never had a kicker last longer than six years - the career record for made field goals is 137, set by Martin Gramatica from 1999-2004.

Run on rushers

The draft's second day began with two pass rushers being selected. The Browns opened the night by picking Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah, the Big 12 defensive player of the year who had 13 sacks in 2015. The Titans followed that by selecting Clemson DE Kevin Dodd with the next pick. The 6-foot-5, 277-pound Dodd had 231/2 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks to help the Tigers make the national title game.

Three other pass rushers went in the first 14 picks of the second round: the Bucs took Eastern Kentucky/Ohio State DE Noah Spence (No. 39 overall), the Ravens chose Boise State DE Kamalei Correa (No. 42), and Oakland selected Illinois DE Jihad Ward (No. 44).

Injured linebackers called

Two first-round talents that fell because of knee injuries didn't have to wait long Friday night. The Cowboys selected Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith with the third pick of the second round. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock compared Smith to Panthers star Luke Kuechly ... if he's healthy. Smith was viewed as a top-five talent after an All-American season but sustained a potentially career-threatening knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl in January.

Two picks later, the Jaguars traded up to draft UCLA's Myles Jack. He was also viewed as a top-10 talent before tearing his meniscus in September. Concern of potential knee surgery in the future dropped him all the way into the second round but gives Jacksonville two highly regarded picks (along with Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey).

First-round trade saves Bucs millions

The Bucs' first-round trade to move down two spots to No. 11 has already saved them about $1.6 million - and it could be about $4 million more.

NFL rookie salaries are essentially slotted to a player's draft position, and according to salary-cap site Spotrac.com, CB Vernon Hargreaves' rookie salary with the Bucs should be about $14.2 million for four years, instead of $15.8 million had he gone at No. 9. There's an immediate savings of about $1.2 million just in the considerable signing bonus rookies get before they've played a snap - he'll get about $8.5 million, instead of the $9.7 million bonus he would have gotten at No. 9.

The real savings could come in 2020, when the Bucs have the right to keep Hargreaves with a fifth-year option. That option is calculated based on a player's position and where he was drafted, and there's a major difference between the fifth-year option for a top-10 pick and that for someone drafted from No. 11 on.

The fine print: Top-10 picks' fifth-year options are equal to the average of the top 10 players at one's position - for corners whose options were in 2016, for instance, that would cost a team $11 million for the fifth year. But for fifth-year option players drafted between No. 11 and 32, it's calculated by the average of the third- through 25th-highest players at the position - much less, or about $7.5 million for 2016 options. That's a difference of $3.5 million - and the gap should be larger four years from now.

Tide turns

After having only one player chosen in the first round, defending national champion Alabama made up for it in the second round as five players were selected. ILB Reggie Ragland was the 10th pick of the round, to the Bills. Four picks later, RB Derrick Henry went to the Titans, joining fellow Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. The Lions took DT A'Shawn Robinson with the next pick, the Seahawks traded up for DT Jarran Reed at No. 49 and CB Cyrus Jones went 60th to New England.
Clemson also had a busy second round. In addition to Kevin Dodd, CB Mackensie Alexander (Vikings, No. 54) and DB T.J. Green (Colts, No. 57) were chosen.

Bears grab Gator 04/29/16 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2016 11:30am]
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