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)

Lower NFL draft rounds can produce gems

TAMPA — New CB Alterraun Verner has a message for players who have to wait until the third day of the draft to hear their names finally called: It's nothing you can't overcome.

"There are too many examples out there that guys have played well, being later draft picks," said Verner, who was part of the NFL's first three-day draft in 2010, waiting until the third day to go in the fourth round to Tennessee. "You have to work a little bit harder probably. You learn you may have to go through special teams. Most important, you have to work hard and seize the opportunity you have."

Verner had 101 tackles as a rookie, starting 12 games and intercepting three passes. He started all 32 games over the past two seasons with the Titans before landing with the Bucs this offseason. He points to another standout cornerback — Seattle's Richard Sherman — who went from a fifth-round pick to perhaps the best corner in the NFL and a leader on a Super Bowl champion.

New Bucs LT Anthony Collins was drafted in a similar position — in the fourth round in 2008 by the Bengals, where he started 13 games in his first two seasons. He remembers having friends and family over for a draft party, only to see the first two rounds come and go, waiting until the next day to hear the news he was waiting for.

"Ever since then, I've had a chip on my shoulder," he said. "(Today) I wouldn't even look at the TV. If I had advice for people, friends and family, enjoy the moment. Turn the TV off, wait for the call. Relax, get some food."

NOT WATCHING: Collins' TV will be off during the draft next week, even though the Bucs could very well take an offensive lineman — potentially a left guard to line up next to him. Collins said he has no curiosity as to who that will be.

"I'm not watching the draft. I'll find out who we take the next day," he said. "Until then, I'll probably be getting a massage, chilling and cooling out. … That doesn't have anything to do with me. The people we've got right now are good enough for me to play ball with."

Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week the league may consider stretching the draft to a fourth day. Collins said it was difficult to wait a single night in his draft six years ago.

"It's hard, when people are telling you you're going first, second round," he said. "It's hard as a 21-year-old. It's hard for people to be telling you this and you don't get taken first day. Always you keep that chip on your shoulder and use it to the best of your (ability)."

THIS AND THAT: GM Jason Licht credits the perceived depth of this draft to a record 98 underclassmen, 25 more than last year. "That's essentially adding almost two rounds," he said. "That affects the top." … Coach Lovie Smith won't guess how many hours he's spent scouting draft prospects: "I'll just say Blair, Jason's wife, and Mary Anne, my wife, neither one is in town, so we've gotten to know One Buc Place fairly well."

New Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner, center, had to wait until the third day to go in the fourth round to Tennessee in the 2010 draft.


New Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner, center, had to wait until the third day to go in the fourth round to Tennessee in the 2010 draft.

Lower NFL draft rounds can produce gems 04/29/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 9:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  4. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.
  5. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.