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Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft Brian Price, Arrelious Benn, Myron Lewis

TAMPA — There still was a buzz around One Buc Place on Friday when Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy walked into the building. The No. 3 overall pick is a big star with bigger personality to fill the Bucs' biggest need.

To general manager Mark Dominik, it felt so nice, he did it twice.

Trying to rebuild a defense that was last in the NFL against the run last season, the Bucs began Day 2 of the draft the same as Day 1. Tampa Bay chose another defensive tackle, Brian Price, with the third pick of the second round (35th overall).

"People have been known as quarterback collectors," Dominik said. "I guess I'm a defensive tackle collector."

Even Price, who was one of 30 players to visit the Bucs last month, said he was caught off guard.

"I was surprised," Price said. "They told me … that they'd see me again, and I felt that was a place for me to be. I just felt that in my heart."

A year ago, the Bucs used a third-round pick on Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller. As a rookie, he had two sacks, and his 54 tackles were three fewer than Chris Hovan and six more than starting defensive tackle Ryan Sims.

But Bucs coach Raheem Morris wants to re-establish the Bucs' dominance up front with a solid rotation.

And adding Price, last season's Pac-10 defensive player of the year, is a way to do that.

Morris remembers what former Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli preached.

"He used to say, 'If we're playing our game up front, we can give everybody else behind us a pink slip and we can go to work and end this game ourselves,' " Morris said. "That's never been more true. You get those guys up front humming, and that makes your linebackers better. That makes your secondary better. That makes everybody better."

The Bucs tried to make quarterback Josh Freeman better by trading up three spots, to No. 39, with the Raiders and selecting Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn. In exchange, the Bucs gave the Raiders their second- and fifth-round picks, Nos. 42 and 153, respectively.

In the third round, the Bucs addressed the defense again by selecting Vanderbilt cornerback Myron Lewis.

By far, the biggest surprise of the night was Price, who recorded 231/2 tackles for loss and seven sacks last season for the Bruins. Like McCoy, he said he was hoping to go to the Bucs.

"When he got off the plane, he said he wanted to go to Tampa," said his agent, Chuck Price. "He said it felt like home. The coach put his arm around him. He said it just felt like my spot. As a football fan first and a football person and not an agent, it's like they've got a wall building up front. Of course, it starts with defense."

The Bucs believe they can play Price at either defensive tackle position and possibly as an outside rusher.

"We play in Florida, in the heat," Dominik said. "We have not had a good pass rush on this football team, and it starts up front by attacking the quarterback. Brian Price is like that. When you look at his statistics, when you look at his production in college, you're going to see a very powerful, explosive young guy. The idea is to become a better pass rushing football team."

Benn, who led the Illini in receiving the past three seasons, was recruited by Morris while he was an assistant at Kansas State.

Lewis, 6 feet 2, is a possible heir apparent for Ronde Barber, who is 35 and likely entering his final season with the Bucs. He was second-team All-SEC with 41 tackles and four interceptions last season.

McCoy believed he would play with Roy Miller when both were recruited to Oklahoma. But Miller opted for rival Texas. Friday, McCoy was reunited with Miller after being selected No. 3 overall by the Bucs on Thursday. In a welcoming gesture, Miller volunteered to give his No. 93 jersey to McCoy, who wore that number with the Sooners.

"I didn't have to try," McCoy said. "My man Roy was just generous enough to just give me the number."

The Bucs have other needs to address in today's final day of the draft, which begins at 10 a.m.

"I don't like potential as much as production," Dominik said. "That's important when you look at the draft."

Fast facts

Brian Price, DT, UCLA

Drafted: Round 2 (35th overall)

Ht/Wt: 6-1; 303 Age/born: 21; April 10, 1989 Hometown: Los Angeles

Overview: Ranked fourth nationally with 23½ tackles for loss, including seven sacks, as a junior in 2009. Only Bruin with more career tackles for loss is ex-Steelers star Carnell Lake.

College: First-team All-American, according to American Football Coaches Association and SI.com, and Pac-10 defensive player of the year in 2009.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft Brian Price, Arrelious Benn, Myron Lewis 04/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 1:40am]

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