How 'bout a mulligan?
Every team has drafts that don't live up to expectations, but that's hardly an apt description for the Bucs' 2006 effort. Looking back just three years later, it's clear it was one of the team's poorest drafts in recent memory.
After skillfully drafting starting G Davin Joseph and OT Jeremy Trueblood in the first and second rounds, respectively, Tampa Bay grabbed WR Maurice Stovall in the third. He remains unproven but likely will get a chance to earn more playing time this fall.
Then, the bottom fell out. After that point, Tampa Bay selected Penn State CB Alan Zemaitis, above (fourth round), Stanford DE Julian Jenkins (fifth), Toledo QB Bruce Gradkowski (sixth), N.C. State TE T.J. Williams (sixth), Oregon CB Justin Phinisee (seventh), Clemson DE Charles Bennett (seventh) and Michigan TE Tim Massaquoi (seventh).
None of the seven players selected from the fourth round on remains on the roster. In fact, only Bennett (Titans) is in the league. Zemaitis, not exactly a late-round pick, never played a regular-season game. Sure, Gradkowski played extensively, starting 11 games in 2006. Then again, the Bucs went 4-12 and he rarely saw the field again. He was jettisoned after the 2007 season.
An excerpt from an NFL.com chat with former Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt:
Reader: "I read on a blog that the Redskins are trying to trade up to the No. 4 spot to take (USC QB) Mark Sanchez. If they would move up to 4, why wouldn't they want to take an elite player like (Texas DE) Brian Orakpo?"
Brandt: "It's going to be very hard for the Redskins to trade up because they don't have a second- or fourth-round pick. That said, because of the similarity in talent at the top of the draft, teams might be willing to trade down for less than what the "chart" dictates. I do think that (owner) Dan Snyder likes Sanchez a lot. Whether he can get him is another story."
Maclin maxes out
Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin, above, has nothing if not numbers. He became just the third NCAA player to average more than 200 all-purpose yards in a career (202.4). In 2007, he set a major-college football freshman record with 2,776 total yards.
He has put on a few
Tennessee DE Robert Ayers, right, asked about his ability to return kicks in high school, quickly put an end to any speculation he could be of any assistance carrying the ball. "That was about 65, 70 pounds ago," he said. Ayers is now 6 feet 3, 272 pounds.
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