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Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis picked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be physical corner

Myron Lewis, tackling Florida receiver Frankie Hammond last season, had 10 career interceptions for Vanderbilt.

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Myron Lewis, tackling Florida receiver Frankie Hammond last season, had 10 career interceptions for Vanderbilt.

TAMPA — The competition for the Bucs' first-team nickel job just got a lot bigger.

Seeking more physical play in the secondary, Tampa Bay used its third-round pick on Vanderbilt cornerback Myron Lewis, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder expected to challenge for the nickel job and eventually more.

"He's a big, tall, athletic corner with great ball skills," general manager Mark Dominik said. "He's a good tackler, a great kid off the field as well. He's got very good feet for such a big man. Part of what we wanted to do here is build a bigger football team, and I believe we did that with his selection."

Lewis is 4 inches and 30 pounds heavier than Elbert Mack, the team's nickel defensive back last season. He said his size is a source of confidence when he's lined up against bigger receivers.

"I'm very aggressive against receivers … I'm able to stick with the bigger, taller receivers, and in the red zone, play the jump ball or deep ball," said Lewis, who is from Pompano Beach. "I'm going to come up and knock some heads off. I'm ready to go to work."

Lewis' brother, Hanik Milligan, played parts of five seasons in the NFL as a 6-3, 200-pound safety with the Chargers, Cardinals and Rams, making the Pro Bowl in 2006 as a special-teams player.

Lewis had four interceptions last season at Vanderbilt, where he started 36 games. He blitzed enough that he had five sacks as a junior, and though he has played safety, Dominik said he'll be a cornerback with the Bucs.

Tampa Bay gave up 28 passing touchdowns last season, sixth-most in the NFL, so upgrading the secondary was a priority. Lewis could be seen as an eventual heir to 35-year-old Ronde Barber when he retires.

Lewis didn't hear much from the Bucs before the draft, but will have a chance to make a fast impression this summer.

"I got a little love from them, but I didn't expect it at all," he said. "When I saw my name go across that board, I was so excited."

Times staff writer Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com and at (813) 226-3346.

fast facts

Myron Lewis, CB, Vanderbilt

Drafted: Round 3 (67th overall)

Ht/Wt: 6-2; 205 Age/Born: 22; Nov. 24, 1987

Hometown: Pompano Beach

Overview: Considered a physical cornerback who can cover receivers in short to intermediate areas. Excellent ball-hawking skills make some scouts believe he can be an excellent free safety in the NFL. Brother, Hanik Milligan, was a sixth-round pick by San Diego in 2003 and played for it (2003-05), Arizona (2006) and St. Louis (2007).

College: The Commodores' pass defense ranked 15th among 120 I-A schools during his junior season and ninth during his senior season (164 yards per game). He was named All-SEC second-team in 2009 after leading Vandy with four interceptions and eight pass deflections.

Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis picked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be physical corner 04/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 11:53am]
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