TAMPA — The Bucs entered the draft with linebacker considered to be among their weaknesses.
But they emerged from the three-day affair having fortified the position with starting-caliber Lavonte David and, on Saturday, fifth-round pick Najee Goode.
The Bucs selected Goode, a versatile West Virginia linebacker, 140th overall, giving them a candidate to add some much-needed depth at the position.
Adding Goode also gives the Bucs a player who has proven he can overcome long odds.
He went from walk-on at a formidable program like West Virginia to become a team captain for the Mountaineers and first-team All-Big East selection to NFL draft pick.
"It was just a long shot," Goode said. "I was hoping and praying for it, and I just kept working hard. You know, now that's it's here I still can't believe it. But when I first walked on, I was just trying to get to the next level, and for me, that next level was just getting a scholarship and playing hard."
While David has the inside track to start at one of the outside linebacker positions, with Mason Foster (middle) and Quincy Black more than likely manning the remaining two, Goode gives the Bucs a wild-card sort of linebacker who has experience both inside and outside.
As a senior, Goode literally did it all, starting four games at middle linebacker, four at strongside and five at weakside in West Virginia's complex defensive scheme. The Bucs think that will make him better prepared to contribute on the pro level.
"They kind of play a different defense and he would move around and play at all those different spots, which shows his versatility for sure," coach Greg Schiano said.
There has been no decision on what position Goode will play in Tampa Bay, but the Bucs seem to think his role could resemble the one he had for the Mountaineers.
"He's a guy we think can play all three positions," general manager Mark Dominik said. "He's physical, fast. … He's going to have an opportunity to play all three (positions) and compete."