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The Bucs jump up twice among their three deals and acquire five players.
Published Apr. 29, 2013

Sometimes, they held their cards close to their chest. Other times, they riffled the deck and sent players and picks flying every which way.

But when the wheeling and dealing ended for the Bucs on Saturday, they said they were happy with what they pulled off during the NFL draft.

What began a week ago with the trade for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis ended six days later with running back LeGarrette Blount shipped to the Patriots for former Florida star Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick, which the Bucs used to move up in the sixth round to take Miami running back Mike James.

All told, there were four moves general manager Mark Dominik pulled off and countless other occasions he needed the nerves of a jewel thief to let the draft come to him.

"When everybody is on the same page, it's about executing. It's not about making decisions," coach Greg Schiano said. "(Dominik) did an awesome job, and we're a better team for it."

After waiting for Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks (43rd overall) and N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon (73rd) to fall to them Friday, Dominik took a more aggressive approach on the draft's final day.

First, the Bucs moved up 12 spots, to the third pick of Round 4 (No. 100), in a deal with Oakland and selected Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence.

"As you went to bed, you look at that defensive tackle class, and it had been hit hard," Dominik said. "He was like a beacon for us in terms of all the defensive tackles."

The 6-foot-1, 307-pound Spence, who did 37 reps of 225 pounds at the combine, replaces nose tackle Roy Miller, who signed with the Jaguars.

With the fourth-rounder they got from the Patriots last year for cornerback Aqib Talib, the Bucs selected Michigan State defensive end William Gholston. While producing only 10 sacks in three seasons, Gholston had 30 tackles-for-loss and is capable of playing on the right and left side.

In the fifth round, the Bucs doubled down at defensive end by selecting Buffalo's Steven Means. "He might be a little bit off your radar, but he wasn't off ours," Dominik said.

The Bucs previously dangled Blount but didn't find a taker until the Patriots. Tampa Bay's two-time leading rusher became an afterthought with the arrival of rookie Doug Martin last season and had only eight carries over the final nine game.

Demps, an Olympic sprinter, played in two preseason games with the Patriots last season before being placed on injured reserved with a leg injury. Dominik indicated the former Groveland South Lake High standout wants to continue competing in track and football.

"We were going to do LeGarrette Blount for a seventh-round pick," Dominik said. "But we asked for the rights to Jeff Demps because we want to investigate that further."

The Bucs sent their new seventh-rounder to the Vikings to jump six spots and select James, a versatile, 5-11, 222-pounder whom Dominik compared to former Buc Earnest Graham: "Mike is selfless like Earnest and can do a lot of different things."

The games will be tougher, but the Bucs believe they did well in the trade derby.

"I've found myself to be calculated, I think, more than aggressive," Dominik said. "I want to make sure we're making the right decisions at the right times, and we did that in this draft. Whether it's trades or the draft, you've got to be willing to keep your mind open. Because if you sit still, you're going to let things come and go and you're always going to be left out. We don't want to be that organization."

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Fast facts

Bucs trades

Deal 1: No. 13 overall and a 2014 conditional pick (third- or fourth-rounder) to Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis. Jets draft Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Deal 2: Nos. 112 (Round 4) and 181 (Round 6) to Raiders for No. 100 (Round 4). Bucs draft Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence. Raiders draft Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson (112) and UCF running back Latavius Murray (181).

Deal 3: Running back LeGarrette Blount to Patriots for running back/kick returner Jeff Demps and No. 229 (Round 7).

Deal 4: Nos. 196 (Round 6) and 229 (Round 7 from Patriots) to Vikings for No. 189 (Round 6). Bucs draft Miami running back Mike James. Vikings draft UCLA guard Jeff Baca (196) and Florida State defensive tackleEverett Dawkins (229).

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Fourth round

Akeem Spence

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Illinois

Height/weight: 6-1; 307

Hometown: Fort Walton Beach

Skinny: Bucs believe he's a very powerful, strong and long tackle tailor-made for tilted nose position, can make "instant impact" and compete for starting spot, GM Mark Dominik said. Modeled his game after ex-Bucs star Warren Sapp.

College: Started all 38 games he appeared in at Illinois, recording 186 tackles, with 3-1/2 sacks and 17-1/2 tackles for loss. ... Had a career-high 72 tackles his junior year, when he was named All-Big Ten honorable mention.

Personal: Graduated with degree in communications. While at Fort Walton Beach High, also threw shot put and discus for track team and was a heavyweight state weightlifting champ.


Fourth round

William Gholston

Position: Defensive end

School: Michigan State

Height/weight: 6-7; 278

Hometown: Detroit

Skinny: A versatile pass rusher, with the "height, weight, speed and skill" to play inside or outside, according to GM Mark Dominik, who loves his length and power. Provides depth at end.

College: Is 10th in MSU history in tackles for loss (30) and had 142 career tackles and 10 sacks. As a junior, had 59 tackles and a team-high 4-1/2 sacks; was All-Big Ten honorable mention. ... Was suspended one game in 2011 for punching Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan after a play.

Personal: Majored in human development and family studies. ... Cousin of Vernon Gholston, the No. 6 overall pick by the Jets in 2008 out of Ohio State.


Fifth round

Steven Means

Position: Defensive end

School: Buffalo

Height/weight: 6-3; 257

Hometown: Buffalo

Skinny: Small-school star wasn't invited to combine and didn't know if he would get drafted. Bucs believe he has tremendous traits as a pass-rusher and, with his physical ability, "can be an excellent special teams player," coach Greg Schiano said.

College: Finished fourth in program history with 18-1/2 career sacks, showing good burst off the edge. ... Also starred on special teams, with five career blocked kicks, three his senior year, when he also had 6-1/2 sacks.

Personal: Also a standout in track and field, basketball and swim teams for Grover Cleveland High.


Sixth round

Mike James

Position: Running back

School: Miami

Height/weight: 5-11; 222

Hometown: Haines City

Skinny: GM Mark Dominik says James' selfless nature makes him an "Earnest Graham type-player." A dependable, trustworthy back who can play all four downs.

College: Rushed for 1,340 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career and caught 67 passes for 585 yards. ... Learned patience early in his career before a breakout senior season, when he rushed for career-high 621 yards.

Personal: Says he has been inspired by his mother, Elgusta, who died in a car accident in December 2010 at age 47. ... Grew up a Bucs fan in Polk County (Ridge Community). ... Recognized for community service, says giving back is "part of my life."