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NFL draft blog: Bucs use six of their eight picks on defensive players

News, analysis, photo galleries, draft tracker, story links and more from the league’s player selection meeting.

Bucs’ picks

Bucs first-round pick Devin White [MONICA HERNDON | Times]

Photo galleries: First-round picks | Bucs picks

Round 1 (No. 5) — Devin White, LB, LSU

Bucs draft linebacker Devin White | White came from a small town with a big dream | Will White make Bucs a playoff team? | Bucs might have missed on White | Five things to know | Our thoughts | What they’re saying

Round 2 (No. 39) — Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan

Bunting gives Bucs a solid cover corner and a ballhawk

Round 3 (No. 94) — Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn

Bucs trade down in third round, select two defensive backs | Was it wise?

Round 3 (No. 99) — Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky

Why the Bucs drafted Mike Edwards | Bucs keep stockpiling defensive backs

Round 4 (No. 107) — Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa

Bucs grab Anthony Nelson in fourth round

Round 5 (No. 145) — Matt Gay, K, Utah

Bucs use fifth-round pick on ... kicker?

Round 6 (No. 208) — Scotty Miller, WR, Bowling Green

Bucs’ sixth-round pick bears some resemblance to Adam Humphries

Round 7 (No. 215) — Terry Beckner Jr., DT, Missouri

Bucs wait until final round to grab interior defensive lineman

Bucs wait until final round to take interior defensive lineman

[AP Photo/L.G. Patterson]

It took until the final round of the draft for the Bucs to select an interior defensive lineman, when they selected Missouri defensive tackle Terry Beckner, Jr.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Beckner had 34 tackles, including 11 for loss, 3-1/2 sacks and a forced fumble. He received second-team All-SEC honors and was a team captain.

The Bucs’ draft class was focused on defense. Six of the team’s eight picks came from the defensive side of the ball.

Read more here.

Wide receiver bears some resemblance to Adam Humphries

[Rich Von Biberstein/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press]

If the Bucs have a question at receiver, it’s who will fill the void left by the departure of Adam Humphries, who received free-agent riches this offseason by signing with the Tennessee Titans.

With their sixth-round pick Saturday, they took a receiver who bears some resemblance to Humphries, the speedy undersized slot receiver who went from an undrafted free agent to one of the Bucs’ most dependable wideouts — Bowling Green wide receiver Scotty Miller, the 208th overall selection.

Miller was the only offensive player the Bucs selected in their eight picks.

Read more here.

Patriots draft former Armwood star Byron Cowart

[AP Photo/Butch Dill]

Only 17 months ago, former Armwood blue-chipper Byron Cowart was off the college football grid and attending classes at Hillsborough Community College. Recruitniks universally had deemed him a bust.

Today, he’s a Belichick guy.

A defensive end who washed out after two-plus seasons at Auburn before resuscitating his career last year at Maryland, Cowart was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (No. 159 overall) on Saturday.

Read more here.

Bucs take Utah kicker Matt Gay in fifth round

[AP Photo/Rick Scuteri]

Three years after the failed Roberto Aguayo pick, the Bucs used their fifth-round pick to select another kicker.

Utah’s Matt Gay went to the Bucs with the 145th overall pick.

The Lou Groza Award winner was the first placekicker taken in this year’s draft.

Read more here.

Lions pick former Gaither standout in fifth round

[AP Photo/Doug McSchooler]

Amani Oruwariye had a draft party Friday night at Panini’s Bar and Grill in Tampa. The former Gaither High and Penn State standout picked that date because he was projected to go anywhere between the second and third rounds.

For four hours, Oruwariye waited for a phone call from an NFL team that never came.

On Saturday, the wait was over. Oruwariye went in the fifth round, 146th overall, to the Detroit Lions.

Read more here.

Bucs grab Iowa DE Anthony Nelson in fourth round

[AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall]

After spending Friday addressing their needs in the secondary, the Bucs on Saturday turned their attention to the defensive front.

Tampa Bay selected Iowa defensive end Anthony Nelson early in the fourth round, the 107th pick overall.

An effective bull rusher, the 6-foot-7, 271-pound Nelson has long arms and a nose for finding the football.

Read more here.

Gators’ Chauncey Gardner-Johnson goes to Saints

[Times files]

After waiting two days to get drafted, Florida Gators defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s third day went quickly.

The Saints picked Gardner-Johnson with the third pick of the fourth round (No. 105 overall) on Saturday.

Read more here.

Buccaneers targets for Day 3

Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams [AP Photo/Michael Wyke]

After drafting Sean Bunting, Jamel Dean and Mike Edwards on Friday night, the Bucs are going to turn their attention to other positions … probably.

Tampa Bay, which owns a pick in each of the final four rounds, could use an edge rusher, a defensive tackle, an offensive lineman and a pass-catching running back.

Here are some names to watch.

Read more here.

Why the Bucs drafted Kentucky defensive back Mike Edwards

[AP Photo/Michael Wyke]

Kentucky defensive back Mike Edwards is a play-maker. Pure and simple. That’s why the Bucs drafted him in the third round Friday night.

Sure, it appears Tampa Bay is loading up on defensive backs. They took three on Friday. This is on the heels of the Bucs taking three defensive backs in the 2018 NFL draft.

But Bucs general manager Jason Licht says he wasn’t happy with the play in the secondary a year ago.

Read more here.

Bucs trade down in third round, select two defensive backs

Jamel Dean [AP Photo/Vasha Hunt]

The Bucs continued to stock their secondary in the the second day of the NFL draft Friday, taking defensive backs with both of their third-round selections.

They drafted Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean with the 90th overall pick, then selected Kentucky defensive back Mike Edwards with the 99th pick

Read more here.

Bucs keep stockpiling defensive backs

[Mat Gdowski/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press]

How many defensive backs do the Buccaneers need?

The answer: As many as it takes.

With the selection of Central Michigan cornerback Sean Bunting, Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean and Kentucky safety Mike Edwards on Friday, Tampa Bay has picked a league-high nine defensive backs in the first four rounds of the NFL draft since 2016.

Read more here.

Gators’ Jachai Polite slides to Jets in third round

[Times files]

Edge rusher Jachai Polite became the second Florida product drafted this year when the Jets picked him with the fourth pick of the third round (No. 68 overall).

Three months ago, Polite slipping this far seemed unlikely. He was a popular first-round selection in early mock drafts after an ultra-productive junior season. His six forced fumbles tied UF’s single-season record, and he’s one of only four players in UF history to cause at least eight career fumbles.

But Polite struggled during the pre-draft process.

Read more here.

Devin White came from a small town with a big dream

[AP Photo/Mark Humphrey]

TAMPA — At the moment the NFL was about to reveal his future, Devin White put his head in his hands, closed his eyes and peered into the past.

The Raiders had just selected Clemson defensive tackle Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick. Tampa Bay was on the clock.

White had brought a graduation picture of his stepbrother, J’Marco Jewel Greenard, whom everyone called J.J., to the green room at the draft in Nashville.

Read more here.

Bucs trade down, pick up an extra third-round pick

Bucs general manager Jason Licht [MONICA HERNDON | Times]

The Bucs trade down in the third round of the NFL draft, sending the 70th overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams for the 94th and 99th picks.

The Rams use the 70th pick to draft Memphis running back Darrell Henderson.

Read more here.

Bucs give Make-A-Wish fan a draft experience to remember


TAMPA — Kacey Reynolds III was supposed to announce the Bucs’ first-round pick last season when the NFL draft was in Dallas, but he spent most of the last calendar year in and out of the hospital battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

"I never thought I'd be healthy enough to do it," Reynolds said Friday.

But on Thursday, the 19-year-old lifelong Bucs fan shook NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand, stood on the outdoor stage in front of a sea of fans assembled along Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville and introduced LSU inside linebacker Devin White as the Bucs’ first-round selection.

Then, over a 24-hour span, the Bucs treated Kacey like a first-round pick.

Read more here.

Bucs choose Central Michigan cornerback Sean Bunting in second round

[AP Photo/Michael Conroy]

The Bucs continued to try to improve their defense Friday, using their second-round pick, the 39th overall, on Central Michigan cornerback Sean Bunting.

Bunting gives the Bucs a solid cover guy and a ballhawk. He allowed just 17 catches last season while intercepting two passes and breaking up five.

A first-team All-MAC pick, he added 37 tackles, including three for loss, and two forced fumbles in 12 games.

Read more here.

Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor headed to Jaguars

[AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File]

It took longer than expected, but Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor finally emerged from the green room at the NFL draft.

Taylor will stay in the state after the Jaguars traded up one spot to draft him with the third pick of the second round (No. 35 overall) Friday night.

Read more here.

Bucs’ targets for day 2 of draft

LSU's Greedy Williams, considered to be one of the top cornerbacks of the 2019 NFL draft class. [Associated Press]

The first round of the 2019 NFL draft is in the books, so Thomas Bassinger looks ahead to tonight and the Bucs’ potential targets in the second and third rounds.

The Bucs are in a good spot, as there’s a lot of talent left on the board at positions of need.

Read more here.

As good as he is, Bucs still might have missed on White

[AP Photo/Steve Luciano]

TAMPA — Let’s make one thing clear: Devin White, the former LSU inside linebacker who the Bucs chose fifth in the NFL draft, is a very good football player who is going to make people proud that he is a Buccaneer.

He’s just not what this franchise needed, first and foremost, Martin Fennelly writes.

That would be pass rushing dervish Josh Allen, who was sitting right there when the Bucs passed him over.

Read more here.

The silver lining in Gators’ first-round shutout

Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons [AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File]

Thursday night was not a great one for the Florida Gators.

For the first time since 2012, no Gators were chosen in the first round of the NFL draft. That was a surprise, considering three different Gators have been in the first round in various mock drafts over the last few months, and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor was viewed by some as a potential top-10 pick.

There was, however, a slight reason for UF optimism Thursday: Three Mississippi State players went in the first 27 picks (defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, defensive end Montez Sweat and safety Johnathan Abram). All three, of course, were recruited by and coached by Dan Mullen.

Read more here.

Florida State’s Brian Burns goes to Carolina Panthers

Florida State defensive end Brian Burns sacks Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks during a 2017 game in Gainesville. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]

Florida State defensive end Brian Burns’ football career will continue in the South.

The Carolina Panthers selected the former Seminole with the No. 16 overall pick Thursday night in the first round of the NFL draft.

Burns established himself as one of the best pass rushers in a class loaded with them after having one of the most prolific careers in FSU history.

Read more here.

Will Devin White make the Bucs a playoff team?

[AP Photo/Rusty Costanza]

Devin White is going to be a fine NFL football player and, 10 years from now, may be celebrated as a Tampa Bay icon, John Romano writes.

But he’s an inside linebacker and recent history says that’s not the most dynamic position on a football field. Defensive linemen? They change teams. Outside linebackers? They impact opposing game plans.

Inside linebackers? They are clearly important, but they’re not usually chosen in the top five picks of the draft. Which kind of makes drafting White feel like settling for a safer pick.

Read more here.

Fast facts on new Bucs linebacker Devin White

[Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK]

As they transition to a 3-4 scheme, the Bucs are currently thin at inside linebacker, and the idea of teaming a rare talent like Devin White with veteran Lavonte David makes for a nice pairing to center the defense around.

Inside linebacker is the most important position in the 3-4 front, because those players must know all the assignments. And while it’s rare to see off-the-ball linebackers drafted so high, White is a freakish athlete who also has an elite football IQ and leadership quality that stand out.

Read more here.

Bucs use first-round pick on LSU linebacker Devin White

[AP Photo/Rick Scuteri]

TAMPA — The Bucs selected LSU linebacker Devin White in the first round of the NFL draft.

White had been projected by many to be chosen by Tampa Bay, who need to strengthen its linebacking corps as it converts to a 3-4 defense.

Read more here.

Cardinals make Kyler Murray top pick in NFL draft

[AP photo]

The Arizona Cardinals selected Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in the NFL draft.

Just a year ago, the Cardinals used the 10th overall pick on Josh Rosen, hoping the former UCLA star would be their quarterback of the future.

Murray’s decision to play football, not baseball — where he was the ninth overall pick by the Oakland A’s — created a new option for an Arizona team with a new coach and a new offensive system.

Read more here.

First-round team-by-team picks

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. [AP photo]

1. Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

2. San Francisco 49ers — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

3. New York Jets — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

4. Oakland Raiders — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Devin White, LB, LSU

6. New York Giants — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

7. Jacksonville Jaguars — Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky

8. Detroit Lions — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

9. Buffalo Bills — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Denver Broncos) — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

11. Cincinnati Bengals — Jonah Williams, G, Alabama

12. Green Bay Packers — Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

13. Miami Dolphins — Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

14. Atlanta Falcons — Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

15. Washington Redskins — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

16. Carolina Panthers — Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns) — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

18. Minnesota Vikings — Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State

19. Tennessee Titans — Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

20. Denver Broncos (from Pittsburgh Steelers) — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

21. Seattle Seahawks — Darnell Savage, S, Maryland

22. Philadelphia Eagles (from Baltimore Ravens) — Andre Dillard, T, Washington State

23. Houston Texans — Tytus Howard, T, Alabama State

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears) — Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

25. Baltimore Ravens (from Philadelphia Eagles) — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

26. Washington (from Indianapolis Colts) — Montez Sweat, LB, Mississippi State

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys) — Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

28. Los Angeles Chargers — Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

29. Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City Chiefs) — L.J. Collier, DE, TCU

30. New York Giants (from Seattle Seahawks) — Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

31. Atlanta Falcons (from Los Angeles Rams) — Kaleb McGary, T, Washington

32. New England Patriots — N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

NFL draft profiles

Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, center. [AP Photo/John Bazemore]

DT: Quinnen Williams, Alabama | Ed Oliver, Houston

DE: Clelin Ferrell, Clemson | Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

LB: Devin Bush, Michigan

QB: Will Grier, West Virginia

WR: Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Pre-draft stories

Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat . [AP Photo/Jim Lytle]

Thomas Bassinger’s mock draft | Who is the ideal Bucs pick?

Pick a Devin, any Devin, and the Bucs should be set at linebacker

Fennelly: Even the Bucs can’t whiff on this one. Maybe

Bruce Arians says there are six ‘generational’ players in NFL draft

Jason Licht’s drafts haven’t been good, and they’re getting worse

Quinnen Williams about to fulfill a dream and his mother’s last request

Bucs may have inside knowledge on one of draft’s most intriguing prospects

Will Bucs have a chance to catch a falling star? | Translating Jason Licht

Wish fulfilled: Teen battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma will announce Bucs’ first pick

Tampa Bay area draft prospects:

Bruce Anderson, Newsome | Amani Oruwariye, Gaither | Ryan Davis, Lakewood | Byron Cowart, Armwood