TAMPA — Perhaps now we know why the Bucs haven’t re-signed Ndamukong Suh.
Wanting to get younger at defensive tackle, they selected Houston’s Logan Hall with the 33rd pick Friday on Day 2 of the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-6, 283-pound Hall had 6½ sacks and 13½ tackles for loss last season. He should be a perfect partner for defensive tackle Vita Vea in new coach Todd Bowles’ defense.
“He’s going to do quite a few things, but his primary position is going to be the 3-technique (lining up on the outside shoulder of the offensive guard),” Bowles said.
The Bucs spent nearly 20 hours mulling over their decision to select Hall. On Thursday, Tampa Bay traded its first-round pick (27th overall) to Jacksonville for the Jaguars’ first pick in the second (33rd), fourth (106th) and sixth rounds (180th).
Bowles said the Bucs listened to several offers to trade down again in the second round, but Hall was the only player remaining they would have taken at 27.
Hall is still developing. He turned 22 a week ago. When he arrived at Houston, he weighed only 220 pounds, and Bowles expects him to continue to grow physically and as a player.
“Very excited to get him at (No.) 33,” Bowles said. “He’s one of the guys we targeted at 27. Explosive off the football. Very good 3-technique. Long frame. Long arms. Very strong. Probably going to grow even more. …
“Next year, he’ll be at least 295, 300 (pounds). Love the way he plays the game. He gets after it. He makes a bunch of plays, but when the ball is away from him, he chases the football. Everything we want in a Buc.”
One local team is pretty familiar with Hall, who had six tackles (five solo) in the Cougars’ 54-42 win over USF last year.
“I remember he was a big problem for us. Long, and great combination of speed and power,” USF coach Jeff Scott said.
Hall said he models his game after 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who is 6-7 and 280 pounds.
“We’re kind of similar in our build and the way we play, our playing style,” Hall said. “(Colts defensive tackle) DeForest Buckner as well. … Just big, long guys that play in the interior and are versatile and have some success with it. Those are guys I really enjoy watching and try to model my game after.”
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Hall was among the 30 players who visited with the Bucs at the AdventHealth Training Center.
He met up with Bucs linebacker Grant Stuard, a former Cougars teammate who was taken with the final pick of the draft a year ago.
He said he didn’t get to meet quarterback Tom Brady but made it a point to find his locker.
“Man, I’m so fired up, you have no idea,” Hall said. “I’ve been watching that guy play my entire life. … I got to see his locker, and I was standing there, and it was unreal. Getting to meet him in person and learn things from him, I’m really fired up.”
Bucs general manager Jason Licht said Hall’s versatility was a key.
“With Logan, we think he can play the 5-, the 4- and the 3-technique,’' Licht said. “We think he rushes very well inside, and that’s what probably peaked our interest the most, his value in the passing game as a 3-technique. He’s got a lot of natural ability. He’s got a lot of room for improvement. I would say his rushing skills from the inside is what we liked the most.”
Soft-spoken off the field, Hall said he brings a bully mentality on it.
“I think I’m a nice guy, too, but when I get on the field, I flip that switch,” he said. “You’ve got to have a different mentality living inside those trenches. … (I definitely) try to finish people.”
Bowles was diplomatic when asked what effect the selection of Hall would have on the effort to re-sign Suh, who is 35 and has averaged $9 million a year in salary during his three seasons with the Bucs.
Aside from a two-game suspension (for stomping on the arm of Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith) in 2011, Suh has never missed a game in his 12 NFL seasons. But in the past three years, he has played 77 percent, 74 percent and 63 percent of the defensive reps.
“We like depth. We play a lot of people down there, platoon a lot of people,” Bowles said. “So (the signing) will have no bearing on the other guys.
“I think probably the other guys in the room will manage (Hall) just well, and if Suh were to come back, I’m sure he’d fit in great, too. Right now, the guys on the team (that Hall) is going to be mentored by, that’s good enough.”
But so far, the Bucs say they’re not ruling out a return from Suh.
“We’re not shutting the door on that,” Licht said. “There’s a lot of injuries that happen throughout the year, and we’re not putting all our stock in the guys we have right now.’'
Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.
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