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Bucs trade up to select Central Michigan guard Luke Goedeke

And with their final pick of Day 2, Tampa Bay selects a pass-catching running back in Arizona State’s Rachaad White.
Central Michigan offensive lineman Luke Goedeke, a former Division III walk-on, was taken by the Bucs with the 57th overall pick Friday night.
Central Michigan offensive lineman Luke Goedeke, a former Division III walk-on, was taken by the Bucs with the 57th overall pick Friday night. [ MICHAEL CONROY | Associated Press ]
Published Apr. 30|Updated Apr. 30

TAMPA — In an effort to continue replenishing their depth at guard, the Bucs opted for a pick far more surly than sexy late in the second round Friday, choosing Central Michigan guard Luke Goedeke.

The team traded up three spots — from No. 60 to 57 — to land Goedeke (pronounced GED-uh-key), sending the Bills the sixth-round pick they acquired Thursday night from Jacksonville.

“I grew up in Wisconsin obviously, so I had to root for the Packers somewhat,” Goedeke, 23, told reporters in a Zoom interview shortly after being selected. “But to be honest with you, I liked the Patriots more because of Tom Brady.

“This is like a dream come true for me.”

A self-proclaimed “glass eater” who played tight end as a walk-on at Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Goedeke (6-foot-5, 312 pounds) helps address a need created when Pro Bowl left guard Ali Marpet retired in February at age 28 and free-agent right guard Alex Cappa signed with the Bengals.

“He’s a character, now,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “He’s all football; I think his hobbies are weightlifting, and it stops there. Maybe driving tractors.

“He’s a very good athlete. He’s all business, a very smart player, got a big upside. We’re going to put him in there at guard and let him compete there, but he could also play right tackle.”

With their third-round pick (91st overall) later Friday, the Bucs added to their stable of running backs by selecting Arizona State’s Rachaad White. The addition of a blocker and backfield component for Brady, coupled with the selection of rangy Houston defensive tackle Logan Hall with the second round’s first pick, capped what Licht called a gratifying evening.

The Bucs have four selections over the final four rounds, including the initial pick of the fourth round Saturday around noon.

“I think every year I stand up here and say you’ll never hear a GM say, ‘I think we had a terrible night,’” Licht said. “But we all feel very, very good. I feel like cracking a beer, so that’s a good sign.”

The 6-foot-1 White took a hard road to the NFL. He began his career at Nebraska-Kearney, then played at Mt. San Antonio College, a junior college in Los Angeles. As a senior, White rushed for 1,006 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 43 passes for 456 yards and a score.

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards compared White’s running style and pass catching abilities to Marcus Allen.

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“He’s a really good football player,” Edwards said. “I know Marcus. We’re really good friends. (White) can catch it, he’s a good blocker. He’s a slasher as a runner.

Rachaad White of Arizona State is a running back who can also catch the ball. We know one quarterback who should be happy about that.
Rachaad White of Arizona State is a running back who can also catch the ball. We know one quarterback who should be happy about that. [ BUTCH DILL | Associated Press ]

“Tom (Brady) is going to like him. He can catch the football. Tell Tom he got my guy.”

White, who has an 8-month-old daughter, said he met three times with the Bucs this offseason.

“Honestly, I would just say it’s a blessing and a dream come true,” White said.

“I’m a guy that’s very hungry and humble. ... I feel like I bring a lot of good playmaking. Catching the ball out of the backfield and doing my job. Doing whatever I can to help the team win.”

A first-team all-MAC selection as a right tackle in 2021, Goedeke’s improbable collegiate odyssey almost never commenced. He played through a painful shoulder injury his senior year at Wisconsin’s tiny Valders High, which he joked was so small it had a “bring your tractor to school day.”

Unrecruited and undersized (around 220 pounds), he walked on at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, catching 12 passes in his lone season.

“It’s taken hours upon hours of commitment,” said Goedeke, who played for former Gators coach Jim McElwain at Central Michigan.

“I feel like my work ethic is second to none. I mean, I started out at a D-III school. I had no recruitment process out of high school. So I just had to find a way at the end of the day and just busted my tail and ended up sending a clip, or made a cut-up of myself asking for a walk-on opportunity from Central Michigan.

“They had me out there for a tour and at the end of it, they ended up offering me a full scholarship.”

He arrived at Central Michigan — college home of Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting — in 2018, redshirting his first year while eating up to seven meals a day to put on weight. He started 14 games the following year, but missed the 2020 season due to a knee injury.

He’s noted as a ruthless run blocker with a nasty onfield demeanor, posting the nation’s sixth-best overall blocking grade (92.2) among tackles last season, according to Pro Football Focus. NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks described Goedeke as “a rock ’em, sock ’em robot at the point of attack.”

“I really see myself as a guy who’s a mean, nasty and relentless guy out there on the field,” Goedeke said. “I’m always looking to bury guys and just put fear into their eyes.”

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