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News » BUCS SEE FUTURE


BUCS SEE FUTURE


BUCS SEE FUTURE
Team trades up to get Kansas State QB Freeman with 17th overall pick.


By ROY CUMMINGS

rcummings@tampatrib.com

TAMPA - The Bucs' war room looked more like a museum than a center of strategic planning on Saturday. Up on the walls, encased in glass, were the jerseys of every Buccaneers draft pick who has played in two or more Pro Bowl games.

Someday, Josh Freeman's Bucs jersey will be on that wall. Bucs coach Raheem Morris is certain of it. At least, that is how Morris sounded after the Bucs made the Kansas State quarterback their first pick in Saturday's draft.

Though the selection was roundly panned by Bucs fans, including the hundreds who attended a watch party at the West Club at Raymond James Stadium, Morris believes the Bucs panned a rare nugget.

"Anytime you get a chance to get a guy with a big arm, that's accurate and has talent, that is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds and can stand in the pocket, deliver the ball and be your guy of the future, you go get him," Morris said.

The Bucs definitely went and got Freeman. Fearing that Denver might take him with the 18th pick or Minnesota might trade up to get him, the Bucs traded a sixth-round pick to Cleveland to move up two spots, taking Freeman at 17.

The move left empty a variety of holes on the defensive side of the ball, but the Bucs believe plenty of opportunities remain to fill those. The chance to add a player like Freeman, the team decided, comes too infrequently to pass on.

"Our thought was, you can't have long-term success in this league without a franchise quarterback," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said. "You can't be New England; you can't be Pittsburgh; you can't be Indianapolis."

The pick marked the first time since 1994 (Trent Dilfer) that the Bucs took a quarterback in the first round. Coincidentally, Freeman comes in with pretty much the same credentials as Dilfer.

They are similar in size, have strong arms and throw the ball accurately, scouts said. Both even came out of college as juniors. The difference is that Freeman is joining a Bucs team that is not starving for a quarterback.

The Bucs now have five on their roster, including Luke McCown, who has been promised a chance to start; Byron Leftwich, who recently signed as a free agent; veteran Brian Griese; and Josh Johnson, who was drafted in the fifth round last year.

The situation is one that could bode well for Freeman. The Bucs believe he could spend his first year learning and that the end result could be similar to what San Diego and New England have experienced.

Both of those clubs have recently boasted two starting-caliber quarterbacks (Drew Brees and Philip Rivers in San Diego and Tom Brady and Matt Cassel in New England), with one of them eventually moving on to another team.

"If that happens, great for us," Morris said. "But right now, this is the guy; this is our franchise quarterback; he's the long-term answer, and we're all pretty happy in this room."

The happy ones might have constituted a minority. Most of the fans responding to the news on the Internet reacted negatively. That neither surprised nor shook Dominik.

"I knew it [would be that way]," Dominik said. "I know this town. I've been in this town for 15 years, and I know it's defense, defense, defense. I was raised in it. I believe it. So does Raheem.

"But when you have a chance to get a quarterback like this, you go get him. It was something that was very important to us, something we really felt. We thought, 'Let's really make our mark with this Football team.'"

Morris, who was a defensive coordinator at Kansas State when Freeman arrived there as a freshman, was so sure of making that mark that he said he would have pushed for Freeman even if the Bucs had the first pick overall.

Freeman says he could have justified that, and he believes he will prove to be a better quarterback than Matt Stafford, who was taken first overall by Detroit, and Mark Sanchez, who went fifth to the Jets.

"I feel I have the best arm of the bunch, and the ability to make something happen and extend plays is a big factor," Freeman said . "I'm a big guy, a strong guy, extremely hard to sack. My ability to avoid the sack and make something happen is what I do better than the other two."

(CHART) TODAY'S PICKS

Bucs picks on Day 2 of the NFL draft:

Third 81

Fourth 120

Fifth 155

Seventh 217

Seventh 229

Seventh 233

(CHART) TOP 10 PICKS

No. 1-Lions

Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia

No. 2-Rams

Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

No. 3-Chiefs

Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

No. 4- Seahawks

Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

No. 5-Jets

(from Browns)

Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

No. 6- Bengals

Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

No. 7- Raiders

Darrius

Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

No. 8- Jaguars

Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

No. 9-Packers

B.J. Raji, DT, Boston Col.

No. 10- 49ers

Michael

Crabtree, WR,

Texas Tech

(CHART) MEET Josh Freeman

Round
College: Kansas State Ht./Wt.: 6-5/250

Personal: A business administration major. ? Father, Ron Freeman, played in the United States Football League and was the defensive coordinator while his son was the quarterback at Grandview High in Kansas City, Mo. ? Maintains a blog at

www.imatopprospect.com.

Noteworthy: Started 32 of 35 games in three seasons at Kansas State. ? Holds school records with 8,078 passing yards, 44 passing touchdowns and 59.08 completion percentage. ? Also ran for 20 touchdowns. ? Played in 11 games as a true freshman at Kansas State, starting the final eight games. ? Set school freshman records with 1,780 yards on 140 of 270 passes. ? The only true freshman to lead his team to a bowl game in 2006. ? As a sophomore, started all 12 games and set five school records while totaling 3,353 yards on 316 of 499 passing with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. ? As a junior, started all 12 games and ranked 17th in the nation in total offense (279.1 ypg), with a career-high 20 touchdowns and career-low eight interceptions. ? At Grandview High in Kansas City, Mo., threw for more than 7,000 yards.

He said it: "I plan on coming in and competing. I don't think you play Football unless you want to be the starter, so that's definitely what I'm working for." - QB

Josh Freeman

(CHART) DAY 1 SELECTIONS

ROUND ONE

1. Detroit, Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia.

2. St. Louis, Jason Smith, OT, Baylor.

3. Kansas City, Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU.

4. Seattle, Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest.

5. New York Jets (from Cleveland), Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern Cal.

6. Cincinnati, Andre Smith, OT, Alabama.

7. Oakland, Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland.

8. Jacksonville, Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia.

9. Green Bay, B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College.

10. San Francisco, Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech.

11. Buffalo, Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State.

12. Denver, Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia.

13. Washington, Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas.

14. New Orleans, Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio State.

15. Houston, Brian Cushing, LB, Southern Cal.

16. San Diego, Larry English, LB, Northern Illinois.

17. Tampa Bay (from N.Y. Jets through Cleveland), Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State.

18. Denver (from Chicago), Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee.

19. Philadelphia (from Tampa Bay through Cleveland), Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri.

20. Detroit (from Dallas), Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State.

21. Cleveland (from Philadelphia), Alex Mack, C, California.

22. Minnesota, Percy Harvin, WR, Florida.

23. Baltimore (from New England), Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi.

24. Atlanta, Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi.

25. Miami, Vontae Davis, DB, Illinois.

26. Green Bay (from Baltimore through New England), Clay Matthews, LB, Southern Cal.

27. Indianapolis, Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut.

28. Buffalo (from Carolina through Philadelphia), Eric Wood, C, Louisville.

29. New York Giants, Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina.

30. Tennessee, Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers.

31. Arizona, Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State.

32. Pittsburgh, Evander Hood, DT, Missouri.

ROUND TWO

33. Detroit, Louis Delmas, DB, Western Michigan.

34. New England (from Kansas City), Patrick Chung, DB, Oregon.

35. St. Louis, James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State.

36. Cleveland, Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State.

37. Denver (from Seattle), Alphonso Smith, DB, Wake Forest.

38. Cincinnati, Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern Cal.

39. Jacksonville, Eben Britton, OT, Arizona.

40. New England (from Oakland), Ron Brace, DT, Boston College.

41. New England (from Green Bay), Darius Butler, DB, Connecticut.

42. Buffalo, Jairus Byrd, DB, Oregon.

43. Carolina (from San Francisco), Everette Brown, DE, Florida State.

44. Miami (from Washington), Pat White, QB, West Virginia.

45. New York Giants (from New Orleans), Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia.

46. Houston, Connor Barwin, DE, Cincinnati.

47. Oakland (from San Diego through New England), Michael Mitchell, DB, Ohio.

48. Denver, Darcel McBath, DB, Texas Tech.

49. Seattle (from Chicago), Max Unger, C, Oregon.

50. Cleveland (from Tampa Bay), Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Georgia.

51. Buffalo (from Dallas), Andy Levitre, G, Oregon State.

52. Cleveland (from N.Y. Jets), David Veikune, DE, Hawaii.

53. Philadelphia, LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh.

54. Minnesota, Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma.

55. Atlanta, William Moore, DB, Missouri.

56. Indianapolis (from Miami), Fili Moala, DT, Southern Cal.

57. Baltimore, Paul Kruger, DE, Utah.

58. New England, Sebastian Vollmer, OT, Houston.

59. Carolina, Sherrod Martin, DB, Troy.

60. New York Giants, Will Beatty, OT, Connectitcut.

61. Miami (from Indianapolis), Sean Smith, DB, Utah.

62. Tennessee, Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn.

63. Arizona, Cody Brown, LB, Connecticut.

64. Denver (from Pittsburgh), Richard Quinn, TE, North Carolina.

DAY 1 TRADES

1. Cleveland traded its first-round pick to the New York Jets for the Jets' first- (No. 17) and second-round (No. 52) picks, plus DE Kenyon Coleman, QB Brett Ratliff and DB Abram Elam. New York selected Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern Cal. Cleveland traded (No. 17) to Tampa Bay and selected David Lavitre, G, Oregon State.

2. Cleveland traded its first-round (No. 17) pick to Tampa Bay for the Buccaneers' first- (No. 19) and sixth-round (No. 191) picks. Tampa Bay selected Josh Freeman, Qb, Kansas State. Cleveland traded (No. 19) to Philadelphia and selected (No.191).

3. Cleveland traded its first-round (No. 19) pick to Philadelphia for the Eagles' first- (No. 21) and sixth-round (No. 195) picks. Philadelphia selected Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri. Cleveland selected Alex Mack, C, California and (No. 195).

4. New England traded its first-round (No. 23) pick to Baltimore for the Ravens' first- (No. 26) and fifth-round (No. 162) picks. Baltimore selected Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi. New England traded (No. 26) and (No. 162) to Green Bay.

5. New England traded its first- (No. 26) and fifth-round (No. 162) picks to Green Bay for the Packers' second- (No. 41) and third-round (No. 73 and 83) picks. Green Bay selected Clay Matthews, LB, Southern Cal and (No. 162). New England traded (No. 47) to Oakland and selected (No. 73) and (No. 83).

6. Seattle traded its second-round (No. 37) pick to Denver for the Broncos' 2010 first-round pick. Denver selected Alphonso Smith, DB, Wake Forest.

7. Oakland traded its second- (No. 40) and fifth-round (No. 164) picks to New England for the Patriots' second- (No. 47), fourth- (No. 124) and sixth-round (No. 199) picks. New England selected Ron Brace, DT, Boston College. Oakland selected Michael Mitchell, DB, Ohio, (No. 124) and (No. 199).

8. San Francisco traded its second- (No. 43) and fourth-round (No. 111) picks to Carolina for the Panthers' 2010 first-round pick. Carolina selected Everette Brown, DT, Florida State and (No. 111).

9. Chicago traded its second-round (No. 49) pick to Seattle for the Seahawks' third- (No. 68) and fourth-round (No. 105) picks. Seattle selected Max Unger, C, Oregon. Chicago selected (No. 68) and (No. 105).

10. Dallas traded its second-round (No. 51) pick to Buffalo for the Bills' third- (No. 75) and fourth-round (No. 110) picks. Buffalo selected Andy Levitre, G, Oregon State. Dallas selected (No. 75) and (No. 110).

11. Miami traded its second-round (No. 56) pick to Indianapolis for the Colts' second- (No. 61) and fifth-round (No. 165) picks. Indianapolis selected Fili Moala, DT, Southern Cal. Miami selected Sean Smith, DB, Utah and (No. 165).

12. Pittsburgh traded its second- (No. 64) and fourth-round (No. 132) picks to Denver for the Broncos' third-round (Nos. 79 and 84) picks. Denver selected Richard Quinn, TE, North Carolina and (No. 132). Pittsburgh selected (No. 79) and (No. 84).

Reporter Roy Cummings can be reached at (813) 259-7979.

Photo: Matt Stafford

Photo: Jason Smith

Photo: Tyson Jackson

Photo: Aaron Curry

Photo: Mark Sanchez

Photo: Andre Smith

Photo: Darrius Heyward-Bey

Photo: Eugene Monroe

Photo: B.J. Raji

Photo: Michael Crabtree

Photo: Baylor's Jason Smith was taken by St. Louis with the No. 2 pick.

Photo: Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin was taken by the Eagles at No. 19.

Photo: Josh Freeman

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo: Josh Freeman, posing with family and friends, believes he can be better than the two quarterbacks taken ahead of him Saturday.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo: The Bucs moved up two spots to take Kansas State's Josh Freeman, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound quarterback.

Copyright ? 2009, The Tampa Tribune and may not be republished without permission. E-mail library@tampatrib.com



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 29, 2009

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