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News » Let the competition begin


Let the competition begin


Let the competition begin
On draft's second day, Bucs take players expected to push starters.


By ROY CUMMINGS

rcummings@tampatrib.com

TAMPA - Two dogs, one bone. That's Football parlance for competition and that's what the second day of the NFL draft was all about at One Buc Place.

"Get 'em in the ring and let 'em go at it," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said in summing up the Bucs' objective. "It's time to get it on. It should be interesting."

It had better be. If it's not, the Bucs miscalculated in drafting the likes of Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller, USC defensive end Kyle Moore and Western Michigan cornerback Edjuan Biggers on Sunday.

Those three were the most notable of the five players the Bucs added on the draft's final day and all were brought in to make the players already ahead of them better, if not expendable.

Will the plan work? Only time will tell, of course, but the smiles that Morris and Bucs general manager Mark Dominik were wearing at the end of the day tells you they're convinced it will.

Those smiles were almost as broad as the ones they wore late Saturday after they traded up two spots in the first round to get "franchise" quarterback Josh Freeman, so obviously they feel they're on to something.

"I was really fired up yesterday," Morris said. "Today, walking out after getting a guy like Roy Miller, a guy like Kyle Moore, a guy like Biggers, you got to feel good about that."

The Bucs felt real good about adding offensive tackle Xavier Fulton and receiver Sammie Stroughter, too, but Miller, Moore and Biggers are the three the Bucs are expecting the most from.

Miller is a 6-foot-2, 315-pound weightlifting fiend of a tackle who fills not only the need for a middle of the line run-stuffer but also possesses the quickness necessary to shoot a gap and get to the quarterback.

Moore is a 6-5, 270-pound end who can move inside and get to the quarterback on passing downs, and Biggers is a 6-foot, 180-pound corner who specializes in playing the press coverages the Bucs will employ this year.

"Roy Miller, he's going to play with my two tackles [Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan] and he's going to make those other two guys [Greg Peterson and Dre Moore] compete, show us what they got," Morris said.

"Kyle Moore, he's been at a winning program, USC, and doing a lot of winning, a lot of leading. He's a big, strong, physical presence who's going to come in and compete with Jimmy Wilkerson at left end.

"And Biggers, he's going to come in and compete with Elbert Mack and Ronde [Barber] and Aqib [Talib] and so you feel really good about that. I just think we improved the whole team today."

The Bucs believe they improved their leadership, too. They lost a lot of that by letting Derrick Brooks go earlier in the offseason but they believe they're well on their way to recovering that now.

"A lot of people were concerned about the leadership we lost," Dominik said. "Obviously Raheem and I were concerned about that. But the first two selections we made were team captains, voted on by their [teammates].

"It's important for us to bring leadership in on some of the younger players, too. I think that will show in time. And I think it will show in August that we had a good day today."

It could show in several ways, Dominik said. Though he's got a more difficult road ahead than those taken ahead of him, Stroughter may be the most intriguing pick.

The Oregon State product was pegged as a first-round talent two years ago, but his career was derailed by the depression he went into after losing two male role models and suffering a kidney injury.

"I talked to [fellow Oregon State product] Sabby Piscitelli about him and he was raving about this guy," Morris said. "He's telling me how he can help us, how he can create some excitement inside the slot for us."

Said Dominik of Stroughter: "We expect him to compete and push some of those other receivers that have been on this team for a couple of years now."

No surprise there. After all, that's what this draft was all about.

(CHART) BUCS PICKS

ROUND 1

Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas St.

ROUND 3

Roy Miller, DT, Texas

ROUND 4

Kyle Moore, DE, Southern Cal

ROUND 5

Xavier Fulton, OT, Illinois

ROUND 7

Edjuan Biggers, CB, W. Mich.

Sam Stroughter, WR, Ore. St.

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

Photo credit: University of Texas

Photo: Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller is a weightlifting fiend who also possesses quickness.

Photo credit: University of Texas

Photo: Bucs coach Raheem Morris expects Roy Miller to compete for playing time right away.

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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