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The Answer Man, Series 7, Volume 6

Posted Apr 24, 2011

The Buc fans’ inside man returns for a quick pre-draft throwdown on such topics as small-school draftees and double-DE draft classes


Look, the 2011 NFL Draft is just around the corner.

 

What the Answer Man is saying (in annoying third-person) is that he’s awfully busy right now.  No, I’m not helping with the actual scouting and ranking of prospects; I think I’ve made it clear before that I don’t quite traffic in that inner-circle material.  But there are lots of little bits of logistics that go into draft planning, and the Answer Man pitches in where he can.

 

Think about it: On TV it sorta looks like the whole draft is going down in NYC.  And that is where all the picks are officially announced.  But if the draft had a brain, that brain would be more like the “cloud” that one computer company is always doing commercials about.  There is no cerebral cortex here; it’s a bunch of nodes all working information on their own and then sending it to a central location – that is, each team’s draft room at their own headquarters around the country.  To make sure that works out, and all the nodes accurately and promptly deliver their information during the hectic 15 or so hours of the draft, there is a lot of set-up involved.

 

I’m trying to help with that.  So what I’m trying to say in my usual long-winded way is that this is going to be sort of a quick one.  Apologies to those who have sent in good questions that will have to wait a few more weeks.  I got to a handful below; hopefully that will keep everyone satisfied until a week or two after the draft.

 

Just to prove I’m not mailing it in, I wanted to base the intro around another little bit of draft history research, like I did in my last column with the look into draft classes that were dominated at the top by either offensive or defensive players.  Then my good buddies here at Buccaneers.com go and post this story all about little draft tidbits – Pro Bowlers drafted, first-round trade history, NCAA conference preferences, et cetera – and I’m all like, “What’s left?”  Jerks.  (Just kidding, guys.)

 

So here I am trying to think of any angle we haven’t touched on yet, in terms of Buccaneers draft history.  I started poring over some recent mock draft efforts and noticed that a few analysts think the Bucs will pick a cornerback at #20 overall.  That just happens to be the highest pick number that the team has ever taken a cornerback, just three years ago when Aqib Talib was the choice.  Another mock I saw had us gunning for an offensive tackle, and I know we’ve gone as high as #4 overall on that one (Paul Gruber, 1988…an awesome pick).

 

And, bingo, there’s my intro idea.  What’s the highest overall selection at which the Buccaneers have taken each position on the team.  Heck, let’s go with the three highest at each position, just to make it a little bit of work.

 

By each player you’ll see their overall pick number (it’s not always in the first round) and the year they were selected:

 

* Quarterback: 1) Vinny Testaverde, 1, 1997; 2) Trent Dilfer, 7, 1994; 3t) Doug Williams, 17, 1978; 3t) Josh Freeman, 17, 2009.

* Running Back: 1) Ricky Bell, 1, 1977; 2) Bo Jackson, 1, 1996; 3) Cadillac Williams, 5, 2005.

* Wide Receiver: 1) Michael Clayton, 15, 2004; 2) Reidel Anthony, 16, 1997); 3) Danny Peebles, 33, 1989.

* Tight End: 1) Harold Bishop, 69, 1994; 2) Alex Smith, 71, 2005; 3) Jerry Bell, 74, 1982.

* Offensive Tackle: 1) Paul Gruber, 4, 1998; 2) Charles McRae, 7, 1991; 3) Kenyatta Walker, 14, 2001.

* Guard: 1) Sean Farrell, 1982; 2) Ray Snell, 22, 1980; 3) Davin Joseph, 23, 2006.

* Center: 1) Randy Grimes, 45, 1983; 2) Todd Washington, 104, 1998; 3) Tony Mayberry, 108, 1990.

* Defensive Tackle: 1) Gerald McCoy, 3, 2010; 2) Warren Sapp, 12, 1995; 3) Anthony McFarland, 15, 1999.

* Defensive End: 1) Lee Roy Selmon, 1, 1976; 2) Gaines Adams, 4, 2007; 3) Eric Curry, 6, 1993.

* Linebacker: 1) Keith McCants, 4, 1990; 2) Broderick Thomas, 6, 1989; 3) Hugh Green, 7, 1981.

* Cornerback: 1) Aqib Talib, 20, 2008; 2) Rod Jones, 25, 1996; 3) Ricky Reynolds, 36, 1987.

* Safety: 1) Melvin Johnson, 43, 1995; 2) Sabby Piscitelli, 64, 2007; 3) John Lynch, 82, 1993.

* Kicker: 1) Martin Gramatica, 80, 1999; 2) Daron Alcorn, 224, 1993; 3) Greg Davis, 246, 1987.

* Punter:  1) Monte Robbins, 107, 1988; 2) Chris Mohr, 146, 1989; 3) Brent Bowden, 172, 2010.

 

So, that was fun.  You can see that the franchise has very rarely gone early on tight ends or safeties, but has frequently spent very high picks on linemen.  Now, on to your questions…

 

**

 

1. Jake Doermann of Gainesville, Florida asks:

Alright Answer Hombre, I’ve got a pregunta for you that will hopefully strain your supposedly cosmic mind.  It’s not going to be some walk in the park like all these other questions you’ve been filling space with lately.  I don’t think you’ll even take my question, but if you can handle it, then maybe I’ll send in another one that’s really hard.  I think you need the challenge cuz you’re getting soft.  Okay, here it is.  I remember a few years back the Bucs drafted a receiver out of a community college, can’t think of his name right now.  My question is, is that the smallest school that has ever had a Bucs’ draft pick?  If not, what is?  And what’s the best small school pick the Bucs have ever made?  I’ll let you define small school however you want.  Can you handle it?

 

Answer Man: Are you serious?!

 

/cocks head to left, points with thumb back to right.

 

Is this guy serious over here?

 

If you’re going to talk tough, at least come with an actually difficult question.  The only real hard part here is deciding how to define “small-school.”  Are we talking Division I-AA (or whatever they’re calling it these days) or lower?  There are a lot of those to choose among in Buccaneers drafting history, from Azusa Pacific to William & Mary.  How about we just say the size of the student body…and of course we’ll have to use current numbers for that since I don’t think I can find the enrollment numbers at Drake in 1980 (S Derrick Goddard, 8th-tround pick in 1980…boom!).

 

Yeah, this one’s going to take some time, but it’s not really that intellectually taxing.  Besides I just had a supercomputer installed in the my lair.  Figured it was about time I got one…tools of the trade, you know.

 

So I'll just feed in the parameters of the search, kick back with my feet up on the desk, listen to the beeps and whirs and wait to see what my new Commodore 64,000 spits out.

 

While we wait, let me refresh the part of your memory that was lacking when you wrote your question, Jake.  The receiver you're referring to is Larry Brackins, the second of two fifth-round picks the Bucs made in 2005 (the first was Oklahoma safety Donte Nicholson).  Brackins was drafted out of Pearl River Community College based on the potential scouts saw in his speed, size and other measurables.  It didn't really work out.  Brackins went to camp with the Bucs in 2005 and 2006 but didn't make the regular-season roster either time.  He has since played with the Philadelphia Soul (for whom he is expected to play again in 2011) and the Dallas Vigilantes of the Arena League and the California Redwoods of the UFL, and he got another shot in the NFL with the Jets in 2008, without luck.

 

Of course, it's not unusual for players who start at community colleges to end up in the NFL, but they usually bridge the gap with a few seasons at a four-year university.  That's why it was one of the more unusual picks the Bucs have made when they took Brackins straight out of Pearl River in '05.

 

However, according to what my supercomputer just kicked out, Pearl River C.C. is not the smallest school that has ever produced a Buccaneer draft selection.  Again, that's if we are judging simply by student enrollment.  Pearl River's web site indicates that it has approximately 5,500 students (all of these enrollment numbers are going to be approximate).  That doesn't even put it in the top five on our list of small school draft origins.

 

Here are five smallest schools that have produced a Buccaneer draft pick, as ranked by current size of the student body:

 

College

Enrollment

Buc Draftee

Lenoir Rhyne

1,900

WR Chip Sheffield, 12th round, 1977

Washington and Lee

2,200

QB Jack Berry, 17th round, 1976

Colgate

2,800

QB Steve Calabria, 9th round, 1985

Citadel

3,300

K Greg Davis, 9th round, 1987

Minot State

3,400

QB Randy Hedberg, 8th round, 1977

 

Now, I'm sure you've noticed that this isn't a very contemporary list.  The most recent pick in that top five was in 1987, and three of them are from the team's first two drafts.  There's a very good reason for this: The draft used to be much longer.

 

When the Bucs participated in their first college draft in 1976, it was an amazing 17 rounds long.  Berry, now a member of the sports Hall of Fame at his alma mater of Washington and Lee, was drafted 460th overall by Tampa Bay, still the latest draft pick the franchise has ever made.  The draft held at 12 rounds long from 1977 through 1992 before going to eight in 1993 and the current format of seven in 1994.  With all those extra rounds, teams had more and more expendable picks to take fliers on small-school players.  It's not that these prospects wouldn't have gotten a look in today's NFL, with a shorter draft, they just would have been signed as undrafted free agents.  In recent years, the Bucs have signed rookie free agents from such schools as Florida International, Richmond, Harvard, Youngstown State, Florida Atlantic and Stillwater.

 

I'm sure you've also noticed that the list of names above isn't particularly recognizable, even to long-time Buccaneer fans.  Hedberg is the only one of the five who ever played in a regular-season game as a Buccaneer, and his Tampa Bay career consisted of seven games and four very rough starts.  (I think I've mentioned this before, but Hedberg is now back at his alma mater as Minot State's athletic director.)

 

Greg Davis did make it in the NFL as a kicker, but not as a Buccaneer.  That's not at all unusual, of course.  Kickers often need several cracks at it before they land a somewhat permanent gig in the NFL.  Davis first made it with the Atlanta Falcons in 1987 and eventually played for Atlanta, New England, Arizona, Minnesota, San Diego and Oakland.  His Arizona days were his longest and most successful and he finished his career with 169 games played and 224 field goals made.

 

As for the best small-school pick in Buccaneer history, the Answer Man has to go with the team's all-time leading receiver, Mark Carrier.

 

You did say that I could define small school however I want, and I think Carrier's college, Nicholls State, fits the bill.  The Colonels play in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision), not in the FBS with the big boys, and the school's enrollment is around 7,000.

 

Now, it is a good program, and it does produce draft picks on more than an occasional basis.  The Colonels had a player drafted in 2009 (DB Lardarius Webb), 2008 (DB Kareem Moore), 2007 (T Jacob Bender) and 20044 (DB Chris Thompson).  Webb and Moore have both done well with their NFL teams (Baltimore and Washington, respectively) and the Nicholls State alumni list also includes DB Darryl Pounds, WR Dwight Walker and DB Gary Barbaro, all accomplished NFL players.

 

Still, Carrier was a small-school pick by the Buccaneers, and an excellent one.  Taken 57th overall in the third round in 1987 – and thus in line to become a favorite target of 1987 number-one-overall pick Vinny Testaverde – Carrier blossomed into a Pro Bowl player by 1989.  He set the still-standing team record of 1,422 receiving yards that year and became the first Buccaneer receiver ever invited to the all-star game.  Running back James Wilder has the most catches in team history, with 430 to Carrier's 321, but Carrier's 5,018 receiving yards is tops in team annals.

 

Other small-school picks of note by the Buccaneers (school’s approximate current enrollment in parentheses):

 

  • DE John Cannon, William & Mary (12,300), 3rd round, 1982…The Bucs took two small-school ends in both the second and third round in ’82, and Cannon’s steady success helped ease the pain of missing badly with Bethune-Cookman’s Booker Reese in the second round.  Cannon played nine seasons, appeared in 122 games with 72 starts and compiled 22 sacks.
  • QB Josh Johnson, San Diego (7,800), 5th round, 2008…It might be too early to call this an unqualified success since Johnson hasn’t played extensively yet.  However, the Bucs obviously feel very confident that Johnson is at least a strong NFL reserve, and there is belief in NFL circles that his ceiling could be even higher.
  • C Jim Leonard, Santa Clara (8,900), 7th round, 1980…Leonard gave the Bucs good depth at center, guard and tackle for four seasons, playing in 56 games and starting nine.  He then left for the USFL.
  • LB Andy Hawkins, Texas A&M-Kingsville (6,600), 10th-round, 1980…Hawkins was an immediate hit on special teams as a rookie and eventually a pretty valuable starter in a strong Bucs LB corps.  Played in 47 games and started 27, 21 of them for the two playoff teams of 1981 and 1982.

 

By the way, the Bucs have drafted four players from Texas A&M-Kingsville, which was actually known as Texas A&I when Hawkins was picked.  One of those went on to be a very good NFL player…unfortunately not with the Buccaneers.  That would be cornerback Al Harris, a sixth-round pick in 1997.  Harris spent his rookie season on the Bucs’ practice squad but was cut in 1998 and landed in Philly.  He had five fine years for the Eagles and another seven in Green Bay and has 21 career interceptions.

 

Buccaneer scouts were all over Kingsville in the mid-90s.  The team drafted defensive end Jeffrey Rodgers out of the Javelinas’ program in 1995, though that didn’t work out.  However, undrafted free agents Karl Williams and Jorge Diaz were much better finds the next year.  Williams is the franchise’s all-time punt return leader and the owner of five of the team’s 11 punt return touchdowns.  Diaz played in 52 games with 45 starts on the offensive line over four years.

 

**

 

2. Bernard Lombardi of Louisville, Colorado says:

Thank you for including my comments on Brian Griese and second-year quarterbacks in the NFL. The inclusion of several QBs in their second year starting but not their second year in the league was somewhat misleading and threw me off. My "anti Bucs rant" that you redacted from my comments was merely to point out that the general manager breached Griese's contract and sent him into free agency for the 2006 season. This is a fact. The team record for the 2006 season was 4-12. This is a fact. I offer and don't really know why the team did this. I only point out these facts and conclude that inexperience at the QB Position in 2006 was a contributing cause of the won/loss turnabout from 2005. The Bucs are one of my favorite teams and I WISH THEM SUCCESS IN 2011. This will be my last post. Thank you for your time.

 

Answer Man: No, thank you, Bernard.  And I mean it.

 

Other readers, if you missed any of my previous exchange with our friend from Colorado, here's a summary: Three columns ago, I answered a question regarding quarterbacks in their "sophomore" NFL seasons, as Josh Freeman was last year.  In the process, I printed a chart that listed all NFL quarterbacks who had played at least 10 seasons and had a career passer rating of 80.0 or better, and then looked at what each one did in his second NFL season.

 

Brian Griese, who played with the Buccaneers from 2004-05 and again in 2008, was one of the quarterbacks on that list.  In his second season with the Broncos, he started 13 games, threw for 3,032 yards and had a passer rating of 75.6.

 

There's nothing wrong with those numbers, of course.  For example, here are some of the other prominent quarterbacks on that list who did less/worse in their second NFL seasons: Steve Young, Roger Staubach, Brad Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts.  ET CETERA.

 

Two columns ago, I started off by printing a reaction I got to that chart from Mr. Lombardi, who is named quite appropriately for a football fan, isn’t he?  The disagreement between Bernard and I arose because, as he says above, I did not do a good enough job of explaining the chart's contents.  The list referred to each quarterback's second season in the NFL, not his second season as a starter in the NFL.  Bernard correctly remembered that Griese's second year as a starter – his third overall in the NFL – was phenomenal, with a passer rating of 102.9 and a Pro Bowl nod.

 

In my defense, after I printed Bernard's e-mail at the top of gloated for awhile about not having to eat crow for once, I did fess up to helping create the problem by not being clear with my parameters.  Also in my defense, I never said anything negative about Brian Griese.  He was one of several dozen quarterbacks in a chart with their second-year NFL stats by their names.  Four columns ago, Griese’s name popped up again in a Freeman analysis, and he was singled out for how huge of a jump his passer rating made from his second year to his third.

 

As Bernard also accurately points, the part of his original e-mail I redacted was aimed at former Buccaneer general managers and their decision-making regarding Griese’s first stay in Tampa.  It wasn’t anything awful, just a fan sharing his opinion, but I just didn’t feel like having it my column.  And it is my column.  Anyway, I left it in this time, so Bernard gets a chance to get his point across and I can add some detail.

 

In March of 2004, the Buccaneers signed Griese after he had spent one season in Miami (he was with Denver, his original team, from 1998-2002).  At the time, the Bucs still had Brad Johnson, who had led the team to a Super Bowl in 2002 and was the obvious starter heading into 2004.  They also had young Chris Simms, who had been drafted in 2003 but hadn’t played as a rookie.

 

Johnson struggled to start the 2004 season and the Bucs started out 0-4.  The coaching staff decided to give Simms a chance in Game Five at New Orleans, but he suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the first quarter after throwing just eight passes.  Griese came on to relieve Simms and was outstanding, completing 16 of 19 passes for 194 yards, one TD and no interceptions and leading the Bucs to their first win of the year.  Griese held onto the starting job the rest of the year (except for the season finale in Arizona) and compiled a team-record 97.5 passer rating.

 

As such, Griese opened the 2005 season as the starter, too, and helped the Bucs get off to a 4-0 start.  After a tough loss to the Jets in New York, the Bucs came back home to beat Miami in Week Six and go to 5-1…but Griese was lost to a season-ending knee injury about halfway through.  This time around, it was Simms who came in to replace Griese, and he too ran with it, starting the rest of the year and leading the Bucs to an 11-5 record and the NFC South title.

 

So there you have it as the 2006 offseason begins.  The young quarterback you drafted with thoughts of grooming him into the long-term starter had looked good the previous year.  Griese was coming off a season-ending injury.  So it really wasn’t a huge surprise that the Buccaneers released the veteran quarterback (I’m not sure what you mean by “breached” the contract, Bernard), just as Denver had in the summer of 2003 and Miami had in March of 2004.

 

It didn’t work out as hoped for the Buccaneers, as Bernard alludes to.  The Bucs started out 0-4 in 2006 and Simms suffered a spleen injury in the third game that ended his season.  The team had to turn to rookie sixth-round pick Bruce Gradkowski for much of the season, and while Gradkowski acquitted himself fairly well considering the circumstances it’s fair to say that situation contributed to the Bucs’ 4-12 season.

 

Griese signed with the Chicago Bears but didn’t play a lot in 2006.  He did start six games in 2007 and reasonably well, but before 2008 the Bears traded him…to the Buccaneers!  Under the same management that had made the decision to release him in 2006.  Obviously, the Buccaneers weren’t ever really down on Griese.  In fact, it’s fair to say that no other team believed in his potential as much as the Buccaneers following his five years in Denver.

 

Anyway, I wanted to print Bernard’s reply so we could get that all out there.  It seems that Bernard appreciates Griese’s career and is willing to stick up for him, and it’s not hard to see why.  Plus, he’s clearly a Buccaneers fan, too, and we all need to stick together.  The only thing about his whole second letter that I didn’t like was the last second-to-last sentence: “This will be my last post.”

 

No, Bernard, say it isn’t so!  The Answer Man values your input, and wants any more questions that you might have down the road.  Give me another chance and I’ll do my best, from one Bucs fan to another.

 

**

 

3. Darian of Some Undetermined Town in North Carolina asks:

Last draft the Bucs took McCoy and Price with their 1st two picks. Is it possible that this year they take defensive ends with the 1st two picks? And how much success did the team that took two DEs last have?

 

Answer Man: Is it possible?  Of course it’s possible.  This is supposedly a deep group of defensive ends, so one could certainly imagine an intriguing prospect being available to the Buccaneers at both pick #20 and pick #51.  That’s essentially what happened last year with Gerald McCoy at #3 and Brian Price at #35 – McCoy was a no-brainer early on and Price was just too good to pass up when he was still available at the top of the second.

 

Will it happen?  I don’t know, and I won’t speculate.  That’s just not my gig.  It’s the same answer as always: I am not really privy to that level of inside information and even if I was it would be foolish, from a job-security standpoint, to share it.  We don’t have long to wait now, anyway.

 

Now, I can address the end of your question, however.

 

I think I discussed this topic briefly in one of my recent videos.  I’m still getting used to that part of the job, so I don’t have a specific link for you.  However, I remember that the Jacksonville Jaguars were the most recent team to pick defensive ends back-to-back to start a draft, and I recall that it wasn’t an incredibly rare thing.

 

Well, maybe it wasn’t quite as common as I thought.  I’ve now done the full research and I’ve found 11 occasions since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger in which a team began its draft by taking two consecutive defensive ends.  Keep in mind, this wasn’t always a first round/second round thing; sometimes both picks were in the first round, sometimes neither.  The only criteria in my search was that both of a team’s first two picks were defensive ends.


I should also point out that I relied on the draft records to determine whether a player was classified as a defensive end or not.  It’s obviously common for a team to draft a player who was a DE in college and make him, technically, a linebacker in a 3-4 system, but I don’t really have the time or desire to research every front-seven player drafted in the last three decades.  If it says DE by his name, he’s a DE in terms of draft history.

 

So here are the 11 DE pairs I found, working chronologically backward (in parentheses is the round and overall pick of each player):

 

1. 2008 Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Harvey (1-8) and Quentin Groves (2-52).

 

Well, that one may be a bit too early to call.  Harvey and Groves have combined for just 10.5 sacks in their three seasons, and Groves isn’t even in Jacksonville anymore.  Maybe we won’t pass judgment yet, but I think this says a lot: Just two years later, last spring, the Jaguars spent their first four picks on more defensive linemen, and signed free agent DE Aaron Kampman.

 

2. 2007 Denver Broncos: Jarvis Moss (1-17) and Tim Crowder (2-56).

 

Obviously, the Answer Man thinks Tim Crowder is a valuable NFL linemen, but since he’s been with the Buccaneers the past two seasons that means he didn’t stay long in Denver.  Moss started just one game during his three-plus years in Colorado and is also now with Oakland.  It’s fair to say this DE-DE start didn’t work out for the Broncos, though the individual players might end up with good, long careers.  Crowder has played well for the Buccaneers.

 

3. 2005 Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware (1-11) and Marcus Spears (1-20).

 

Well, this is a home run.  I think we could say that even if Spears never did much of anything, because Ware is essentially the most productive sack man in the NFL.  Ware has already collected a stunning 80 sacks in his six seasons and shows no signs of slowing down.  Spears hasn’t been the same caliber of pass-rusher, with eight career sacks so far, but he started almost all of Dallas’ games during his first five seasons before missing last year due to injury.

 

4. 1994 Houston Oilers: Henry Ford (1-26) and Jeremy Nunley (2-60).

 

Ford had a nice 10-year career, about half of it as a starter and all but the last year with the Oilers/Titans. He had 24 career sacks.  Nunley, on the other hand, played just one year and had no starts for the Oilers.

 

5. 1991 Phoenix Cardinals: Eric Swann (1-6) and Mike Jones (2-32).

 

Swann was famous for being the extremely rare case of a drafted player who did not play college football.  His pro career was decent, with 127 games, 86 starts and 46.5 sacks, all but the last year with the Cardinals.  Jones had one season as a starter in Arizona but played more extensively in New England and eventually tallied 135 games, 75 starts and 27.5 sacks.  No stars here, but not bad.

 

6. 1979 Houston Oilers: Mike Stensrud (2-31) and Jesse Baker (2-50).

 

This is one of just two pairs on the list where neither player was a first-round pick.  Stensrud really played more nose tackle than end and was a solid NFL player for 10 years, seven of them in Houston.  Baker’s career took a few years to get going, but then he had a four-season stretch in Houston in which he racked up 29.5 of his 35 career sacks.  A pretty effective pair of draft choices.

 

7. 1979 New York Jets: Marty Lyons (2-29) and Mark Gastineau (2-41).

 

In this case, the second-round pick eventually outshined the first-rounder.  Not that Lyons was bad – he played 11 seasons in New York, was a starter most of the way and was good for three or four sacks a season.  He also played both end and tackle for the Jets.  Gastineau, however, developed into a superstar, making five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams.  He set the since-broken NFL record with 22 sacks in 1984 and in the three years from 1983-85 got to the QB an astounding 54.5 times.  Between the Jets and the Oilers, this was an awfully good year to stock up on ends early in the draft.

 

8. 1978 Kansas City Chiefs: Art Still (1-2) and Sylvester Hicks (2-29).

 

Still is the highest drafted of the 22 players in these pairs, second overall, and other than Ware perhaps the most accomplished, too.  His sack total of 48.5 is a bit misleading because that stat wasn’t kept until 1982, but he made it to four Pro Bowls and is considered one of the best players in Chiefs history.  Hicks, on the other hand, had a brief four-year run in K.C., starting just 13 games.

 

9. 1977 Green Bay Packers: Mike Butler (1-9) and Ezra Johnson (1-28).

 

It gets a bit harder to judge these ends as we go back into the ‘70s, thanks to the lack of stats sacks.  Butler’s career wasn’t long – seven seasons – but he was the Packers’ starter at LDE for most of that time.  Johnson played a lot longer – over twice as long, in fact, with 15 seasons, 11 of them in Green Bay – and racked up a lot more stats.  He played so far past 1982 that he is credited with 55.5 sacks, 41.5 as a Packer.  It was surely a lot more than that.  He also appeared in one Pro Bowl.  Looks like a good move for the Packers to go with Johnson even after getting Butler ninth overall.

 

10. 1973 New Orleans Saints: Derland Moore (2-29) and Steve Baumgartner (2-51).

 

Moore actually spent a good portion of his career at tackle, but even in his 11th year, 1983, he was good for six sacks.  He played in 171 games and started 146, all but the last season in New Orleans, so that seems like pretty good value for a second-round pick.  This is our other pair of non-first-rounders on the list, and it’s another decent duo, though Baumgartner wasn’t as good of a find as Moore.  Baumgartner played eight NFL seasons, but only five in New Orleans and only two as a starter.

 

11. 1972 Detroit Lions: Herb Orvis (1-16) and Ken Sanders (3-65).

 

Orvis is another lineman who spent most of his career on the inside, but he was a starter for most of his 10-year career.  In six Detroit seasons he played in 72 games and started 60.  Sanders was a starter, too, at least for the majority of his eight years in Detroit.  Sanders is the only third-round pick on this list and he proved to be good value at that spot.

 

Overall, that’s a pretty strong list.  The majority of the duos produced at least one long-time starter, and in several cases the drafting team really solidified its line for the next decade or so.

 

**

 

Okay, here are a few quickies to finish us off.  As always, these are questions that either require very little elaboration or have been answered in previous columns.  Yes, I understand that some of them are easy enough for most of you to answer, but they were legitimately sent in, and these people want info, too.

 

4. Jim Brenden of Sioux Falls, South Dakota asks:

What is the name of the color orange that the Buccaneers used for their original uniforms?

 

Answer Man: It was called, “Florida Orange.”

 

**

 

5. GP of Tampa, Florida asks, in rather abrupt fashion:

Score of playoff game against the Lions, 1997?

 

Answer Man: 20-10, Bucs.  And I can think of about 10 web sites off the top of my head that have that information within a few clicks.  Just sayin’.

 

**

 

6. David Bennett of Stockton, England asks:

Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to London in October, 2011 to play the Chicago Bears?

 

Answer Man: Yes, October 23rd at Wembley Stadium.  See you there, David!

 

**

Okay, that’s it.  Chat with you all again after the draft.  No more excuses then!

 

(Oh, by the way, the mailbag’s a bit thin.  Keep the questions coming!  Click here to submit your question.)