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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Things to Know About the Bucs Day 3 Picks 

Get to know the Bucs' five selections on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft 

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Pittsburgh LB, SirVocea Dennis (153): 

The Bucs selected another Pitt product in the 2023 NFL Draft, taking linebacker SirVocea Dennis in the fifth round with the 153rd overall pick. Dennis was born in Georgia but moved around frequently while growing up in a military family. His father, SirVantis Dennis, was shot and wounded while in Iraq and was awarded a Purple Heart for his courageous service. SirVocea Dennis began playing Pop Warner at a young age and became a two-way player as a sophomore, playing both quarterback and defensive back. He lettered in lacrosse and was not ranked by many recruiting services coming out of high school due to injuries limiting his film. Dennis spent a season at The Peddie School, where he moved to linebacker and worked his way to a two-star recruit ranking for his contributions on the field. 

Dennis, a three-year starter at Pittsburgh, eventually landed the Mike linebacker role in Pat Narduzzi's 4-3 scheme. He led the team in tackles the previous two years and developed into a team tone-setter. Dennis only had four missed tackles registered in 2022 and notched 36.0 tackles for loss over his last 35 games. Dennis has elite range, generating plays up-and-down the line of scrimmage. He is quick downhill and possesses the play recognition to potentially carve out a role on the Bucs' defense. 

Purdue TE, Payne Durham (171):

The Bucs traded up four spots to select Purdue tight end Payne Durham with the 171st overall selection. A Georgia native, Durham played tight end, receiver and H-back at Peachtree Ridge High School. He was the centerpiece of the offense, earning first team All-Country and All-Region honors as a senior. Durham also played lacrosse but turned his attention to the gridiron full-time with the amount of attention he received on the recruiting circuit. 

As a four-year starter at Purdue, Durham was the 'Y' tight end in their spread offensive attack. With an above-average catch radius and ability to make catches outside of his frame, he has the versatile skillset to bolster the Bucs' tight end room. Durham plays with physicality over the middle of the field in contested situations and has functional inline strength. In 2022, Durham tallied 56 receptions for 560 yards and eight touchdowns for the Boilermakers. 

Kansas State DB, Josh Hayes (181):

The Bucs addressed the secondary with the 181st overall selection, giving defensive back Josh Hayes the nod. At Lake Gibson High School, Hayes played safety, linebacker, wide receiver and helped return kickoffs. As a senior, he recorded 67 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups, helping the Braves advance to the state championship game. At the collegiate level, Hayes has accumulated 38 starts over six seasons. He began his career at North Dakota State and finished with Kansas State, collecting a pass breakup in six-consecutive games during the middle of the 2022 season. Hayes ranked third on the team with 71 tackles and tackles for loss (5.5). Hayes ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the Kansas State Pro Day, and he will presumably undergo development as a nickel corner within Todd Bowles' scheme. However, Vice President of Player Personnel John Spytek assessed Hayes could be a candidate to go the nickel-to-safety pipeline route in Tampa Bay. 

Nebraska WR, Trey Palmer (191): 

The Bucs made a trade, sending a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Rams for Trey Palmer at 191. Originally a four-star recruit, Palmer was the No. 18 wide receiver in the 2019 recruiting class. He landed several prestigious offers but ended up with the Tigers. After three seasons, Palmer wanted a fresh slate and entered the transfer portal in December of 2021. Palmer committed to the Cornhuskers in January of 2022 and went on to set a school record for receiving yards in both a season and game. As one of the fastest receivers in the draft class (4.33 40-yard dash), Palmer often blew past defenders with rare acceleration out of breaks. He led the FBS with three catches of 70-plus yards in 2022, forcing defenses to account for his speed over the top. The vertical threat has change-of-direction quickness and primarily lined up as a slot receiver in Nebraska's pro-style scheme. The Bucs wanted an infusion of speed in the 2023 draft and Palmer serves as evidence. 

Eastern Michigan OLB Jose Ramirez (196): 

With the 196th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers took Eastern Michigan outside linebacker Jose Ramirez. As a three-star recruit out of Auburndale High School, Ramirez was the No. 117 outside linebacker in the 2017 recruiting class. He received mostly MAC and Sun Belt offers, originally committing to Arizona. After a coaching change, Ramirez transferred and decided to go the juco route at Riverside City College in 2018. Ramirez transferred to Eastern Michigan in 2019. There, he became a two-year starter playing an edge role in their four-man front. Ramirez was productive in Ypsilanti, notching 31.5 tackles for loss in 25 games over the previous two seasons – leading the FBS in sacks per game (1.0) in 2022. With instinctual play, quick footwork and relentlessness in pursuit of the quarterback, Ramirez will vie to earn a rotational role within the Bucs' defense.

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