C Austin King got the news of his drafting by the Bucs on his father's cell phone Sunday afternoon
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up a two-by-four in the fourth round of the NFL draft: two linemen who can play four positions.
In the span of about 10 minutes on Sunday afternoon, the Bucs drafted West Virginia tackle Lance Nimmo and Northwestern center Austin King. Though the 6-5, 303-pound Nimmo and the 6-3, 299-pound King are not necessarily similar players, they appealed to the Bucs on at least one shared level: versatility.
Tampa Bay believes Nimmo will be a candidate to play either right or left tackle, and expects King to work at both center and guard. The two newest Buccaneer linemen also share a few other traits the team appreciates.
"They're just good, solid football players who have been productive on the college level, partly because of their competitiveness," said Bucs Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Bill Muir. "They're both instinctive players."
McKay also liked both players' approach to the game.
"Toughness is going to be very high on the chart," he said. "Toughness is going to be measured in the style of play. Not looking for the guy to take the play off, not looking for a guy to stop blocking when the whistle has not fully been blown and a second has not elapsed since the whistle has blown makes toughness a big criteria."
Both players are also candidates for important roles in 2003. The release of C/G Todd Washington in February and the free agency status of T Lomas Brown open up a depth chart spot at both the edge and the interior of the Bucs' offensive line. Nimmo
"Anytime there are openings on the depth chart, that makes it all the more better for a person to come to a football team," said Nimmo. "If there wasn't an opening, I'd have to come in with the attitude that I would have to create one. But with an opening already being there, that's just all the more reason to come play."
Both players were pleased to be joining the defending league titlists.
"I am extremely excited about that and just glad to have the opportunity to play for the Super Bowl champs," said King. "I'm almost speechless. It's a great deal, and I am really excited."
More thoughts from Lance Nimmo:
On being drafted by the Buccaneers: "Obviously, coach (Jon) Gruden is a legend at such a young age. When I got the opportunity to work out for (offensive line) coach Bill Muir, he fits the personality of a line coach that I'm used to as a player. Along with the rest of the teammates that have won a world championship, I think it's just a great opportunity for myself."
On his strengths and weaknesses: "I really think my pass protection has been solid for me ever since I got to college, so I think that should still continue to be a strength. I don't know if I'd call it a weakness, but I'd really like to polish up my run blocking some."
On the opportunity to play for coach Bill Muir: "Just from my personal workout and from what I've heard about him, I was coached by Rick Trickett who was a very intense, on-the-field coach, and he seems like he would be just that. Where some people get intimidated by a coach yelling at you, I think that's what football is all about."
More thoughts from Austin King:
On his strengths: "My main strengths would have to be intangible things. I would like to consider myself someone with a good attitude and a hard worker. I think there are always technique things I have to work on. I can always work on getting stronger and learning the game more."
On playing for Muir: "Coach Muir worked me out up at Northwestern, so I had known they had some interest. But I really had no clue going into today what was going to happen. It came as a bit of a surprise. It was just a matter of finding out what was going to happen. All I ever wanted was an opportunity, so I am glad that I got that."
On how he heard he had been selected by Tampa Bay: "I actually somehow lost my cell phone last night, and I was at the store trying to buy a new cell phone with the same number when coach (Jon) Gruden called me on my dad's number. I didn't know until they told me. I don't know if it was before or after they told me because we obviously couldn't see it."