The Bucs scored a direct hit in last year's draft with Tennessee G Arron Sears...can they duplicate that success in 2008?
Spring brings a glut of opportunities to the American sports landscape. Baseball's first bloom, hockey and basketball playoffs, the Masters, the Kentucky Derby, the French Open, even spring games for the college football fan, just to name a few.
So much competing for the sports fan's attention and yet, somehow, the National Football League – which doesn't play a game for four more months – still doesn't get lost in the noise.
For the pro football fan, it's all about The Draft, the only weekend that can rival those during the NFL season. Few sports events on the spring calendar garner more attention and attract more eyeballs than the NFL Draft. The NFL Network clearly knows this – they're devoting 44 hours of programming to the draft over a two week period, including live coverage of every pick plus five hours of pre-draft shows and two hours of post-draft wraps during the fateful weekend.
The outside scrutiny is matched inside the walls of the 32 NFL club headquarters. Teams of scouts have been preparing for the weekend of April 26-27 for virtually an entire year, traveling to every corner of the country to attend practices, games, all-star games, workouts, interview sessions, the NFL Combine and pro days. All the information gathered by that field work has led to countless hours of meetings and draft-board shaping. At One Buccaneer Place, for instance, the team's player personnel staff spends the entire day, every day, in draft meetings at this time of the year.
So, yeah, the draft's a big deal.
And we know you'll be watching, eagerly awaiting news on the newest Buccaneers. The NFL Network and countless other media sources will bring you valuable coverage of the draft, but you'll find the most Buccaneer-centric information right here on Buccaneers.com. Starting today, the Buccaneers.com Draft Central section is open for business.
Visitors will find Draft Central most useful on the actual weekend of the draft, with our wall-to-wall coverage of every pick and our swift updates on the Bucs' selections, though it will also be of value in the days leading up to the draft. Here's what you'll find in our 2008 Buccaneers Draft Central, a special section just launched on Wednesday (some of which is already available for your enjoyment and edification):
- Draft Tracker. An essential element, obviously, of any draft coverage. In the left-hand column of Draft Central you'll find a running list of every pick by every team in the draft, updated as soon as each selection is reported by the NFL. You can also choose any of the seven rounds to get a more detailed account of each selection (position, college, overall draft number, etc.). That information is even useful in these last weeks before the draft, in case you would like to see where each team is scheduled to pick in each round, and which teams have the ammunition to trade up or down. * Team-by-Team Draft Account. New to Draft Central last year, this function allows you, at any time during the draft, to review the selections of each team in the NFL. Want to see how the New Orleans Saints are handling their picks? Just choose that team from the pull-down menu in the upper portion of the left-hand column. You can use that function now to see how many picks each team currently owns in each round. For instance, if you chose New Orleans now, you'd see that they are lacking a fourth-round pick. * Buccaneers' Current Selection. Also new to Draft Central last year, this prominently-placed box will always let you know the last player chosen by Tampa Bay, along with some brief details about the selection. Buccaneers.com will follow each pick with a more detailed article on the team's newest player, but the Current Selection box provides a more immediate source of information for the fan just logging on. You will always find it at the top of the middle column of Draft Central, just above the current top story. * News and Features. As always, Buccaneers.com will cover the team's draft from on site, sometimes even from within the draft room. Expect descriptions of each pick, daily wrap-ups and prompt reporting of any trades or other maneuvers. * Draft Video Center. Located at the top of the right-hand column, this feature will be particularly useful on draft weekend. Buccaneers.com will stream all of the team's draft press conferences live and post archived versions in the Video Center. In addition, Buccaneers.com will continue to offer exclusive one-on-one interviews with team scouts during draft weekend. * Draft Blog. Once again, Buccaneers.com will post a blog from inside team headquarters throughout draft weekend. Look to this page for information on trades, insights from team personnel, news from around the league and more. * More. Yes, more. More to keep you informed throughout draft weekend and in the days leading up to the big event. A year-by-year rundown of Buccaneer draft history. A link to the team message boards. A rotating collection of useful draft links found on NFL.com. Frequently changing fan polls. A news archive. More.
Ah, but we have saved one area of the 2008 Buccaneers Draft Central for last, and it is annually one of the most popular features on the site.
Yes, it's the Buccaneers.com Draft Contest, featuring valuable prizes and a very simple way to enter. If you played the draft contests during any of the last three years – all variations on the original Twenty Questions quiz of 2005, then you probably know what's coming.
Come to Buccaneers Draft Central now and play Twenty Questions Rewind are 2008 draft contest. You can enter up to five times, and the prizes include tickets to regular-season Buccaneer games this coming fall.
Think you've got a handle of what's going to happen in this year's draft? Prove it. As the name suggests, you'll be asked to answer 22 draft-related questions, all of them using pulldown lists. Winning is simple: Just get more of the 22 questions right than any other entrant.
It's simple to play, but not necessarily easy. Last year, a good number of entrants correctly predicted that that Bucs would take defensive end Gaines Adams with the fourth overall pick. Do you feel anywhere near as certain that you know who Tampa Bay is targeting this year, at pick number 20? How about the player New Orleans is after, or Carolina? And how long will the first round last with the new time limits this year?
Think you know? Figure you don't know but willing to make a few guesses? Head over to the draft contest now.
While you're at it, check out the rest of the 2008 Buccaneers Draft Central. Then come back on the weekend of April 26-27 for the most comprehensive Buccaneer draft coverage on the web.