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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Back to the Future

Boasting Just Five Picks, Buccaneers Still Get High Draft Marks


QB Shaun King was one of several rookies to make an impact in 1999.

It seems odd, grading players that haven't even stepped on an NFL practice field. Then again, what would the draftniks do for fun if they couldn't dissect the draft immediately after the final pick? Here's a look at how some publications viewed Tampa Bay's 2000 draft picks.

Tom Donohoe

Former Steelers Director of Player Personnel With the trade and the addition of receiver Keyshawn Johnson, the Buccaneers received their first-round pick even before the draft started. Their offense has lacked a go-to receiver who can make big plays, but Keyshawn should provide this for them. He will also bring a toughness and competitiveness to the Bucs.

On draft day, Tampa Bay added help in the second round with the selection of Tennessee offensive guard Cosey Coleman. Many had projected Coleman to be a first-rounder. He is a 320-pound road-grater who must improve as a pass blocker. In the third round, the Bucs took linebacker Nate Webster from Miami (Fla.). Coach Tony Dungy has had great success with undersized linebackers who are aggresive and fly to the football. Webster fits that mold.

In the fifth round, the Bucs picked tight James Whalen from Kentucky. Of all the players I scouted ths year, Whalen had the best hands. He will catch anything that is close to him and has a great feel for routes and secondary coverages. James has the ability to get open, catch the ball and do something with it afterward. He is not a throw-away as a blocker, but would best be utilized in an offense that takes advantage of his skills as a receiver. With new offensive coordinator Les Steckel coming from Tennessee, Whalen's selection seems to be a great fit.

Peter King Sports Illustrated

I count Keyshawn Johnson, who cost two ones and makes Shaun King 20 percent better just by suiting up. Cosey Coleman's an eight-year starter after Randall McDaniel retires. Grade: B-plus.

Rick Gosselin Dallas Morning News

The Bucs got a late start (51st pick) and didn't have many selections. But Coleman was the best guard in the draft and Whalen the best pass-catching tight end. Webster and Gibson give a fast, young defense some depth. Grade: C.

Dan Pompei The Sporting News

The Bucs got a sure thing by trading two first-round picks for receiver Keyshawn Johnson. How many teams can say they got a sure thing? Then Rich McKay, Jerry Angelo and Tim Ruskell commenced with solid picks. They traded up for Cosey Coleman, whom they considered the best guard in the draft. They acquired some depth at the linebacker position with Nate Webster, a player who could really develop. They picked up an H-back candidate for Les Steckel's new offense in James Whalen, who might have had the softest hands in the draft. And they grabbed a small quarterback with big production, Joe Hamilton, in the seventh round. Grade: A.

Don Pierson Chicago Tribune

For years, the Bucs patiently waited their turn and kept their draft picks. No more. In the most dramatic move of the draft, they gave up both No. 1s to land Keyshawn Johnson from the New York Jets. One of the best players in football, he will instantly improve the passing offense that ranked next-to-last in the NFL. The Bucs even made the first trade of draft day, trading up to land another offensive player, Coleman.

Mike Freeman New York Times

That smile. Tony Dungy wears it well. It's a confident smile. It's a comfortable smile. Like the Redskins, the Buccaneers also had a great draft, just a different one. Imagine this: A team owns no first-round selections and has one of the best drafts of the weekend.

How is that possible? It's done by trading away two first-round selections for Pro Bowl wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson. In one swift move, the Buccaneers' offense went from the Stone Age to the Industrial Age.

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