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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Big Target

The Bucs stayed on the offensive side of the ball in Round Three but switched to receiver, where they found 6-4, 229-pound Notre Dame wideout Maurice Stovall


WR Maurice Stovall caught 53 passes as a senior at Notre Dame, averaging 16.7 yards per catch

If Chris Simms was watching his Tampa Bay Buccaneers work the NFL Draft on Saturday, he must of liked what he saw. After drafting two players who may soon help keep the pressure off Simms in Rounds One and Two, the Bucs' brain trust gave him another target for his passes in Round Three.

A big target. Tampa Bay's third-round pick, the 90th player selected overall, is Notre Dame's Maurice Stovall, a huge and productive wide receiver who may add another dimension to the Bucs' passing game.

The 6-4, 229-pound Stovall is as big as some tight ends in the league, but he proved to be a reliable deep threat for the Fighting Irish, averaging 16.9 yards per reception during his four-year college career. Overall, Stovall caught 114 passes for 1,933 yards and 17 touchdowns, with the largest chunk of that production coming last fall. As a senior, he caught a career-high 53 passes for 887 yards and 10 touchdowns and ranked 25th in the nation with 88.7 yards per game.

Though he played a full four seasons at Notre Dame, making 21 starts, Stovall enters the NFL at the tender age of 21, having started his college career at 17. He blossomed in 2005 after the arrival of new Head Coach Charlie Weis, dropping 15 pounds and proving to be a mismatch against smaller defenders. Stovall is particularly adept at going up for high passes and fighting off defenders for the ball.

Stovall was an honorable mention All-America choice last year after posting the sixth-highest receptions total in Notre Dame history. Thirteen of his 53 catches were good for 20 or more yards.

Stovall hails from Philadelphia, where he played his prep ball at Archbishop John Carroll High School. He played both wide receiver and safety in high school and had 18 touchdowns as a senior – nine on receptions, five on interceptions and four on punt returns.

Stovall is the third offensive player drafted by the Buccaneers, after the first two rounds produced guard Davin Joseph and tackle Jeremy Trueblood. He is just the second first-day receiver drafted by Tampa Bay in the last four years, joining 2004 first-rounder Michael Clayton.

The second day of the draft will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. The Bucs are due to make one pick each in the fourth and fifth rounds, two in the sixth and three in the seventh.

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