Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Add Ivy Leaguer

Yale safety Than Merrill joins Tampa Bay as the team’s second seventh-round pick


An Ivy Leaguer himself, Rich McKay dipped into that league for the first time in Buccaneer history

Buccaneers General Manager Rich McKay is a proud Princeton grad, and his righthand man, Director of Football Administration John Idzik, played football at Dartmouth. The Ivy League is well-represented in the Buccaneers' player personnel department.

Until Sunday, however, the Ivy League had never shown up on the Bucs' draft board. That changed with the team's second seventh-round pick, which was used to select Yale safety Than Merrill.

Strangely, Merrill was at the middle of a mini-run for the Ivy League in the seventh round. Directly before the Buccaneers picked, Seattle selected Princeton tackle Dennis Norman. Then, after the Bucs plucked Merrill, San Francisco hit upon Merrill's Yale teammate, TE Eric Johnson.

Merrill has some interesting similarities to Buccaneers Pro Bowl safety John Lynch. Like Lynch, Merrill started his collegiate career as a quarterback at Stanford, then made the same move as his predecessor by switching to safety. The path diverges in Merrill's sophomore season, when he transferred to Yale, but comes back together now as he heads to the Buccaneers. He's excited to be the player to break the Bucs' Ivy League drought.

"It feels good," said Merrill. "Not many players are drafted out of our league, so it's a special feeling."

At Yale, Merrill was a three-year starter. As as senior, he came up with 55 tackles, two interceptions and four passes defensed.

The selection of Merrill nearly concludes the Bucs' draft. The team's final choice in the seventh round is number 234 overall, a compensatory pick.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Latest Headlines