For the third time in as many picks on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected a defensive lineman in the fifth round, going off the radar for University of Buffalo defensive end Steven Means. A fast and rangy defender who started for most of four seasons for the Bulls, Means joins fourth round picks Akeem Spence and William Gholston as new members of the Bucs' defensive front.
The 6-3, 260-pound Means played defensive end in Buffalo's 3-4 front and was viewed as a possible end or outside linebacker in the NFL. The Bucs are likely to use him wherever they believe he can utilize the edge-rushing skills that netted him 18.5 career sacks for the Bulls.
After focusing on the secondary with Sunday's trade for Darrelle Revis and the second-round selection of Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks, the Bucs addressed their quarterback depth chart on Friday with North Carolina State's Mike Glennon. On Saturday, attention has turned to the line and a pass rush that ranked 31st in the NFL in 2012 in sacks produced per pass play.
Means, who was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, says he has had to overcome obstacles throughout his football playing days, and that has contributed to his relentless approach.
"I've always had that tough road to go down," he said. "I've always had to sneak through the back door to even have a chance to showcase my talents. It started in high school, and in college it was the same way. Going through this process, it wasn't alarming for me not to go to Combine, because I've been going through this my whole life. Somebody's going to give me a shot, to see how I really am as a person and how I really am on the field. I've definitely had to go through a lot of adversity, but I fought through it and that's something that they liked [about me]."
That difficult path has also helped mold the attitude he takes onto the field for every game and every snap.
"I just don't like being touched. That's probably why I'm a decent pass-rusher – I don't like offensive linemen, especially, touching me. So I want to get them off me as quickly as possible. But I like making plays and I like hitting. I love hitting the quarterback. I'm definitely quick-tempered on the field. I get mad at somebody just lining up from across me. Just thinking they're going to block me kind of gets me mad. If you line up across from me, you're telling me that you're stopping me from something I want to do, so I take offense to that."
As a third-day draft pick, Means might get his first crack at extensive playing time on special teams, and that is another area in which he excelled at Buffalo. Among his exploits in the kicking game during his 2012 senior season were three blocked kicks.
"I definitely enjoy special teams," said Means. "I'm looking forward to playing every special team I can play there, at the next level. I want to contribute wherever I possibly can."
Means' four-year statistics at Buffalo included 185 tackles, 18.5 sacks, 29.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He hails from Buffalo, New York.
The Bucs have one remaining pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. They are scheduled to pick late in the sixth round, at #196 overall.