Tampa Bay went the small-school route to get their latest pick, Pearl River Community College (Miss.) receiver Larry Brackins, an intriguing, 6-4 leaper
After plumbing such established programs as Auburn, Nebraska, Stanford, North Carolina State, Wisconsin and Oklahoma for their first six picks in the 2005 draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned to a small school for their next selection.
How small? Try Pearl River Community College in Mississippi, home of wide receiver Larry Brackins. Pearl River may not be a national powerhouse, but it was very much on NFL radar screens this fall due to the play of Brackins.
The Buccaneers used the 155th overall pick, midway through the fifth round, to grab Brackins, who has a very intriguing blend of size and athleticism. The 6-4, 225-pound athlete also played basketball while at Feather River (Cal.) Community College before transferring to Pearl River, and his jump-ball skills are evident. Considering his background, Brackins is likely less polished than the Bucs earlier draft picks from big schools, but he has skills that Tampa Bay coaches are eager to develop.
In two seasons at Pearl River, Brackins played in and started 23 games, recording 101 receptions for 1,886 yards and 20 touchdowns. His big-play talents are evident in his 18.7 yards-per-catch average over those two seasons.
Brackins played both football and basketball at Pearl River in 2003. On the gridiron, he began his career in impressive fashion, catching five passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished his career with a bang, catching 11 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the final game of 2004.
Pearl River also used Brackins as a punt returner, and on 22 career runbacks he compiled a 17.5-yard average and scored three touchdowns.
As a prep in Dothan, Alabama, Brackins was an all-state performer in both sports. On the court, he averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks to lead Dothan High to the Class 6A state title game.
The Buccaneers nabbed Brackins with the 155th pick after trading down from number 144. Tampa Bay originally acquired the 144th pick by trading Roman Oben to San Diego last year, but they flipped it to St. Louis for 155 and an additional pick in the seventh round. The Bucs have one pick in the sixth round and four in the seventh still to execute.