The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have historically had extremely good fortune with cornerbacks taken in the third round of the draft. If that trend continues, Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis could be the next standout Buc corner to follow in the footsteps of such third-rounders as Ronde Barber, Donnie Abraham and Dwight Smith.
The Buccaneers will be happy if Lewis, the 67th overall selection in the 2010 draft, proves to be a strong contributor to a defense that is being actively restocked with promising young players. Before the selection of the Commodores star in the third round, the Bucs had also spent first and second-round picks on defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, breaking away only briefly in the second round to nab Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn.
Like McCoy and Price, Lewis brings outstanding athleticism and size to his position. At 6-2 and 203 pounds, he will immediately rank as one of the Bucs' most physically imposing corners, and he is a hard-hitting and instinctive player around the line of scrimmage. Those traits serve a cornerback well in Tampa Bay's defensive scheme, particularly when elements of the Cover Two are in play. Lewis has also shown a nose for the football in the college ranks, picking off nine passes over the past two years combined.
Lewis played four seasons at Vandy and was a starter for the final three, appearing in a total of 46 games with 36 starts. He finished with 170 career tackles to go with 10 interceptions, 10.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His top statistical season was his 2008 junior campaign, in which he impressively paired five interceptions with five sacks and also rang up a career-best 76 tackles.
Lewis is also a very versatile player, having played as a reserve at safety as a freshman in 2006 before moving into a starting role at cornerback. He is the third cornerback the Bucs have drafted in the past three years as they have begun to rebuild their secondary; 2008 first-rounder Aqib Talib is now a starter and a rising star and last year's seventh-rounder, E.J. Biggers, is considered a promising prospect despite missing all of last year with a shoulder injury.
Last season, Lewis was a second-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press after racking up 41 tackles, four interceptions and eight passes defensed. He was also an SEC Academic Honor Roll selection in 2008 and he graduated early with a degree in human and organizational development. Lewis hails from Pompano Beach, Florida, where he was a two-time team MVP for the Pompano High team.
Like UCLA's Brian Price before him, Lewis is just the second player from his school to be drafted by the Buccaneers in their 35-year history. The only previous Commodore selected by Tampa Bay was linebacker Jamie Duncan in 1998.
The second day of the NFL draft concludes at the end of the third round. The fourth through seventh rounds will be conducted on Saturday, beginning at 11:00 a.m. Tampa Bay has seven remaining picks in the draft's final day after trading away their fifth-rounder in the deal to move up and get Benn.