General Manager Bruce Allen and the Buccaneers' draft room will be on the clock when pick number 253 rolls around on Sunday
What can one make out of the 253rd selection in a draft that is scheduled to last exactly 255 picks?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are about to find out.
The 70th annual NFL Selection Process will be conducted on the weekend of April 23-24, and the Buccaneers, barring trades, will pick 12 times. The last of those 12 choices is number 253, and as it is a compensatory pick, it cannot be traded. Thus, the Bucs will find out what treasures may be found in that unheralded spot.
The good news is that number 253 has produced a list of draftees who are not quite as faceless as you might think. Since the NFL draft was shortened to its current setup of seven rounds in 1994, leading to final picks in the mid-200s, there have been six players taken with pick 253 (the draft ended before 253 in 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2001). Remarkably, four of those six made at least some impact in the NFL and the other two haven't given up yet.
The six players picked with number 253 since 1994 are RB Michael Hicks, FB Jim Finn, DT Alfonso Boone, WR David Givens, WR DeAndrew Rubin and DE Isaac Hilton.
Hicks, drafted by the Bears in 1996, made Chicago's active roster in both 1996 and 1997 and carried the ball a total of 31 times for 106 yards. Finn, another Chicago draftee (and Mr. Irrelevant in 1999), spent his rookie season on the Bears' practice squad but then established himself with the Colts and Giants over the last four years. He has played in 58 games, started 13, and proved to be a rugged blocker and fine receiver (39-271-1).
Detroit had pick 253 in 2000 and nabbed Boone, who fittingly ended up with the Bears. He has played in 55 games for Chicago over the past four seasons, starting 13 and contributing 68 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Givens might be the biggest success story of the bunch. Playing on two New England Super Bowl-winning teams since being taken 253rd overall in 2002, he has caught 99 passes for 1,476 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Rubin and Hilton, Misters 253 in 2003 and 2004, have yet to see any regular-season action. However, the Buccaneers obviously feel as if they are talented players; Hilton spent time on the Bucs' practice squad in 2004 and Rubin is currently one of the 80 or so players expected to head to training camp with the Buccaneers this summer.
Can the Buccaneers continue the strangely successful picking that has occupied the 253rd slot. We'll find out very late in draft weekend, probably at some point around 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday evening.
Throughout that weekend, and in the days leading up to the most anticipated and scrutinized draft for any professional sports league, Buccaneers.com will provide coverage in its special Draft Central section.
Buccaneers.com's Draft Central coverage will include:
- News Stories and Archive: All draft-related stories on Buccaneers.com will be found in this section, complete with an archive of features dating back to January. Visit Draft Central now for a look at what has historically been available at the team's 12 current draft spots. * "Twenty Questions" Draft Contest: Display your draft acumen and win tickets and other Buccaneer prizes in our annual draft competition. This year's format asks you to make predictions on a variety of subjects, from the Bucs' first pick to the first team to trade down. * Live and Recorded Video Coverage: Each of the press conferences held by General Manager Bruce Allen and Head Coach Jon Gruden during the weekend will be carried live on Buccaneers.com. We will also provide exclusive, taped interviews with area scouts responsible for scouting the players selected by Tampa Bay. * Round-by-Round Draft Tracker: Check the Draft Tracker now for a look at who owns each of the 255 selections in rounds 1-7. During the draft, each pick will be posted seconds after it has been announced, and each round will be archived for easy access. As you scan for new Buccaneers news, you won't lose track of what the rest of the league is doing. * Draft Blog: Want the inside scoop on what is going on in and around the Buccaneers' draft headquarters? Check the Draft Blog throughout the weekend for notes and insight into the process. * Draft History: Review each pick of the Buccaneers' first 29 drafts. * NFL.com Links: Take a look through the league's extensive pre-draft coverage. * Fan Polls: Weigh in on everything draft-related for the Buccaneers.
So visit Draft Central now and over the next two weeks, then return for a full weekend of coverage on April 23-24.
Many believe this will be one of the most pivotal draft in the history of the Buccaneers' franchise. You don't have to miss a minute of it.