Eighteen of the 22 players Tampa Bay has selected in the first four rounds under Head Coach Tony Dungy remain with the team today
The National Football League won't play a game until late July, yet it is still the hottest thing going on the American sports landscape.
According to a fan poll on The Sporting News' web site, the NFL Draft is the most exciting thing to sports fans right now, beating out the playoffs in both the NHL and the NBA as well as the developing Major League Baseball season. Chances are, if you've stopped by Buccaneers.com today, you're in search of news on Tampa Bay's draft efforts.
If so, please visit our 2001 Buccaneers Draft Central section now for the latest information.
The basics: Tampa Bay has 10 picks in the seven-round draft, including the 21st overall selection in the opening round. The 'selection meeting,' as it is officially known in NFL circles, begins at noon on Saturday and will conclude around 10:00 p.m., when the third round is completed. On Sunday, the 31 NFL teams will begin again at 11:00 a.m. and finish the final four rounds by approximately 6:00 p.m.
Buccaneers.com's Draft Central will be on the scene for every second of the action. Pick-by-pick coverage of the entire draft, extensive information on each Tampa Bay selection, fan polls and exclusive live interviews with Rich McKay, Tim Ruskell and Buccaneer scouts highlight the coverage.
We'll kick off the weekend with a live interview featuring McKay on Saturday at 11:30, just 30 minutes before Atlanta goes on the clock to begin the proceedings. We'll conclude our coverage with another live interview on Sunday evening with Ruskell, the Buccaneers' Director of College Scouting.
There's a lot going on in the sports world this month. The NFL Draft, apparently, is at the top of the list. Come back to Buccaneers.com this weekend to stay on top of the news.
Tampa Bay has already made major changes to its roster through free agency, with new contributors at such key positions as quarterback and defensive end. Will this weekend be similarly impactful?
History would suggest that it will. Under Head Coach Tony Dungy, who assumed the team's reins in 1996, the Buccaneers have established a track record of drafting players who quickly make a difference.
Last year, four of Tampa Bay's five draft selections made the active roster and all four saw action at some point during the season. From 1996-00, 22 of the 40 players selected by the Bucs remain on the roster to this date, including 18 of 22 players selected in the first four rounds.
FIRST MINI-CAMP NEXT WEEK
The Buccaneers will hold a mandatory three-day mini-camp for all players, including the team's 2001 draft picks, from Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29. The schedule:
Friday, April 27:
Practice No. 1 - 10:15 a.m. to Noon Practice No. 2 - 3 to 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 28:
Practice No. 3 - 10:15 a.m. to Noon Practice No. 4 - 3 to 4:50 p.m.
Sunday, April 29: Practice No. 5 - 10:15 a.m. to Noon