Admit it: This time a year ago, you knew who your Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to take with their first pick in the NFL Draft.
It wasn't terribly hard to deduce. The St. Louis Rams appeared to have honed in on Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the top pick, which left two players at the same position as the consensus top prospects, defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. It's likely that the Lions and Buccaneers, picking second and third, would have each been happy to nab either of the two disruptive DTs, but Detroit was rumored to have settled on Suh.
Sure enough, the first round began on the evening of April 22, and the Rams and Lions quickly took Bradford and Suh. The Buccaneers just as eagerly snapped up McCoy, and the most predictable draft 1-2-3 in awhile was in the books.
That didn't make it any less exciting for Tampa Bay fans. In fact, even before the final syllable of McCoy's name was uttered by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in New York, a crowd of Buc rooters hundreds deep erupted in a collective roar inside the West Club Lounge at Raymond James Stadium. They might not have been shocked, but they were obviously pleased.
That was the scene just a few hours into the Buccaneers' Official Draft Party Presented by Miller Lite, an annual gathering that has become the place to be for Tampa Bay fans looking to share their excitement over the NFL's extraordinarily popular spring event. The Bucs picked early in last year's draft, but there was still plenty of time for a significant buzz to build up inside the stadium lounge. Now imagine…
On Thursday, the Buccaneers are scheduled to pick 20th in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Barring a big trade up, that spot dramatically increases the mystery surrounding the player whose name will be called when Tampa Bay is on the clock. And that means this year's Official Draft Party is bound to build up an even more tangible buzz among anticipatory Buc fans.
What do you need to be a part of that energized scene? Just show up!
As always, the Buccaneers' Official Draft Party Presented by Miller Lite is free and open to all comers. Throw on your Bucs jersey and head down to Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night, the doors to the West Club Lounge open at 6:30 p.m. ET. Parking Lots 1, 2 and 3 open at 5:30, if you want to be among the first into the party.
If you're reading this, you're probably going to be watching the draft on Thursday anyway. Why not watch it on huge HD video walls inside the Club Lounge? Not only will you be in the middle of a like-minded crowd of Buc fans, but you'll get the chance to mingle with Buccaneers Cheerleaders and prominent team alumni. You'll also have the opportunity to partake of discounted food and beverages.
The Bucs' flagship radio stations, US 103.5 FM and 620 WDAE The Sports Animal will be broadcasting live from the scene, covering every twist and turn of the picks leading up to the Bucs' selection and providing exclusive interviews. And, after the Buccaneers have made their choice, you'll hear all about it through exclusive interviews with General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris.
Admit it: You have no clue who the Buccaneers are going to take with this year's first-round pick. Each mock draft you find online contradicts the one before. It's a mystery, but it won't be one for long. What better way to learn who the next potential Buccaneer star is then to be surrounded by fellow fans as close to the real action as possible?
Join us on Thursday for the Official Draft Day Party Presented by Miller Lite. Click here for additional information.