The first day of the NFL Draft, when you're in possession of the 23rd overall pick, involves quite a bit of waiting around.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers officials, armed with No. 23, will arrive at team headquarters early in the morning on Saturday, be fully ensconced in the Draft Room by noon…and then probably wait until four or five in the afternoon to make their pick
You, however, can have a much more active Saturday and still be fully immersed in your team's draft-weekend proceedings. That's because the Buccaneers have organized two draft-day events that are open to anyone and sure to entice just about everyone.
Fan involvement in the Bucs' 2006 draft begins as early as 7:00 a.m. While the team's decision-makers are making some last-minute consultations on the draft board, you can run in the sixth annual Draft Day Dash, presented once again by TECO Energy. Then, when the picks have begun and the Bucs are awaiting their turn on the clock, you can follow all the action up to and through Tampa Bay's picks at the Official Draft Day Party, presented again this year by Miller Lite.
One of the most popular road races in the Bay area every year, the Draft Day Dash is a 5K run that begins and ends at Raymond James Stadium and winds through scenic Al Lopez Park. Each entrant finishes the race by running through the same stadium tunnels the players use on game day and seeing their own images on the huge BucVision videoboards.
Fans can register for the Draft Day Dash ahead of time here or sign up on the morning of the event. The entry fee is $27.
Final registration for the Draft Day Dash begins at 7:00 a.m. ET on Saturday morning. There will be a warm-up, led by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders, at 8:00 a.m., and the race begins at 8:30 a.m. (8:29 a.m. for wheelchair participants). Runners are encouraged to stick around for the Post-Race Party, which will include music, food, drink, massage therapists and a prize drawing.
All runners will be entered into a prize drawings to be held during the Post-Race Party. In addition, the top 100 male and top 100 female finishers will receive a commemorative medal from the Draft Day Dash. The top male and female runners and wheelchair participants will be honored with Special Awards of Merit
Buccaneer wide receiver Michael Clayton will be at the stadium to serve as the race's official starter. He will also hand out the prizes during the Post-Race Party.
For more details on the Draft Day Dash, please visit the race's information page.
Whether or not you run in the race, you'll want to relax and follow all of the Bucs' picks at the Official Draft Day Party, also held at Raymond James Stadium.
The party, to be held in the stadium's luxurious West Club Lounge, offers free admission and is open to all Buccaneer fans. Refreshments and Buccaneer merchandise will be available for purchase. It begins at 10:30 a.m., 90 minutes before the beginning of the draft, and runs through 5:30 p.m.
The Buccaneers have three picks in the first three rounds of the draft, which will be conducted on Saturday. They will almost certainly exercise at least the first one before the conclusion of the Official Draft Day Party. This player may well be an important building block for the franchise's future, and you can witness the selection along with hundreds of your fellow Buccaneer fans.
Several prominent Buccaneer players, as well as the Buccaneers Cheerleaders and team mascot Captain Fear, will also be on hand to watch the selections and mingle with the fans.
The Official Draft Day Party is the best way to experience this year's draft. You can watch every pick on the huge video walls at each end of the Club Lounge, and on a variety of TV monitors throughout the space. Live radio coverage will be provided by 620 WDAE The Sports Animal. Plus, a raffle drawing will allow fans to leave with autographed Buccaneer merchandise and Miller promotional items, and there will be interactive games, contests and activities in place for all party attendees to enjoy.
No pre-registration is necessary to attend the Official Draft Day Party. Just show up on Saturday and join your fellow Buccaneer fans in the draft experience. Free parking will be available in Lots A and 3 on the Northwest corner of the stadium. Fans should enter the stadium lots off of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
For more information on the Bucs' Official Draft Day Party presented by Miller Lite, please click here.