Syracuse CB Tanard Jackson helped the North team shut out the South in the 2007 Senior Bowl
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Day Two of the 2007 NFL Draft began the way Day One ended.
That is, the team's first-day emphasis on defense, whether by design or by how the value on the Bucs' board is shaking out, continued into the fourth round with the selection of aggressive and versatile defensive back Tanard Jackson.
Buccaneers coaches got a long look at Jackson at the Senior Bowl in February, as the Syracuse star was on the North team coached by the Tampa Bay staff. What the Bucs saw was a tall (6-0, 192) and rangy defensive back with the ability to play either cornerback or safety. At Syracuse, Jackson played cornerback and was known as a hard-hitter in run support who also has the speed to cover receivers downfield. The Buccaneers plan to play him at safety.
Though Syracuse struggled in 2006, Jackson had his finest season as a senior and produced an impressively full stat line: 62 tackles, two interceptions, 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four passes defensed. He was named to the All-Big East second team after starting all 12 games and ranking sixth on the team in stops.
Overall, Jackson played in 45 games and started 34 during his four years at Syracuse, amassing 165 tackles, five interceptions, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 14 passes defensed. He was a second-team all-conference choice as a junior, too.
The Bucs have now devoted four of their first five picks in the 2007 draft to defensive players. On Saturday, Tampa Bay took the first defensive player off the board, nabbing Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams with the fourth overall selection. Oregon State S Sabby Piscatelli followed with the 64th overall pick and New Orleans LB Quincy Black came on board four picks later, early in the third round.
This marks the first time the Bucs have picked at least four defensive players among their first five selections since 1995, when all of their opening five picks were on that side of the ball (Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Melvin Johnson, Jerry Wilson and Wardell Rouse).
The pick used to select Jackson was acquired in a trade executed early on Sunday. The Bucs were originally scheduled to pick third in the fourth round, at number 102 overall, but they traded down four spots with Minnesota and picked up a sixth-rounder in the process. Tampa Bay has five more picks to make on Sunday, a fifth rounder, a sixth rounder and three seventh-rounders.