Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mystery Man

You would be surprised to learn who really is responsible for selecting the Bucs’ draft picks

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Buccaneer Video Director Dave Levy double and triple-checked his work before handing in the name of Cosey Coleman (60) during last year's draft

In crunch time, when pick number 21 rolls around and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock, it will all come down to one man.

On April 21 – after Buccaneer scouts have criss-crossed the nation for months, after Rich McKay and Tony Dungy have thoroughly examined the teams needs, after Jerry Angelo has provided a scouting report and an opinion on every interesting prospect – one man will write a name on a piece of paper and hand it to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. He will have ultimate control...whatever name he chooses to put on the slip will be binding.

That man is Dave Levy.

Huh?

Levy is the Buccaneers' Video Director. On April 21 and 22, during the 2001 NFL Draft, he will be the person responsible for drafting seven or eight new players for the team.

Have the Bucs' gone mad? Sure, Levy has probably seen a good bit of video on each prospect as his department fashions highlight reels for the scouts, but does that qualify him to have the final say on draft day?

Well, no, and we're being perhaps a bit misleading here. As usual, McKay, Dungy and Angelo will make the decisions on who the Buccaneers draft from their 'War Room' headquarters at One Buccaneer Place. While Levy has worked very hard to help the Bucs' personnel department conduct its scouting, he will not be a part of the decision-making process that weekend.

But somebody is required to be on location in New York, where the actual draft takes place and where every team sends a representative. The St. Louis Rams, for instance, rather famously sent Owner Georgia Frontiere a few years back. For the Bucs, that representative will be Levy.

Levy also filled that role last year, as a spot on the committee for league video directors has put him in New York at the right time each spring. Levy understands that, for the second year in a row, he is charged with a simple yet critical task. Get the name right, get it in on time. The fallout from a mistake would be enormous.

I guess I was a little nervous last year," Levy admitted, though he actually wasn't responsible for a first-round pick after the Bucs' trade for Keyshawn Johnson. Tampa Bay started its draft with Tennessee guard Cosey Coleman in the second round. "I kept double-checking the name with the book I had. I read it back to them over and over to make sure it was right."

Levy communicated with the War Room over a headset and a phone line that was kept open for the entire day, both days. Between Tampa Bay picks, he kept track of the picks and the trades and tried to help the group back in Tampa stay on top of developments.

"Some times they heard things before I did, but it was a two-way street," said Levy. "It was a lot harder for them on the second day because the picks go by a lot faster."

There is a certain sense of awe that goes with being responsible for such an important transaction, but that wore off fairly quickly, according to Levy.

"All you really have to do is write down names and scratch off names," he said. "It was kind of exciting for the first couple of picks, but then it got a little boring."

Levy helped the Bucs get their man, Coleman, plus five more rookies before the weekend was done. He took great pains to make sure his slips of paper matched what McKay had scribbled on his own notepad in Tampa.

Could the representative in New York make an error, thereby marrying the team to a draft pick it didn't want? Sure. Has it happened before? There are rumors to that effect, unsubstantiated.

One thing's for certain: It won't happen this year. Dave Levy will make sure of that.

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