General Manager Bruce Allen spent a sixth-round pick on Yale TE Nate Lawrie
For the second time in the last four years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have dipped into the Ivy League for a late-round selection. The Bucs' sixth-round selection in 2004, the 186th player taken overall, is Yale tight end Nate Lawrie.
The Bucs' previous foray into the Ivy League, in 2001, also returned a Yale player, safety Than Merrill. Merrill spent the 2003 season on the Bucs' physically-unable-to-perform list after sustaining an injury in the NFL Europe League.
A 6-5, 262-pound tight end with outstanding career receiving totals, Lawrie is an intriguing if little-publicized prospect. An all-around athlete, he also starred on the Bulldogs' track-and-field squad as a thrower and handled punting duties for the football team.
Lawrie played in 29 games over three seasons for the Bulldogs, racking up 116 receptions for 1,361 yards and seven touchdowns, numbers more often associated with a wide receiver. In one game against Colgate last October, he caught 16 passes for 167 yards.
An Indianapolis native, Lawrie handled all of the Bulldogs' punting duties in 2003, averaging 35 yards per kick.
After setting a Yale record with 41 receptions in 2002, Lawrie shattered his own mark last year with a 72-catch season. He had at least six catches in each of his last seven collegiate games.
Lawrie is the third tight end the Bucs have drafted in the sixth round or later in the last four years. The team spent a seventh-round selection on North Carolina's Dauntae` Finger in 2001, then tried Nebraska's Tracey Wistrom in 2002.