The Bucs have taken seven defensive linemen in the first round through the years, including DT Warren Sapp, their most at any position
The National Football League Draft is, in many ways, a game of numbers.
Receivers run 4.3 40's and move up five spots. Linebackers weigh in at 210 and move down two rounds. Offensive linemen bench press 225 pounds 20 times and earn an extra million dollars. Five teams in front of you and then you'll have your 15 minutes on the clock. Hopefully one of the three quarterbacks you have graded at 6.0 falls to your spot.
The draft commences on Saturday and will likely run a combined 16 or 17 hours over the weekend. Get ready for an onslaught of shuttle times, vertical leaps, heights, weights and wing spans. Be prepared for teams to work the clock for their 15 minutes trying to jump up three slots or slide down five. Watch as the game of numbers unfolds.
We'll get you started with a smattering of draft facts by the numbers, from zero to 20 and beyond, with a slant towards Buccaneer history.
0 - NFL games played by HB Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago, the first player ever drafted into the NFL. Berwanger was selected by Philadelphia to begin the 1936 draft, though his signings rights were later acquired by the Chicago Bears. When Berwanger and the Bears couldn't agree on a potential salary, Berwanger choose to go into sales instead. Berwanger, FB Corbett Davis of Indiana and RB Ernie Davis of Syracuse are the only three number-one-overall picks never to play in the NFL.
1 - First-day picks by the Buccaneers in the last eight drafts who have not started at least one game for the team. Tampa Bay made 23 first, second and third-round picks from 1995-2002, and not only did all of them make the team, but all but one has started at least one game, if kickers are counted as starters. The lone exception is WR Marquise Walker, who missed most of his rookie season last fall due to injury and could make it an even 23 for 23 at some point.
2 - Hours it took to complete the first round of the draft in 1972. Last year's first round clocked in at a very deliberate five hours and 48 minutes, the longest since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994.
3 - Times the same school has produced the first two picks in the draft, most recently Penn State with DE Courtney Brown and LB LaVar Arrington in 2000. The others: Nebraska, with WR Irving Fryar (1) and T Dean Steinkuhler (2) in 1984 and Michigan State, with DT Bubba Smith (1) and RB Clint Jones (2) in 1967
4 - Kickers/punters selected in the first round in draft history: K/P Ray Guy (punted in the NFL), K Steve Little, K/P Russell Erxleben, K Sebastian Janikowski.
5 - Notre Dame players drafted first overall, the most for any school. USC will match that number in 2003 if - when - Cincinnati takes him to begin the weekend. Notre Dame has also had the most first-round picks overall, 59, by one over USC.
6 - Quarterbacks taken in the first round in 1983, considered the best single class of passers of all-time. John Elway was the first overall pick that year, but Dan Marino slid to number 27, the second-to-last pick of the round. The other four, in order of selection: Todd Blackledge (7), Jim Kelly (14), Tony Eason (15) and Ken O'Brien (24).
7 - Defensive linemen selected by the Buccaneers in the first round in 27 previous drafts, the most at any position. The Bucs have never picked a tight end, safety, kicker or punter in the first round.
8 - Defensive linemen taken in the first round last year. There were nine the year before and the 2003 class of defensive linemen will probably do just as well. This has become the most coveted position in the draft.
9 - Years since the Bucs exercised a top-10 pick. Since taking QB Trent Dilfer sixth overall in 1994, Tampa Bay has not picked higher than 12th since. The team was slated to pick seventh in 1995 and eight in 1997, but traded down on both occasions.
10 - Number-one overall picks who have gone on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (so far). The last was Earl Campbell, in 1978. One Buc is included on that list: Lee Roy Selmon, of course, the first pick in 1976. The others: "Bullet" Bill Dudley, Charley Trippi, Chuck Bednarik, Paul Hornung, Buck Buchanan, Ron Yary, O.J. Simpson and Terry Bradshaw.
11 - First-round picks that changed hands at some point in 2002. Since 1980, the draft has had an average of exactly 10 traded first-round picks per year, and the last time there were less than 10 such deals was in 1998, when there were eight.
12 - Underclassmen drafted in the first round last year, one off the record. There were 13 underclassmen picked in the first round in both 1997 and 2001 and no less than six in any year since 1992.
13 - Times the first overall pick has been traded in draft history. The Bucs were the perpetrators of two of those deals, sending off the top picks in 1978 and 1984, both times in transactions that involved quarterbacks. In 1978, Tampa Bay traded down from first overall to take QB Doug Williams at 17, allowing Houston to use the top pick on RB Earl Campbell. In 1983, the Bucs sent their '84 first-round pick to Cincinnati for QB Jack Thompson, then proceeded to go 2-14 to earn the top overall selection. Cincinnati eventually dealt the pick to New England, which took WR Irving Fryar.
14 - Tight ends drafted by the Buccaneers, all-time. Tampa Bay has never spent higher than a third-round pick on a tight end, and the last drafted TE to make the Bucs' roster was Patrick Hape in 1997.
15 - Players drafted out of Division-II Texas A&M-Kingsville since 1982. Three of those picks were exercised by the Buccaneers, who took TAMUK G Rod Mounts in the 11th round in 1989, DE Jeff Rodgers in the seventh round in 1995 and CB Al Harris in the 6th round in 1997. CB Darrell Green, drafted in the first round in 1983, is the most distinguished player on the list, but that group also includes such notables as RB Heath Sherman, RB Johnny Bailey, T Earl Dotson and G Jermane Mayberry.
16 - Offensive tackles drafted overall in 2002. A very difficult position to fill, there was only one tackle drafted for every two NFL teams last year, and only eight drafted in the first four rounds.
17 - Players drafted out of Texas in 1984, the most ever for one school in a single year. Texas was 11-1 in 1983. Miami was tops with 11 last year and will likely hit double digits again this weekend.
18 - Seasons that DE Bruce Smith, the first overall pick in 1985, has played in the NFL. Last year, Smith was the most distant first-overall pick still playing in the NFL. He was drafted one year before Bo Jackson, three years before Troy Aikman and seven years before Steve Emtman, all out of the league.
19 - Pick at which the Minnesota Vikings selected Randall McDaniel, a guard out of Arizona State, in 1988. Guards are picked relatively rarely in the first round – only one last year, only one the year before and none in 2000 – as teams focus on finding a premier tackle in the early going. In addition, some of the better guards in the league are converted tackles. However, a wise pick at the guard position can still pay off in the first round, as McDaniel proved with his 12 Pro Bowl appearances. This year's consensus top pick at the guard spot is Iowa's Eric Steinbach, who may come off the board as high as the 10th overall selection.
20 - Running backs drafted before Terrell Davis in 1995, including fullbacks. The first pick of that draft – Ki-Jana Carter – was a running back, and four more backs followed in the opening round – Tyrone Wheatley, Napoleon Kaufman, James Stewart and Rashaan Salaam. Among the other backs picked up before Davis were Ray Zellars, Joe Aska, Aaron Hayden and Dino Philyaw. The last back to crack the 2,000-yard mark in a single season, Davis could eventually land in the Hall of Fame.
24 - Sacks by Arizona State DE Terrell Suggs in 2002. Likely to be the first defensive end drafted, Suggs has nevertheless seen his stock drop in most mock drafts due to workouts that produced less-than-desired 40-yard-dash times. That speed 'issue' didn't keep Suggs from making 44 sacks in three college seasons.
64 - The lowest first pick ever exercised by a Super Bowl Champion team, if the Buccaneers stay put. It has been seven years since the defending champs did not make a first-round selection the following April (Dallas, in 1996 following Super Bowl XXX).
252 - Schools that have produced an NFL draft pick. Of those 252, 79 have produced exactly one pick. Only two Canadian schools have produced NFL draft picks.
260 - Pick number last year of LB Dominique Stevenson, the lowest-drafted player to see action in a regular-season game in 2002. Stevenson, the second-to-last pick overall by Buffalo, made the team and appeared in four games.
467 - Players drafted out of the SEC since 1990, the most for any conference. The Pac 10 comes in second at 420 and the Big Ten is third at 402. That is a bit deceiving in that the Big 12 is all the way down at 8th (167) because it first came into existence in 1997. When one counts the SWC and the Big 8, the two conferences that formed the Big 12, the number rises to 521.
4,000 - Fans who will be let into Madison Square Garden to watch this weekend's draft in person. A good portion of those 4,000 will be there to boo whoever the New York Jets select.