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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

They Made the Call!

Our intrepid replacement G.M.s picked a masterful first round in just one hour…match that, NFL!

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Surrogate General Manager Mike Byrnes selected Michigan offensive tackle Jeff Backus for Tampa Bay in the Mock Draft

On Tuesday evening, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, sharp, Mr. David Swanson handed his index card to Paul Tagliabue. On it was written: Vick, Michael, QB, Virginia Tech.

The 2001 NFL Draft was underway!

Well, at least the Buccaneers.com version was in motion. A month-long contest called You Make the Call reached its exciting conclusion Tuesday evening when 31 surrogate General Managers conducted a mock draft on Buccaneers.com. Michael Vick was the expected first pick and Nebraska C Dominic Raiola went 31st to Baltimore and General Manager Mark Singley. In between, our G.M.s-for-a-day handled their moment in the War Room magnificently.

After Mr. Swanson's pick was reported by Tagliabue, Kristin Gromer was on the clock for the Arizona Cardinals. With little hesitation, Gromer selected Florida DT Gerard Warren. Her rationale was clear. "The Cardinals need help on the D-line," said Gromer, "particularly since the Bucs stole away Simeon Rice."

Some other highlights from the You Make the Call Mock Draft, which was conducted in a private chat room and, with two-minute time limits on each pick in effect, was completed in just over one hour (a pick-by-pick draft chart can be found below):

· With the eighth pick, General Manager Luke Easterling looked to provide young Chicago QB Cade McNown with an instant running game by selecting TCU RB LaDainian Tomlinson. Mississippi's Deuce McAllister was already off the board, having gone to another team longing to improve its running game, New England, at pick #6.

· New England's selection of McAllister also effected the 11th pick, which was held by Carolina and G.M. Jay Collman. Though he had planned on nabbing McAllister, his backup plan proved to be Miami LB Dan Morgan.

· Buffalo General Manager Kate Midkiff clearly had done extensive research regarding the 14th pick on the draft. When the Bills hit the clock, Midkiff quickly tabbed Florida State DE Jamal Reynolds. "Reynolds, because they are switching from a three-man front to four and have lost starters," said Midkiff. "Coach wants them big, lean and quick."

· Buffalo's pick disappointed Seattle G.M. Mark Emery. Emery, an Eagles fan who later shed his G.M. coat and tie to join the gallery and, uh, evaluate the Philadelphia pick, had a Plan A of Reynolds. However, having polled Seahawks fans over the previous week, Emery felt comfortable going with another defensive end, California's Andre Carter. "They wanted either a cornerback or a defensive lineman," said Emery. "I see DL as a greater need, considering the age (of the returning players) and the free agent losses."

· Immediately after Emery's pick, the Detroit Lions got some help for their secondary, thanks to General Manager James Carotenuti. Actually, Carotenuti had hoped to pick up G Steve Hutchinson, but Hutchinson went to Jacksonville at the 13th pick on the decision of Jaguars G.M. Janet Grdinich. In true War Room drama, Carotenuti pondered his pick until less than 10 seconds remained on the clock for the Lions.

· After the Jets selected Miami DT Damione Lewis (G.M. Richard Manzano), Rams General Manager David Jolley was on the clock. Dramatically, the Rams' War Room in St. Louis had lost its telephone connection to New York, but Jolley acted quickly and just beat the time limit with an e-mail, selecting Wisconsin CB Jamar Fletcher for the Rams' rebuilding defense.

· That put Tampa Bay on the clock, and the largely Tampa Bay-based crowd packing Madison Square Garden began voicing it's opinion. With chants of 'BACKUS! BACKUS!' rising up from several corners, Buccaneers G.M. Mike Byrnes pleased the hometown faithful with this announcement: "With the 21st pick in the 2001 draft, YOUR TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS select...JEFF BACKUS- OT- MICHIGAN."

· Emery, now in full Eagles garb, was standing by when Philadelphia G.M. Gerry LeCompte went on the clock. After some time for deliberation, LeCompte selected Wisconsin WR Chris Chambers. The Eagles fans reacted immediately. "Boooooooooooooo," said fan spokesman Emery, following with, "Booooooooooooooooo," and "Booooooooooooo."

· The Rams actually had a second selection in the first round, and earlier G.M. David Jolley had turned the reins over to his successor, Matthew Cox, for the 29th pick. Though Cox had hoped to nab Damione Lewis, Jets G.M. Richard Manzano had killed those plans at the 29th pick. Cox settled on another defensive tackle, Texas' Shaun Rogers.

There day in the War Room over, our 31 surrogate G.M.s handed the reins back over to Rich McKay and his peers. On Saturday, they can tune into the real NFL draft to see how well their picks match up. Any participant who correctly predicts the choice in his or her slot wins a prize and is entered into the drawing for the Grand Prize. Those that correctly predict selections later in the round have their entries into the Grand Prize drawing weighted to reflect the more difficult choice.

The entire You Make the Call Mock Draft on Buccaneers.com:

TeamG.M.PickSchool
1. San DiegoDavid SwansonQB Michael VickVirginia Tech
2. ArizonaKristin GromerDT Gerard WarrenFlorida
3. ClevelandChris FisherWR David TerrellMichigan
4. CincinnatiSean FowlerT Leonard DavisTexas
5. AtlantaRene GarciaDE Justin SmithMissouri
6. New EnglandPatrick GunterRB Deuce McAllisterMississippi
7. SeattleLinda WiseWR Koren RobinsonNorth Carolina St.
8. ChicagoLuke EasterlingRB LaDainian TomlinsonTCU
9. San FranciscoChris YountT Kenyatta WalkerFlorida
10. Green BayAngela RegisterDT Richard SeymourGeorgia
11. CarolinaJay CollmanLB Dan MorganMiami
12. Kansas CityDavid CrowellQB Drew BreesPurdue
13. JacksonvilleJanet GrdinichG Steve HutchinsonMichigan
14. BuffaloKate MidkiffDE Jamal ReynoldsFlorida State
15. WashingtonLarry SledgeWR Rod GardnerClemson
16. PittsburghGary HaagDT Marcus StroudGeorgia
17. SeattleMark EmeryDE Andre CarterCalifornia
18. DetroitJames CarotenutiCB Fred SmootMississippi State
19. N.Y. JetsRichard ManzanoDT Damione LewisMiami
20. St. LouisDavid JolleyCB Jamar FletcherWisconsin
21. Tampa BayMike ByrnesT Jeff BackusMichigan
22. IndianapolisRandy PogueCB Nate ClementsOhio State
23. New OrleansPatricio Gonzalez-Q.WR Freddie MitchellUCLA
24. DenverJon EureT Maurice WilliamsMichigan
25. PhiladelphiaGerry LeCompteWR Chris ChambersWisconsin
26. MiamiBrian MercerWR Santana MossMiami
27. MinnesotaBrent IsaacsCB Willie MiddlebrooksMinnesota
28. OaklandClinton MillerS Derrick GibsonFlorida State
29. St. LouisMatthew CoxDT Shaun RogersTexas
30. N.Y. GiantsLarry SparkmanCB Will AllenSyracuse
31. BaltimoreMark SingleyC Dominic RaiolaNebraska
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