Bucs Draft Picks: Before They Were Pros

Some pretty good stories can come from having a libation or two with friends. Someone at my table of distinguished gentlemen asked if I could pen a piece on the Bucs draft choices and how highly they were regarded during the recruiting process in high school.  This isn’t one of those “stars don’t matter” type of stories so don’t you recruitniks worry, it’s just a simple recruiting background check on the six players that the Buccaneers drafted over the weekend and a couple of the undrafted free agents and camp invitees.

1st Round Selection: Mike Evans (7th Overall, WR, Texas A&M)

Evans was a middle-high three-star prospect out of Ball High School in Galveston, Texas according to ESPN.com and Rivals. He was also listed slightly lower as a basketball prospect.

According to a blurb from the ESPN.com scouting report: “Evans is a mammoth wide receiver that we feel will likely end up as an H-back or tight end at the next level given his frame and significant room for size development….Catches the football in a crowd and fights for every inch of turf after the reception…Wins the one-on-one battles and knows when to get up in the air to snatch the football.”

2nd Round Selection: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (38th Overall, TE, Washington)

Seferian-Jenkins, out of Gig Harbor (Wash.) High School, was widely considered the best tight end in the Class of 2010.  “ASJ” was a five-star prospect according to Scout.com and a four-star prospect by Rivals and ESPN Recruiting.

From the Scout.com scouting report: “Is almost always open because of his huge frame. He doesn’t have to get separation to go over a defender (or 2) that is staying with him…A jumbo athlete, Seferian-Jenkins could play any number of positions on the college level from tight end to offensive or defensive line.

3rd Round Selection: Charles Sims (69th overall, RB, West Virginia)

Sims, out of Westbury High School in Houston, was a mid-level three-star prospect in the class of 2009. He was originally committed to Texas Tech before flipping to Houston (he would eventually finish his career at West Virginia). Sims dealt with a wide variety of issues in his senior year from an appendix injury to damage from Hurricane Ike.

From the ESPN.com scouting report: “If a college program is patient with Sims’ development, they are going to get a future workhorse in the backfield. He is tall, athletically-built and his wiry, rangy frame still has much physical developing to do….Overall, Sims’ best football is definitely ahead of him and he could eventually bring the total package to the table as a mid-major college runner.

5th Round Selection: Kadeem Edwards (143rd overall, OG, Tennessee State)

Edwards was an unranked prospect from Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida. He had offers from Tennessee State and New Mexico State. Edwards was part of the Class 6A state championship team in 2008 that included major prospects Ray Ray Armstrong (Miami), Andre DeBose (Florida) and Dyron Dye (Miami).

To get more on Edwards, I reached out to long-time talent evaluator and head of Elite Scouting Services, a nationally-based high-school to college scouting service, Charles Fishbein and even he couldn’t remember much about Edwards.

“Seriously Corey, I went to Seminole High School and must have met a dozen players off that team but he wasn’t one of them. To think that team was built around those three kids that flamed out in college but this guy fights to get noticed in the Ohio Valley Conference and gets drafted. Someone always falls through the cracks.”

5th Round Selection: Kevin Pamphile (149th overall, OT, Purdue)

Pamphile was a two-star prospect out of Miami Central High School according to Rivals.com and unranked by Scout and ESPN. The ESPN.com scouting report simply says “He is a long snapper”. Pamphile was just 230-235 pounds when he committed to Purdue over Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State. Checking in with Charles Fishbein for a deeper scouting report and this is what he remembered:

“He was a basketball player that went out to play football for the first time as a senior in high school. He played on the defensive line at Central. He was a good looking kid with some athleticism but he was pretty raw overall. He’s obviously put on a lot of weight to make the full transition. I’m sure the programs considering him loved his tools and athleticism and figured he’s worth a flyer on trying to develop. Miami Central had three or four kids drafted this year and will have 10-12 over the next few years from the efforts of their former coach, now USF running backs coach Telly Lockette.”

6th Round Selection: Robert Herron (185th overall, WR, Wyoming)

Herron is a tremendous story of perseverance and grit. Out of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, Herron wasn’t ranked nor was he on the radar with anyone before signing with Wyoming in the summer of 2010, missing the recruiting period and even the summer camp with his new college program. Despite missing all the transitional time at Wyoming, Herron was a major contributor for four seasons.

He already has great ties to the Bucs franchise as quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo actually brought him to Wyoming while he was recruiting coordinator there and safety Dashon Goldson befriended Herron during his senior year at Dorsey and helped him get new cleats. Herron said he hoped to repay Goldson one day and now he’ll have the opportunity. After you read the full Bleacher Report story (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1936140-wyoming-wide-receiver-robert-herron-never-had-it-easy) you will be rooting for this sixth-round selection too.

As for undrafted free agents and camp invites

Offensive lineman Matt Patchan probably got off the snap better than any lineman I had see up to that point in my line. The Armwood High and Freedom High prospect ranged between four and five-stars depending on the website and was thought to be as close to a can’t-miss prospect as the Pouncey Brothers were. Unfortunately Patchan struggled with injuries while at Florida and never really developed into what he was suppose to become before transferring to Boston College….His teammate at Armwood, Ryne Giddins, was the biggest recruit to South Florida at the time he committed and was expected to lift the program’s standards. The four-star prospect was a tremendous edge presence in high school but could never compliment those pass-rush skills with run defense to become a more complete defensive end. Giddins was just a camp invitee so he will have a lot of work to do….Solomon Patton, a former four-star prospect from Murphy High School in Mobile, Ala., probably could have posted big numbers this season had he been on an offense with any sort of competence. Unfortunately he wasn’t and in a draft deep with wide receivers his failure to stand out put him on the backburner…Chaz Sutton was a highly-regarded prospect ranging from high three stars to low four stars from Jenkins High School in Savannah, Georgia.