We’re just about one quarter of the way through the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, with Tampa Bay set to pick at No. 22 in round six (187th overall) here shortly. As was previously noted, the Buccaneers finally drafted an offensive player in round four, TE Luke Stocker, after focusing on improving the front seven of the defense in the opening three rounds. In the 5th, the Buccaneers turned their attention back to the defensive side of the ball with a very intriguing selection — strong safety Ahmad Black from the University of Florida.
A Lakeland, FL native, Black was a playmaking machine during his four years in Gainesville. As a sophomore in 2008, Black had seven regular season interceptions, then picked off his eighth pass of the year during the Gators’ BCS title game win over Oklahoma. Last year as a senior, Black garnered 2nd Team All American honors. Fittingly, Black had two more interceptions in his final collegiate game, including one he took back 80 yards for a touchdown in Florida’s Outback Bowl win over Penn State this past January. For his career, Black had 15 interceptions (including postseason).
So why did Black fall to the fifth round? Well, he’s undersized and lacks the speed you’d ideally like in your last line of defense players in the secondary. Black is just 5’9", yet his 40-yard dash times were in the low 4.8 range. Still, this could be a classic case of teams getting scared off by test results, and losing sight of the fact that the kid has a knack for the ball and a proven track record of making big plays for his team all over the field. Something tells me Bucs fans are going to be thrilled with this selection.
For more commentary and analysis on the pick, as well as the picks still to come in rounds six and seven for Tampa Bay, head on over to Bucs Nation to join the conversation.