The 2001 Buccaneer draft review
1
Kenyatta
Walker
3
Dwight
Smith
4
John
Howell
5
Russ
Hochstein
6
Jameel
Cook
6
Ellis
Wyms
7
Dauntae
Finger
7
Than
Merrill
7
Joe
Tafoya

RdSelectionPos
1(from Buffalo) Kenyatta WalkerT
1traded to Buffalo
2traded to Buffalo
3Dwight SmithCB
4John HowellS
5Russ HochsteinG
6Jameel CookFB
6Ellis WymsDE
7(from Atlanta) Dauntae FingerTE
7Than MerrillS
7(compensatory pick) Joe TafoyaDE
Click here to review the entire 2001 NFL draft
The Bucs had the 21st overall selection in the 2001 draft but made a draft-day deal with the Buffalo Bills to move up seven spots and select Florida offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker. The price was their second round pick but every draft pundit commended the move as potentially filling a real team need. The remaining rounds of the draft saw them select alternately 20th, 23rd, 22nd and 21st. The additional 7th round pick came from Atlanta for QB Eric Zeier.


1 - T - Kenyatta Walker - Florida - poor pick
Started for most of his six seasons in Tampa but never fully came to grips with the attitude necessary to play left tackle in the NFL and was always under fire from the coaching staff, media and fans alike in the Bay area. History has told us he was drafted out of necessity but it just didn't work for either party.

3 - CB - Dwight Smith - Akron - good pick
Spent two seasons as the Bucs' nickel back and will now always be known for becoming the first defensive player to score two touchdowns in a Super Bowl. Moved into the starting free safety role in 2003 and played two seasons as a starter before leaving for New Orleans as a free agent.

4 - S - John Howell - Colorado State - good pick
Played four seasons in Tampa Bay colours mostly as a back-up safety to John Lynch and also on special teams. Did make eight starts over that time because of injuries to starters ahead of him on the depth chart.

5 - G - Russ Hochstein - Nebraska - poor pick
Finally was active for a game in his second season as a Buc but it proved to be his only one as he was released in early 2002. Wound up with the Patriots and won two Super Bowl rings in 2003 and 2004 with the AFC East team.

6 - FB - Jameel Cook - Illinois - good pick
Solid blocking full back who proved an adept receiver in his limited opportunities to touch the ball for the Bucs. Eventually moved to Houston as a free agent in March 2006 and came back briefly with the Bucs at the end of 2008.

6 - DL - Ellis Wyms - Mississippi State - good pick
Has proven to be a solid member of the defensive line rotation and ranked third on the team in sacks in 2002 with 5.5.

7 - TE - Dauntae Finger - North Carolina - wasted pick
Was released during training camp - never played a down for the Bucs.

7 - S - Than Merrill - Yale - wasted pick
Was released during training camp - never played a down for the Bucs. Re-signed in the 2002 off-season however and played the 2003 NFL Europe season as part of the Bucs' allocation but was once again cut from the team in camp.

7 - DE - Joe Tafoya - wasted pick
Was released during training camp - never played a down for the Bucs. Wound up playing in Chicago and Seattle.

Summing up 2001
The need to draft a left tackle forced the Bucs' hand in trading their 2nd round pick to move up and take Kenyatta Walker. It just didn't work out. Dwight Smith and John Howell were both good picks and the two sixth round selections, Cook and Wyms, have both also contributed to the success of the Bucs over the last two years. So because of the Walker mistake, the overall rating for this draft is a low one.