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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs will have special guest make first draft pick announcement

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that there will be a neat moment on Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee, when their first round draft pick is announced to the world. That’s when a 19 year old High School senior in Georgia suffering from cancer will have his dream come true and make the Bucs pick official.

The team released a statement late Monday afternoon detailing the special announcement upcoming:

Kacey Reynolds, who is a senior at Banks County High School in Homer, Georgia, found out last Thursday through a video message sent to him at a school assembly by the Buccaneers and star wide receiver Mike Evans that he will need to be on hand backstage and ready to announce the Buccaneers first selection.

Reynolds who’s battling a very aggressive and a lot of times deadly form of cancer, known as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, has been a Bucs fan his entire life. And, he used the outstanding organization, “Make-a-Wish,” which has granted tens of thousands of wishes of sick and, even terminally ill, children for decades to help make his dream come true.

“I was completely shocked when they played the video of Mike Evans and he said my name,” Reynolds said in the Bucs statement. “That was the minute I realized my wish was coming true.”

Reynolds will be accompanied by his parents on an all-expenses-paid trip to be part of the process on Thursday evening. The Buccaneers are currently slated to pick 5th overall, which if they keep the pick, means Reynolds will be onstage probably in the first hour of the live broadcast.

And even if the Buccaneers elect trade down in the draft, which they’ve done two of the last three years, Rogers will still be on standby for whenever the pick by GM Jason Licht, Coach Bruce Arians & Co. happens.

The NFL has frequently utilized different individuals, who have either requested something like Make-a-Wish to make an NFL draft pick or won a contest through the league, and then, get to step up to the podium and make a first-round selection.

In recent years, the league has also gone to allowing the teams themselves to designate former great players, coaches and others to make the announcements on their subsequent draft picks on Night two of the draft and beyond.

To that end, Tampa Bay has already announced that former 1994 first-round pick Trent Dilfer will make their second round selection and former Super Bowl XXXVII MVP and former Bucs fourth round pick, defensive back Dexter Jackson will make their third round pick Friday night.

But, as much as they may get a thrill out of re-living their moment of being drafted by the Bucs, it will be tough to top what Reynolds is getting to do, too.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Several Bucs and Jaguars make PFWA All Rookie Team

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Pro Football Writers Association unveiled their 2019 All-Rookie team Tuesday, and there were four state NFL players on the list.

The PFWA selected 22 total players for offense and defense, plus skill position players for special teams.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two of their defenders made the 11-person defensive list. First round pick outside linebacker, Devin White, who was named the Rookie of the month by the NFL for both November and December is there. White came on strong in the second half of the season, including scoring two defensive touchdowns on fumble returns down the stretch.

Also on the list was Buccaneers rookie defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting, who’s play improved as the season went on. Murphy-Bunting also recorded a game-clinching interception return for a touchdown against Detroit in December.

For the Jaguars, their first-round pick Josh Allen is also part of the all-defensive unit. Allen recorded 10.5 sacks and had another 11 tackles for loss in his inaugural season in Jacksonville. The PFWAA also placed Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor on their all rookie offensive team. Taylor was solid as a starter on the right side of the Jags line.

Although it’s not surprising is that the writers selected former number one overall pick Kyler Murray of Arizona, as their top rookie quarterback, there was an argument to be made for Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew at that position.

Minshew won six games as a starter, including leading the Jaguars to three different last-minute victories, which was one more than what Murray had this season despite him having better stats and more starts.

PFWA did not place a Dolphin on any of their all-rookie teams. Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, whom they took in the first round, could have received some consideration as he played solidly this season.

The writers selected defensive end  Nick Bosa of the 49ers, not only at their Defensive player of the year, but their overall Rookie of the Year for 2019. They did choose Oakland running back Josh Jacobs, as their offensive Rookie of the Year.

The NFL will announce its own all-rookie teams and Rookies of the year prior to the playing of Super Bowl 54 in Miami next month.

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