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NFL draft

Rays look to re-stock talent pool with MLB Draft

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With far less fanfare and the hoopla that surrounds the NFL Draft, Major League Baseball will conduct the first two rounds of their version beginning Monday. The Tampa Bay Rays have the fourth overall pick. Drafting that high, Tampa Bay has several “can’t miss” prospects from which to choose. That does not guarantee the next star player, but they have had some success over the decade. Melvin E. (B.J.) Upton was their top pick in 2002, followed by Delmon Young…

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Jeremy McNichols has a chance to be another fifth-round success story

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It has been one week since the NFL Draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been credited with pulling off a “steal” in tight end O.J. Howard from Alabama. Having a solid first round pick is great, but does not measure a successful draft. On the other hand, a first round “bust” often defines a disaster. Let us assume Howard will be the NFL force the Bucs and other pundits project. How did Tampa Bay do in the later rounds? That…

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Miami’s Brad Kaaya, UF’s Caleb Brantley among NFL Draft’s biggest losers

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Most of the Miami, Florida State and Florida players were chosen at or near their projections in the NFL Draft with two glaring exceptions. Yes, Dalvin Cook was thought to be a first-rounder, but the other state players drafted in the second or third round went as expected. The exceptions were Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley and Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya. Brantley was not taken until the first pick of the 6th round by the Cleveland Browns while Kaaya lasted…

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Indianapolis Colts take USF’s Marlon Mack in 4th round

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University of South Florida running back Marlon Mack dropped a little lower than he hoped, but now knows where he will be heading to training camp in three months. The Indianapolis Colts took him with the next-to-last pick of the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Some mock drafts had him slotted for the third round. Mack was a first-team all-American Athletic Conference selection in all three years that he played in Tampa. Over that span he averaged 100 rushing…

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Florida State RB Dalvin Cook entices Vikes to ‘take a swing’

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After sitting out of the first round, the Minnesota Vikings didn’t want to wait any longer. Dalvin Cook was still available, the kind of dynamic running back Minnesota drafted 10 years ago and just recently let go. The Vikings traded up seven spots to the 41st overall pick Friday night and snagged Cook, the Florida State star whose stellar college career came with off-the-field questions. They sent one of their fourth-round selections to Cincinnati to move ahead in the second…

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Day 3 dandies: Jake Butt, Samaje Perine provide late-round draft value

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Four rounds of the NFL draft left and plenty of talented players to go around. Remember, Dak Prescott was selected last season in the fourth round by the Dallas Cowboys. These picks are plenty important and here are some players who could provide some second-day value on Saturday. Jake Butt, TE, 6-foot-5, 246 lbs., Michigan Butt probably would have been picked in the first two days of the draft, but he blew out his knee in the Orange Bowl against…

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St. Pete native, UCF star Shaquill Griffin’s story enters next chapter

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The Seattle Seahawks’ choice of Central Florida defensive back Shaquill Griffin in the third round of the NFL Draft wasn’t earth shattering, but it is a good story. From a relative unknown to a third-round selection, the Griffin story has several components. It doesn’t hurt that he is an outstanding football player as well. Not many knew all that much about the graduate of St. Petersburg’s Lakewood High. Coming out of high school, he made a vow that he would…

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