Gerald McCoy figures he owes Mark Dominik a big hug the next time he sees the Bucs general manager.
One year after selecting defensive tackles McCoy and Brian Price with their first two draft picks, the Bucs doubled down on defensive ends. Tampa Bay chose Iowa's Adrian Clayborn in Thursday's opening round and followed that up Friday with Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers in Round 2.
"That's my coach (Raheem Morris) and GM saying to me that we believe in you,'' McCoy said by phone from Oklahoma after the Bucs used the 51st overall pick on Bowers, who posted 15.5 sacks as a junior last season.
"That's those guys saying, 'Gerald, we're going to give you some help.' I'm overwhelmed with joy.''
The Bucs finished 10-6 last year, despite a pass rush that generated only 26 sacks.
"Da'Quan and Adrian have shown they know how to get to the quarterback,'' said McCoy, who registered 3.0 sacks and 17 quarterback pressures before missing the final three games of his rookie season with a biceps injury.
As part of an interior rotation with Price and third-year-pro Roy Miller, McCoy is eager to join his new teammates up front and get started.
"I just called Da'Quan, and he's ready,'' said McCoy. "Adrian's ready. I'm ready, and so is Roy and Brian. We're five young guys who can't wait to go to work.''
Former Bucs S John Lynch was chosen by the team to announce its second-round selection at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
"It was really nice and quite an honor,'' said Lynch, who played 11 of his 15 pro seasons in Tampa. "I think it's pretty special what's going on down there in Tampa. They got two really good football players with their first two picks.''
Bowers doesn't forget his mentors
When Bowers' phone rang on Friday night, he saw more than an unfamiliar 813 area code.
Bowers saw former Buccaneers DE Gaines Adams and Dennis Bowers, his father, when he looked at the phone. Adams died in January of 2010 after going into cardiac arrest, and Bowers' father died after suffering a seizure the summer before the 2010 season.
"(Adams) and my father were the only two faces I could see when I answered that phone," Bowers said. "The two guys that helped me to be the man that I am."
Adams was Tampa Bay's first-round pick in 2007 before being traded to Chicago in 2009. Bowers wore the same college jersey number that Adams did – No. 93 – and he looks forward to following in his mentor's footsteps in Tampa.
"How ironic, (Adams) playing at Tampa and me getting drafted by Tampa just like him, coming from the same school and being so close. I would have never though that would happen in a million years.
"I definitely wore his number to keep up the tradition of the defensive ends. He was like a big brother to me. I thought the world of him."
What a rush
Clayborn found himself part of NFL draft history on Thursday.
Six defensive ends were selected in the first round, tied for the most in draft annals. The last time it occurred was in 1992.
J.J. Watt (No. 11 overall, Houston), Robert Quinn (No. 14, St. Louis), Corey Liuget (No. 18, San Diego), Clayborn (No. 20, Tampa Bay), Cameron Jordan (No. 24, New Orleans) and Cameron Heyward (No. 31, Pittsburgh) were selected in the first round.
Clayborn is the first Iowa player selected by the Bucs in the 35-year history of the franchise. … The Bucs have 26 of their own draft picks on the roster, including 23 from the past five drafts. …Tampa Bay hasn't selected a defensive player that went on to earn a Pro Bowl berth since choosing CB Ronde Barber in the third round of the 1997 draft. …Morris wore a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey to address reporters after the team's second-round pick.
Ira Kaufman, Anwar S. Richardson