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Bucs address D-line needs with 4th-round picks
Posted Apr 27, 2013 by Roy Cummings
Updated Apr 27, 2013 at 02:50 PM
BY ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed their need for help along the defensive line in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
The Bucs trade up to the third spot in the round to take Illinois tackle Akeem Spence and then sat tight at No. 126 overall to take Michigan State end William Gholston.
The 6-foot, 307-pound Spence is considered to be superb run stopper who possesses the ability to get into the backfield and breakup plays while the 6-6, 281-pound Gholston has the ability to become a dynamic pass rusher.
Spence recorded 17.5 tackles for loss during his three-year starting career with the Illini while Gholston recorded 9.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss his last two years with the Spartans.
Gholston also set a school record for defensive lineman last year by breaking up 10 passes, a skill he attributed to a technique taught to him by his coaches during practice.
“We were taught in practice to put up the same hand that the quarterback used to release the ball and we did it every day and with so much repetition, it became a habit and we were just able to swat down the ball,’’ Gholston said.
Gholston, who was suspended for a game as a senior for a game in 2011 for punching a Michigan player during a game, has been criticized for a lack of consistency. There is nothing inconsistent about Spence, though.
He’s been lauded for his effort and consistency getting into the backfield and working his way down the line to make plays against the run, though he does lack ideal pass rush skills, scouts say.
“I play with a lot of power,” Spence said. “I am real strong. I have a great first step. What you notice on film is that I make a lot of plays chasing those receivers down from behind. Knocking the ball out or just playing from sideline to sideline. As you can see on film I play real hard.’’
The Bucs spent their fifth-round pick, No. 147 overall, on Buffalo outside linebacker Steve Means, a three-year starter who finished his college career with 18.5 sack, the fourth-most in school history.