Tampa Bay needed to draft a cornerback to groom as an eventual replacement for the legendary Ronde Barber, who turned 35 this month and is in the last year of his contract. The Buccaneers feel they got that player in Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis.
Lewis, who is 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, will challenge for the nickel corner role this year and has the size to match up with big receivers from the cornerback position. He gives head coach and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris the ability to create some mismatches in the secondary.
"I'm a tall, aggressive guy," Lewis said. "I'm going to fit in well with the Tampa 2. I'm a Tampa 2 guy. I'm very aggressive against receivers and I've got long arms. I'm a big-time playmaker who will make plays for the defense.
"I'm 6-foot-plus and weighing over 205 pounds, so I'm a unique guy. I'm able to stick with the bigger taller receivers in the red zone time or jump balls and deep balls."
Lewis, whose brother Hank Milligan played for five seasons in the NFL, started 36 games for the Commodores over three years and recorded 170 tackles (114 solo), 26 pass breakups, 10.5 tackles for loss, 10 interceptions, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
During his senior season, Lewis recorded five interceptions and eight pass breakups to lead the Commodores and finished with 41 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss to earn second-team All-SEC honors. Those numbers dipped a bit from his stellar junior campaign in which he had a career-best 76 tackles (51 solo), six pass breakups, five sacks, five INTs and two forced fumbles.
Don't think that Lewis is just a cover corner. He made it clear when talking to Tampa Bay area reporters that he will definitely come up and support the run.
"I'm going to come up and knock some heads off," Lewis said. "I'm ready to go to work."
Lewis is a big, tall athlete with 34-inch arms who ran a 4.51 at the combine and posted a 37-inch vertical jump. He said that he was surprised the Bucs took him in the third round.
"I got a little love from them, but I didn't expect this at all," said Lewis, who hails from Pompano Beach, Fla. "When I saw my name go across that board I was so excited. I get to stay close to home."
Lewis is excited to get the opportunity to learn how to play the cornerback position from one of the greatest Tampa 2 corners of all time in Barber, a player he may eventually replace as a starter.
"I wouldn't mind at all," Lewis said. "He's a vet. I'm going there and he knows the ins and outs of playing the whole cornerback position. I'm just ready to learn and take some coaching from a vet like him."