Tampa Bay wasted little time in getting to work signing their 2012 draft class, inking both seventh-round selections, TE Drake Dunsmore and RB Michael Smith.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they have signed both of their 2012 seventh-round NFL Draft selections, TE Drake Dunsmore and RB Michael Smith, to four-year contracts.
Dunsmore was selected 233rd overall out of Northwestern University. He started in 29 of the 50 games he played for the Wildcats, recording 143 receptions for 1,567 yards and 14 touchdowns, which ranked as the fourth-most in program history.
As a senior, Dunsmore was the team's second-leading receiver with 45 catches for 522 yards and six touchdowns, earning consensus first-team All-Big Ten and the Big Ten's Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year award. Dunsmore was also named a John Mackey Award semifinalist, which is given to the nation's top tight end.
Last Saturday night general manager Mark Dominik talked about Dunsmore when detailing the final picks.
He is very smart, catches the ball well, runs excellent routes and a guy we really think can help us at that position,” Dominik said. “We thought we wanted another pass-catching TE because of the way the league has evolved and how important that position is. We felt like he was perfect addition to wrap up our whole draft. Again, another leader on this team another high-character man and a guy that we're really excited to add on."
Smith was selected 212th overall from Utah State University, where he played in 28 games with 12 starts. He recorded 184 carries for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns, the ninth-most in school history, while also adding 38 receptions for 424 yards and four touchdowns. His career 7.1 yards per carry average ranked as the best-mark in school history with a minimum of 150 rushes.
Smith had a breakout season as a senior, rushing 114 times for 870 yards and nine touchdowns, to go with 16 receptions for 181 yards and two scores. His 7.6 yards per carry average ranked first in the WAC and third in the nation. It was also the second-highest single-season mark in Utah State history. Smith earned MVP honors in his final two collegiate games, recording a career-high and USU bowl-record 157 rushing yards and two scores in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and later rushing for 124 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries, including a 80-yard touchdown run, in the inaugural Players All-Star Classic.
Head coach Greg Schiano talked about Smith during the recent three-day rookie mini-camp.
“He is fast, I tell you that, and explosive,” Schiano said. “And you see it out here but when you watch the video you really see it. He’s moving at a high rate of speed, but the thing that’s interesting is, all the running backs have pretty good speed, even the free agent guys we brought in. So it’s been fun to watch. And that’s not always the case. Sometimes a guy’s good at this or he’s good at that, but these guys all have some burst – which is nice.”
Smith was excited to join Tampa Bay after being drafted last weekend.
“It is a great opportunity,” Smith said. “Whole new coaching staff and stuff. I know they drafted a running back though – Martin from Boise State – and I feel like it is a great opportunity for me to play as a running back [and] on special teams and be a major impact in the National Football League on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and create mismatches on offenses.
“Just watch the film. My college piece says I am very patient. I am not selfish, and when the opportunity came forward, I just took and made the most of it. Through special teams, through whatever they wanted to use me at, I just made myself more valuable for the team and for myself to help the team win.”
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