The Tampa Bay Buccaneers used their second and final pick of the second round to select Oregon State safety Sabby Piscitelli.
Piscitelli grew up in Boca Raton, Fla. and graduated from Boca Raton High School. Needless to say, he’s looking forward to returning home to play football for the Buccaneers.
“I can’t even describe the feeling right now,” said Piscitelli. “It’s actually two dreams come true – one playing in the NFL and two coming back home to play. I had to go so far for college because I’m from Boca Raton, Florida. I’m looking forward to coming home to my home state to play.”
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Piscitelli has good ball and cover skills. He possesses solid instincts and closing speed. He probably could play linebacker in a Cover 2 scheme, and Piscitelli’s fiery playing style reminds some of former Bucs safety John Lynch.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise since Piscitelli grew up idolizing Tampa Bay’s former Pro Bowl safety, who is currently playing with the Denver Broncos.
“John Lynch is one of my all-time favorite safeties,” said Piscitelli. “I always watch him play. The Tampa 2 is always something I love to play. I played the Cover 2 in high school. I didn’t play that much Cover 2 in college, but I think it’s one of the best defenses out there. I think I can fit in right away and make plays for them.”
That's exactly what Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden wanted to hear. The Bucs need playmaking safeties and that was one of the big attractions about Piscitelli's game is that he is always around the ball.
“There’s a lot of upside," Gruden said. "He’s Pac-10 all-conference. Watching him against USC, the number one team in the country, Oregon State beat them this year. He’s a big reason why. The guy played tremendous football in key situations. He has missed a couple of tackles, I think that’s been pretty well-documented. He will hit you. He seems to enjoy it and he plays the game with speed. They do a lot of things at Oregon State, a credit to their defensive scheme, they have a lot of systems that he’s handled well. He’s been a physical tackler and he’s intercepted and recovered a lot of balls. He’s an opportunistic guy that we need back there.
“He’s not going to be a house mouse, that’s for sure. He’s going to be a guy that is very confident in his abilities. He loves to play; he loves to compete. He’s from Boca Raton, so I think it’s a good fit for us and a good fit for him to bring him back to the Florida area.”
Piscitelli started 36 of the 48 career games he played in at Oregon State, notching 178 tackles (130 solo), 15 interceptions, 29 passes defensed and three fumble recoveries.
As a senior, Piscitelli was a second-team All-American selection and recorded notched 64 tackles, five interceptions, 12 passes defensed and one sack. He also earned All-Pack 10 Conference first-team honors.
Tampa Bay safeties Jermaine Phillips and Will Allen struggled in 2006. While the Bucs’ safety positions are considered interchangeable, Piscitelli was a strong safety at Oregon State and is expected to compete with Phillips for a starting job.
Piscitelli fared well in his agility tests, running a 4.44 40-yard dash, bench-pressing 375 pounds and posting a 34-inch vertical jump.
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