The Buccaneers were fortunate that LSU wide receiver Michael Clayton fell to them with the 15th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Had the Bucs not taken Clayton at No. 15, San Francisco was prepared to take him with the 16th pick, and Denver was seriously considering using the 17th pick to draft the Baton Rouge native.
But there was also a mystery NFL team that was thinking of drafting Clayton in the first round and playing him at safety. Sure, Clayton had played some defense as a sophomore, most notably against Texas in the Cotton Bowl, but would a team do such a thing? Yes, according to Bucs general manager Bruce Allen.
“Before the draft, another scout in the league told me that he was going to tell me a secret after the draft, but Michael’s name was never involved at that time,” Allen said. “After we drafted Michael, the scout called and said, ‘Now I can tell you this secret.’ He said the secret was about Clayton. I said, ‘Uh, oh. What’s the secret?’ thinking it was something bad. He told me they were going to draft him and make him an All-Pro safety and that they had him ranked higher than the Miami kid (Sean Taylor) as a safety.’ We happen to like Michael just fine as a receiver, but that was an interesting story.”
This story first appeared in the Pewter Report Bucs Draft Preview. To get the inside scoop on why the Buccaneers drafted LSU wide receiver Michael Clayton last year with the team’s first round pick, and to read up on the Bucs’ draft plans for this weekend, become a Pewter Insider subscriber and check out the Pewter Report Bucs Draft Preview on-line at PewterReport.com. It’s not too late to study up for draft weekend, April 23-24. Subscribe today by clicking the links or call 1-800-881-BUCS(2827).
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org