Myron Lewis figures the “Tampa 2” is one defense he can handle.
Lucky for the Vanderbilt product that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him in the third round (67th overall) of the 2010 NFL draft on Friday.
"I'm going to fit well with the Tampa 2,” Lewis said. “I'm a Tampa 2 guy, very aggressive against receivers, long arms, and I'm just a big-time playmaker.”
Lewis was the first of three area players who were chosen during the three days and seven rounds of this year’s draft.
His teammate, tackle Thomas Welch, was taken by the New England Patriots with the first pick of the seventh round. Middle Tennessee State defensive end Chris McCoy went later in the seventh round (212th overall) to the Miami Dolphins.
Two other Vanderbilt players signed as undrafted free agents. Safety Ryan Hamilton agreed to a deal with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints, and offensive lineman Bradley Vierling came to terms with the Cleveland Browns.
McCoy is among MTSU’s all-time top 10 in career sacks (11) and tackles for a loss (26.5) and is just the second Blue Raiders’ defensive end ever drafted.
The Dolphins, however, told McCoy he will play linebacker in their scheme.
“Tons of talent,” Miami general manager Jeff Ireland said. “ … He’s very quick, he’s very powerful, he’s got explosiveness in his body. Plays with a great motor, high effort guy. (We) really like this kid. He’s got a big upside.”
Tampa, on the other hand, has not plans to move Lewis, a player some considered a better fit at safety in the NFL because of his size (6-foot-2, 203 pounds).
A Florida native, Lewis was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2009, when he ranked among the conference’s top five in interceptions (four) and passes defensed. He intercepted 10 passes and averaged better than 40 tackles per season for his career, which included 36 starts.
His selection made it three years in a row – and five of the last six – the Commodores have had a player drafted. Welch’s selection made it twice in three years that multiple VU players were taken.
The last time Tampa drafted a Vanderbilt player was 1998. That year the Buccaneers selected linebacker Jamie Duncan in the third round.
“Myron's going to play corner for us,” Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik said. “He's a big, tall, athletic corner, he's got great ball skills and he's a good tackler. … Part of what we want to do here is build a bigger football team and I think we did that (Friday) with his selection.”
Dominik added that Lewis likely will have a chance to compete for a starting job immediately.
“I'm going to make plays for the defense,” Lewis said. “… I'm a unique guy. I'm able to stick with the bigger, taller receivers and actually play the jump ball, the deep ball.”