UPDATE: Eric Page reconsiders choice of Tampa Bay, headed to DenverWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Apparently nothing goes quite as planned when it comes to Eric Page and the NFL Draft.
After failing to get drafted despite forgoing his senior year when he was projected as a mid-round pick by the NFL Draft Advisory Board, Page announced to the world via Twitter that he would be the newest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Been a long road but I wouldn’t expect any different way,” Page wrote. “[I’ve] always been proving myself this STEP will be no different ..Tampa Bay Buccaneers!!”
About five hours later, however, Page’s tweet was no more and the Denver Broncos announced that they had signed the Mid-American Conference’s all-time leading receiver.
The Broncos headlined the NFL’s free agency period when they signed four-time MVP and 11-time pro bowl quarterback Peyton Manning. Page will not only be joining a playoff team in Denver instead of the NFC South’s last-place Buccaneers, but he should also face a bit less competition at wide receiver. The Broncos wide receiving corps is led by Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Brandon Stokley. In Tampa Bay, Page would have had to compete against $55 million free agent Vincent Jackson and talented, young wide-outs Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn.
Page did, however, give up the chance to sign with his teammates in offensive lineman Mike VanDerMeulen and tight end Danny Noble, who both chose to sign with the Buccaneers in hopes of making an NFL roster.
Eric Page bypassed his senior season at Toledo after the NFL Draft Advisory Board told him he was projected to go as high as the third round in the NFL Draft.
Unfortunately for Page, that projection didn’t hold up.
After watching 33 wide receivers be selected in the NFL Draft, Page has signed as a priority free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Page announced his decision on Twitter stating, “Been a long road but I wouldn’t expect any different way, always been proving myself this STEP will be no different ..Tampa Bay Buccaneers!!”
Page’s stock took a hit after he ran a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, putting up a time of 4.6 seconds. He later ran times of 4.49 and 4.51 at the Toledo Pro Day, but the damage had been done.
It’s also possible that Page’s value may have taken a hit due to the ongoing push in the NFL to possibly eliminate kickoffs altogether in the future. Page was an All-American kick returner in 2011.
Page left Toledo with a MAC record 306 catches despite forgoing his senior season and finished just 43 behind NCAA record-holder Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma, 2008-11).
Page will face stiff competition at Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers added Vincent Jackson with a $55 million contract in the offseason to join talented young wide-outs Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn.
The Buccaneers finished 4-12 last season but were considered the winners of free agency after signing all-pro guard Carl Nicks, the two-time Pro Bowler in Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright.