Originally published April 26, 2008 at 04:23p.m., updated April 26, 2008 at 05:37p.m.
Former Kansas University defensive back Aqib Talib, a first team All-American for the 12-1 Jayhawks in 2007, took one more step into the professional world Saturday.
The Orange Bowl MVP was selected 20th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Talib becomes the first Jayhawk to be selected in the opening round of the 7-round weekend draft since Dana Stubblefield (26th overall) in 1993.
Talib will join the Buccaneers' well-known Cover-2 defense, which he feels he's ready for.
"We started to play a lot of Cover 2 my last year at Kansas," Talib said. "I think I'm ready for it. Coach (Monte) Kiffin is a master of it. With his help, I'll be all right learning the scheme. I think I'll make alot of plays."
Talib finished his junior season with 42 tackles, and tied for the team lead in interceptions with five. Known for having a knack for the big play, Talib backed it up by returning two of those picks for scores. The first set a school record against Florida International by covering 100-plus yards. The second return went for 60 yards in the first quarter of the Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech, the cornerstone moment of his MVP showing.
The Bucs went 9-7 in 2007 and won the NFC South. A team long-known for its defensive dominance, Talib will now play on the opposite side of Pro Bowl cornerback Ronde Barber.
"I plan on making an impact," Talib said. "Coming in, working hard and making an impact right away."
Contract negotiations will soon begin between the Bucs and Talib's agent, Todd France. But if last year is any indication, then Talib is about to strike it rich. Last year's No. 20 pick, Texas cornerback Aaron Ross, signed with the New York Giants for $13 million over five years. That included $8 million in guaranteed money.
For more on this story as it develops, plus the destinations of other Jayhawks in this weekend's NFL Draft, stay tuned to KUSports.com.