Rookie surprise: Bucs WR Sammie Stroughter

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Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

In a season in which there haven’t been many bright spots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sammie Stroughter has been a big exception.

Passed over repeatedly by every team for six rounds, the Bucs decided to take a shot on Stroughter in the seventh round. They used the 232nd overall pick on the Oregon State wide receiver and the early results have been impressive.

Stroughter’s participated in all four games and has been a top backup at wide receiver, where starter Antonio Bryant has dealt with some knee problems. Stroughter has come through with seven catches for 68 yards.

That’s far more production than the Bucs -- or anyone else -- hoped for when they were watching Stroughter tumble through the draft. At 6-foot and 186 pounds, Stroughter had good size and speed and he also had a productive college career.

In 2006, Stroughter was a third-team All-American as a punt returner. He also had 1,293 receiving yards, the fourth-best total in Oregon State history.

But there were major questions about Stroughter off the field. That all stemmed from a battle with depression in 2007 that forced him to walk away from the game. Stroughter said the condition was brought on by the death of two family members within a short period of time.

Stroughter received treatment and returned in 2008 to catch 70 passes for 1,040 yards and seven touchdowns. But that wasn’t enough to answer all the questions.

Prior to the draft, the Bucs spent a lot of time talking to Stroughter and his college coaches. Stroughter has been open about what he went through and that helped convince the Bucs to take a chance on him.

So far, they’re very happy with the pick.