The NFL Draft is finally upon us.
It’s almost always a gamble no matter which player a team picks or what round they pick them in. Drafting a player #1 is no guarantee that they are going to be great or even good. History has shown us that plenty of times. Since the 2000 NFL Draft, only 8 of the 18 first picks have more than 2 Pro Bowls on their resume’. They are Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Mario Williams, Jake Long, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. The success rate of a first round pick are about 50% and the odds only get worse as picks get later in the draft. It’s a roll of the dice. It really is. JaMarcus Russell was picked #1 in the 2007 Draft. Tom Brady was the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 Draft. There are no guarantees!
That being said, I went back and took a look at the Buccaneers draft history to see who they picked where and what players were picked after that and went on to have successful careers. It made me nauseous. I was always aware of a few players that the Bucs could’ve had like Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Petersen or Luke Kuechly. But after going all the way back to the 1996 Draft, now I just want to cry. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? It’s impossible to know how any player’s career will turn out. None of these general managers have a crystal ball. Maybe we can place some of the blame on a team’s scouting department, but they’re still guessing to a certain extent. All of them are.
From 1995 to 1997, the Buccaneers drafted Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Regan Upshaw, Marcus Jones, Mike Alstott, Donnie Abraham, Warrick Dunn and Ronde Barber. All within the first three rounds of those three drafts. After that though, things get a little sketchy. Again, I’m not blaming anyone in particular for picking the wrong players. How could they have known that Aaron Rodgers would turn out the way he has? Hell, 22 other teams passed on him too in that 2005 Draft. This is simply to show Bucs fans what could have been. So let the misery begin.
1996 Draft (Rich McKay)
Drafted DE Regan Upshaw at #12 and DT Marcus Jones at #22
Regan Upshaw spent four seasons in Tampa totaling 18.5 sacks before playing for four more teams over his final six seasons. Marcus Jones spent seven seasons in Tampa totaling 24 sacks.
Could have drafted LB Ray Lewis at #26
Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons in Baltimore finishing his illustrious career with 1,645 tackles, 34 sacks, 27 interceptions, 71 passes defensed and 15 forced fumbles. He was a 12-time Pro Bowler, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, an 8-time All Pro, a Super Bowl MVP and as of 2018 a Hall of Famer.
1997 Draft (Rich McKay)
Drafted RB Warrick Dunn at #12 and WR Reidel Anthony at #16
Warrick Dunn wasn’t a bad pick. He spent a total of 6 seasons in Tampa finishing with 4,986 rushing yards, 2,704 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns. He spent another 6 seasons in Atlanta totaling 5,981 rushing yards, 1,635 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns. Reidel Anthony was the questionable pick here. He spent 5 seasons in the NFL, all in Tampa and finished with just 1,846 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Could have drafted TE Tony Gonzalez at #13
Meanwhile, Tony Gonzalez played 17 seasons (12 with the Chiefs and 5 with the Falcons) and was a 14-time Pro Bowler while being named to the All-Decade Team. He totaled 14,138 yards and 107 touchdowns over his NFL career.
1999 Draft (Rich McKay)
Drafted DT Anthony McFarland at #15
“Booger” McFarland was always a decent sidekick to Warren Sapp in Tampa for his 8 seasons with the Buccaneers. He totaled just 252 tackles and 22.5 sacks in that time.
Could have drafted DE Jevon Kearse at #16
Jevon Kearse played 11 seasons in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles totaling 312 tackles and 74 sacks. He was a 3-time Pro Bowler and an All Pro.
2001 Draft (Rich McKay)
Drafted T Kenyatta Walker at #14
Do I even have to explain how bad this pick was? Kenyatta Walker played 6 seasons in Tampa committing 52 penalties in 75 games. The Bucs had no second round pick in this draft, so they took Walker in the first and CB Dwight Smith in the third round with the 84th pick. In between those two picks were these next two players.
Could have drafted QB Drew Brees at #32 or WR Chad Johnson at #36
Drew Brees has played 18 seasons in the NFL with the Chargers and the Saints totaling 74,437 yards and 520 touchdowns. He’s thrown for more than 5,000 yards five times. He’s a 12-time Pro Bowler and an All Pro, a Super Bowl MVP and a Super Bowl champion. Chad Johnson had a 12 year career totaling 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns. He was a 6-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time All Pro.
2002 Draft (Rich McKay)
Drafted WR Marquise Walker at #86
This is where it starts getting really bad. Marquise Walker never played a game in Tampa. The Bucs didn’t have a first or second round pick, so he was their first selection of this 2002 Draft in the third round.
Could have drafted RB Brian Westbrook at #91
Five picks after the Bucs took Walker who never played a down in the NFL, the Eagles selected Brian Westbrook who ended up playing 9 seasons totaling 6,335 rushing yards, 3,940 receiving yards and 71 touchdowns. He was a 2-time Pro Bowler and an All Pro.
2004 Draft (Bruce Allen)
Drafted WR Michael Clayton at #14
Michael Clayton spent 6 years of his 8 year career in Tampa totaling 2,936 yards and 10 touchdowns. He then played his final two injury plagued seasons with the Giants. He was a popular player among Bucs fans, but I cringe when I think about who they could’ve had instead.
Could have drafted DE Will Smith at #18 or NT Vince Wilfork at #21
Will Smith spent 9 seasons with the Saints and totaled 457 tackles and 57.5 sacks. He was a Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion. Vince Wilfork played 13 seasons (11 with the Patriots and 2 with the Texans) totaling 565 tackles and 16 sacks. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler, a 4-time All Pro and a 2-time Super Bowl champion. These guys went 4 and 7 picks after the Buccaneers selected Michael Clayton.
2005 Draft (Bruce Allen)
Drafted RB Cadillac Williams at #5
I liked “Cadillac” Williams. At least, I did until I saw who the Bucs missed out on by picking him. He played 7 seasons (6 of them in Tampa) and totaled 4,038 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Could have drafted DE DeMarcus Ware at #11 or OLB Derrick Johnson at #15 or QB Aaron Rodgers at #24 or WR Roddy White at #27
DeMarcus Ware finished his 12 season career with 659 tackles, 138.5 sacks, 229 QB hits and 35 forced fumbles. He was a 9-time Pro Bowler, a 7-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Derrick Johnson spent 13 of his 14 years with the Chiefs before moving to Oakland for the 2018 season. He’s totaled 1,168 tackles, 103 tackles for loss, 27.5 sacks, 40 QB hits, 22 forced fumbles, 14 interceptions and 70 passes defensed. He was also a 4-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time All Pro. Aaron Rodgers will end up as one of the greatest QB’s of all time. He’s played 14 seasons with the Packers, but sat behind Brett Favre for his first three years. Since becoming the starter in 2008, he’s totaled almost 43,000 yards and 338 touchdowns. He’s a 7-time Pro Bowler, a 3-time All Pro, 2-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP and Super Bowl champion. Roddy White spent 11 seasons in the NFL, all with the Falcons. he finished with 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns. He was a 4-time Pro Bowler and an All Pro.
2006 Draft (Bruce Allen)
Drafted G Davin Joseph at #23 and T Jeremy Trueblood at #59
Davin Joseph spent 8 of his 9 NFL seasons in Tampa and only committed 35 penalties in 116 games. He was a solid starter at guard for the Buccaneers before going to play one season with the Rams and was a 2-time Pro Bowler. Jeremy Trueblood played 7 of his 8 NFL seasons in Tampa and committed 54 penalties in 116 games at right tackle.
Could have drafted C Nick Mangold at #29 or SS Roman Harper at #43 or WR Greg Jennings at #52 or RB Maurice Jones-Drew at #60
Nick Mangold spent 11 seasons with the Jets and only committed 20 penalties in 164 games. He was the anchor of the Jets offensive line for over a decade, a 7-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time All Pro. Bucs fans should be very familiar with Roman Harper, but not in a good way. He played 9 of his 11 seasons at strong safety with the Saints and the other 2 seasons with the Panthers. He finished his career with 819 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 43 QB hits, 18 sacks, 11 interceptions, 67 passes defensed and 16 forced fumbles. He was a 2-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion. Greg Jennings played 7 of his 10 NFL seasons with the Packers totaling 8,291 yards and 64 touchdowns. He was a 2-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion. Maurice Jones-Drew spent 8 of his 9 seasons with the Jaguars where he totaled nearly 8,100 rushing yards, 2,873 receiving yards and 79 touchdowns. He won the NFL rushing title in 2011, was a 3-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time All Pro.
2007 Draft (Bruce Allen)
Drafted DE Gaines Adams at #4 and G Arron Sears at #35
Gaines Adams only played 3 seasons, two full seasons with Tampa and a third season split between the Bucs and Bears. He totaled 93 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 39 QB hits and 13.5 sacks. He died of an undetected heart condition in 2010. Arron Sears played 2 seasons for Tampa before being diagnosed with a neurological condition sustained from a concussion. He was waived injured before the 2010 season.
Could have drafted RB Adrian Peterson at #7 or ILB Patrick Willis at #11 or RB Marshawn Lynch at #12 or OT Joe Staley at #28 or TE Greg Olsen at #31
Adrian Peterson needs no introduction. He spent his first 10 seasons with the Vikings where he totaled 11,747 yards and 106 touchdowns. He’s had eight 1,000+ yard seasons and one 2,000 yard season, won the NFL rushing title three times, won Offensive Rookie of the Year, won Offensive Player of the Year, NFL MVP, Pro Bowl MVP, a 7-time Pro Bowler and a 7-time All Pro. Patrick Willis played 8 seasons with the 49ers where he totaled 950 tackles, 60 tackles for loss, 41 QB hits, 20.5 sacks, 53 passes defensed and 16 forced fumbles. He was Defensive Rookie of the Year, a 7-time Pro Bowler and a 6-time All Pro. Marshawn Lynch had a 1,000 yard season in six of his first eight seasons with the Bills and Seahawks. Over his 11 year career, he’s totaled 10,379 rushing yards, 2,214 receiving yards and 93 touchdowns. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler, a 2-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Joe Staley has played 12 seasons with the 49ers mostly at left tackle where he’s only committed 48 penalties in 174 games. He’s a 6-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time All Pro. Bucs fans should be all too familiar with Greg Olsen. He spent his first four seasons in Chicago before going to the Panthers where he’s been tormenting the NFC South ever since. In 12 seasons, he’s totaled 7,847 yards and 57 touchdowns. He’s a 3-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time All Pro.
2008 Draft (Bruce Allen)
Drafted CB Aqib Talib at #20 and WR Dexter Jackson at #58
Aqib Talib is widely considered to be one of the best cover corners in the league. He spent his first four years in Tampa before jumping around for the last 7 seasons among the Patriots, Broncos and Rams. In 11 seasons, he’s totaled 453 tackles, 123 passes defensed and 35 interceptions. He’s a 5-time Pro Bowler, a 2-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Dexter Jackson only played in 7 games during one season with the Buccaneers then never played another game in the NFL again. He was a second round pick!
Could have drafted CB Brandon Flowers at #35 or WR Jordy Nelson at #36 or RB Matt Forte at #44 or DE Calais Campbell at #50 or RB Jamaal Charles at #73
Brandon Flowers is another guy who was considered one of the best corners in the league throughout his career. He split his 9 seasons up between the Chiefs and the Chargers and totaled 490 tackles, 109 passes defensed and 21 interceptions while being named to one Pro Bowl. Jordy Nelson just retired after 10 seasons (9 with the Packers) where he totaled 8,587 yards and 72 touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowler, an All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Matt Forte has been one of the best dual threat running backs in the league for years. Over his 10 seasons (8 in Chicago), he’s totaled 9,796 rushing yards, 4,672 receiving yards and 75 touchdowns while making the Pro Bowl twice. Calais Campbell spent 9 of his first 11 seasons with the Cardinals. Over his career, he’s totaled 635 tackles, 141 tackles for loss, 81.5 sacks, 176 QB hits, 47 passes defensed and 12 forced fumbles. He’s been NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a 4-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time All Pro. Jamaal Charles was one of the best running backs in the league over his first 7 seasons with the Chiefs rushing for nearly 7,000 yards and 38 touchdowns in that span. He also added 2,266 receiving yards and 20 touchdown catches as well. Since then, he’s only played in 24 games over the last 4 seasons. In that time, he was a 4-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time All Pro.
2009 Draft (Mark Dominik)
Drafted QB Josh Freeman at #19
Josh Freeman was supposed to be the Buccaneers franchise QB of the future when he was drafted. He had a promising start to his career, but then everything went to shit. He spent his first 4 seasons in Tampa where he totaled 13,534 yards, 80 touchdowns and 66 interceptions. He then spent the next few years on and off teams and in and out of football. The Bucs didn’t have a second round pick in this draft, so they picked Freeman at #19 and didn’t pick again until they took DT Roy Miller with the 81st pick. In between those two picks were some pretty good players.
Could have drafted C Alex Mack at #21 or LB Clay Matthews at #26 or C Max Unger at #49 or RB LeSean McCoy at #53
Alex Mack has had a solid NFL career spanning 10 seasons. He spent his first 7 years with the Browns and the last 3 years with the Falcons. In that span, he’s been an anchor for those offensive lines and a leader on the team committing just 31 penalties in 149 games. Clay Matthews has spent the last 10 seasons with the Packers where he’s been a staple of their defense. Over his career, he’s totaled 494 tackles, 121 tackles for loss, 189 QB hits, 83.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 41 passes defensed and 15 forced fumbles. He’s been a 6-time Pro Bowler, a 3-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Max Unger has been one of the best centers in the league for a decade. In his 10 seasons with the Seahawks and Saints, he’s committed just 19 penalties in 130 games. He’s been a 3-time Pro Bowler, an All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. At one time, LeSean McCoy was considered one of the best dual threat running backs in the NFL. In his 10 seasons (6 with the Eagles and 4 with the Bills), he’s totaled 10,606 rushing yards, 3,616 receiving yards and 84 touchdowns. He’s won the NFL rushing title once, been a 6-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time All Pro.
2010 Draft (Mark Dominik)
Drafted DT Gerald McCoy at #3, DT Brian Price at #35, WR Arrelious Benn at #39, CB Myron Lewis at #67 and WR Mike Williams at #101
Gerald McCoy has been the face of the franchise and a staple of the Bucs defense for years. I don’t have a problem with that pick. It’s the picks after that where the train went off the tracks. Brian Price spent 3 injury plagued seasons (2 with Tampa) in the league before being forced out. Arrelious Benn spent 3 of his 5 NFL seasons with the Bucs totaling just 990 yards and 6 touchdowns over his career. Myron Lewis played in 28 games over 3 seasons with Tampa. Mike Williams spent 4 of his 5 NFL seasons in Tampa finishing with 2,947 yards and 25 touchdowns. Now you’re really gonna be mad when you see the players that went after the Bucs took Price with that 35th pick.
Could have drafted TE Rob Gronkowski at #42 or DE Carlos Dunlap at #54 or TE Jimmy Graham at #95 or DT Geno Atkins at #120 or S Kam Chancellor at #133
Rob Gronkowski is considered by many to be the best tight end of all time and just retired after spending 9 seasons with the Patriots where he totaled 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler, a 4-time All Pro and a 3-time Super Bowl champion and went 7 picks after Price. Carlos Dunlap has been one of the better edge rushers in football for the last 9 seasons with the Bengals. In that time, he’s totaled 415 tackles, 88 tackles for loss, 202 QB hits, 72.5 sacks, 50 passes defensed and 18 forced fumbles while being named to 2 Pro Bowls. Jimmy Graham has been one of the best tight ends in football over the last 9 seasons. Over his career with the Saints, Seahawks and Packers he’s totaled 7,436 yards and 71 touchdowns. He’s also been a 5-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time All Pro. In his 9 seasons with the Bengals, Geno Atkins has been one of the best pass rushing interior defensive lineman in the league totaling 341 tackles, 96 tackles for loss, 161 QB hits and 71 sacks over that span. He’s been a 7-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time All Pro. Kam Chancellor has been a staple in the “Legion of Boom” defense in Seattle for 8 seasons totaling 641 tackles and 12 interceptions over his career. He’s also been a 4-time Pro Bowler, a 2-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Nauseating isn’t it. Well, it gets worse.
2011 Draft (Mark Dominik)
Drafted DE Adrian Clayborn at #20, DE Da’Quan Bowers at #51, LB Mason Foster at #84, TE Luke Stocker at #104 and DB Ahmad Black at #151
Adrian Clayborn spent the first 4 seasons of his 8 year career in Tampa. Over his 8 seasons, he’s totaled 178 tackles, 48 tackles for loss, 90 QB hits and 32.5 sacks. Da’Quan Bowers missed 27 games in his 5 seasons in Tampa where he totaled just 69 tackles and 7 sacks. Mason Foster was in Tampa for the first 4 years of his 8 seasons in the NFL. He’s totaled 661 tackles, 41 tackles for loss, 23 QB hits, 8 interceptions and 20 passes defensed. Luke Stocker was in Tampa for 6 seasons before going to the Titans. He was mainly a blocking tight end and totaled just 400 yards and 3 touchdowns with the Bucs. Ahmad Black spent his entire 3 year NFL career in Tampa and saw limited action.
Could have drafted DE Cam Jordan at #24 or RB Mark Ingram at #28 or WR Randall Cobb at #64 or RB DeMarco Murray at #71 or CB Richard Sherman at #154 or C Jason Kelce at #191
Instead of Clayborn, the Bucs could’ve had Cam Jordan who has totaled 409 tackles, 98 tackles for loss, 143 QB hits and 71.5 sacks while never missing a game in 8 seasons with the Saints. He’s been a 4-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time All Pro and he was taken four picks AFTER Clayborn. Mark Ingram has been a solid running back for the Saints over the last 8 seasons totaling 6,007 rushing yards, 1,598 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns making the Pro Bowl twice. Randall Cobb has spent his entire 8 seasons with the Packers totaling 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns while making the Pro Bowl in 2014. DeMarco Murray only played 8 seasons in the NFL, but was fairly productive over that span totaling 7,174 rushing yards, 2,165 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns. He won the NFL rushing title in 2014, was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year, a 3-time Pro Bowler and an All Pro. Richard Sherman was one of the best shutdown corners and a member of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” defense for 8 seasons before signing with the 49ers in 2018. Over his career, he’s totaled 414 tackles, 103 passes defensed and 32 interceptions while being named a 4-time Pro Bowler, a 4-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Jason Kelce has been one of the best centers in the league for the Eagles over the last 8 seasons while only committing 39 penalties in 110 games. He’s a 2-time Pro Bowler, a 2-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion.
2012 Draft (Mark Dominik)
Drafted S Mark Barron at #7, RB Doug Martin at #31, LB Lavonte David at #58 and LB Najee Goode at #140
Mark Barron only spent two and a half seasons in Tampa before being traded to the Rams. With the Bucs, he totaled 226 tackles, 20 passes defensed and 3 interceptions playing safety. Doug Martin had an impressive rookie season for the Buccaneers rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 49 passes for 472 yards and a touchdown. He battled injuries over his next two seasons missing 15 games, then had another successful season in 2015 with 1,402 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. His time in Tampa Bay ended after two more injury plagued seasons where he missed another 13 games. In 2018, he had moderate success with the Raiders. While in Tampa, he was a 2-time Pro Bowler and an All Pro. Najee Goode only played 3 games over one season in Tampa before going on to play 5 seasons with the Eagles and another with the Colts. primarily as a special teams player.
Could have drafted LB Luke Kuechly at #9 or DT Fletcher Cox at #12 or DE Chandler Jones at #21 or S Harrison Smith at #29 or CB Janoris Jenkins at #39 or WR T.Y. Hilton at #92 or CB Josh Norman at #143
Every time the Bucs play the Panthers, I always thing about how they could’ve drafted Luke Kuechly instead of Barron. After being picked just two spots behind the Bucs pick, he has gone on to play 7 seasons with Carolina totaling 977 tackles, 71 tackles for loss, 26 QB hits, 12.5 sacks, 54 passes defensed and 16 interceptions. He was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, a 6-time Pro Bowler and a 6-time All Pro. Fletcher Cox is another player that I can’t believe the Bucs passed on for Barron. After being selected just five spots behind Barron, Cox has played 7 seasons in Philadelphia totaling 330 tackles, 57 tackles for loss, 111 QB hits and 44.5 sacks. He’s considered one of the best interior pass rushers in the league and it’s obvious by being named a 4-time Pro Bowler, a 4-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. Chandler Jones has played 7 seasons (4 with the Patriots and 3 with the Cardinals) totaling 378 tackles, 94 tackles for loss, 136 QB hits, 77 sacks and 19 forced fumbles. He’s also considered one of the best at his position while being named a 2-time Pro Bowler, an All Pro and a Super Bowl champion. I know what you’re thinking. Safety was a “position of need” for the Bucs that year, right? Okay then. Harrison Smith has spent all 7 seasons with the Vikings where he’s totaled 566 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 45 passes defensed and 20 interceptions. He is one of the best safeties in football and is a 4-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time All Pro. Jelani Jenkins has been a pretty good corner over his 7 seasons with the Rams and Giants. He’s totaled 405 tackles, 90 passes defensed and 18 interceptions as a Pro Bowler and an All Pro. T.Y. Hilton hasn’t had less than 860 yards in a season since he came into the league 7 years ago. Over his career, he’s totaled 8,097 yards and 40 touchdowns while being named to 4 Pro Bowls. Josh Norman has been a solid corner over his 7 seasons with the Panthers and Redskins totaling 380 tackles, 73 passes defensed and 13 interceptions as a one time Pro Bowler and an All Pro.
2013 Draft (Mark Dominik)
Drafted CB Johnathan Banks at #43, QB Mike Glennon at #73 and DT Akeem Spence at #100
The Bucs didn’t have a first round pick in this draft, so Johnathon Banks was their second round pick and their first pick of the weekend. He got off to a promising start to his NFL career with Tampa totaling 105 tackles, 15 passes defensed and 7 interceptions in his first 2 seasons. After that, the wheels came off and he played for four different teams over the next 3 seasons before leaving football. Mike Glennon’s career got off to a decent start as well when he replaced Josh Freeman as the starting quarterback in Week 4 of his rookie season. He finished the year with 2,608 yards, 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. In 2014, Lovie Smith brought in Josh McCown to start, but he was benched after losing the first 3 games and Glennon started the next 5 games throwing for 1,417 yards, 10 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Even though Glennon played decently, the Bucs went 1-4 in that stretch and he was benched again in favor of McCown. He never started again for Tampa as the next year they drafted Jameis Winston. Akeem Spence played sparingly in his first 4 seasons in Tampa before moving on to Detroit and then Miami.
Could have drafted DT Kawaan Short at #44 or RB Le’Veon Bell at #48 or TE Travis Kelce at #63 or S Tyrann Mathieu at #69 or WR Keenan Allen at #76
Kawaan Short has had decent success over his 6 seasons in Carolina totaling 282 tackles, 58 tackles for loss, 84 QB hits and 32.5 sacks while being named a 2-time Pro Bowler and an All Pro. Le’Veon Bell is one of the best backs in the league despite all the drama he brought to the Steelers last year. In 6 seasons, he’s totaled 5,336 rushing yards, 2,660 receiving yards and 42 touchdowns while being named to 3 Pro Bowls and 3 All Pro teams. In 5 seasons with the Chiefs, Travis Kelce has totaled 410 catches for 5,236 yards and 32 touchdowns. He’s one of the best tight ends in football being named to 4 Pro Bowls and 3 All Pro teams. Tyrann Mathieu is a guy that Bucs fans were hoping Bruce Arians would lure to Tampa. It didn’t happen. But they could’ve had him with the 69th pick of this draft instead of taking Glennon with that 73rd pick. Over his 6 seasons (5 with the Cardinals and 1 with the Texans), he totaled 394 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 19 QB hits, 49 passes defensed and 13 interceptions while being named a Pro Bowler and an All Pro in 2015. Keenan Allen has spent all 6 seasons of his career with the Chargers where he’s totaled 5,206 yards and 28 touchdowns. And those numbers were essentially put up in 4 1/2 seasons because he was injured missing a season and a half worth of games between 2015 and 2016. He’s been the Offensive Rookie of the Year and a 2-time Pro Bowler.
2014 Draft (Jason Licht)
Drafted TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins at #38 and RB Charles Sims at #69
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a talented tight end, but he could never stay healthy. He spent just over 2 seasons in Tampa totaling just 603 yards and 7 touchdowns. Since leaving town, he’s spent time with the Jets and the Jags. Charles Sims showed small flashes of brilliance followed by long stints of injury plagued sadness. In 2015 (his second year), he finished with 529 rushing yards, 561 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in a third down back role. Other than that, he couldn’t stay healthy and couldn’t get on the field.
Could have drafted WR Jarvis Landry at #63 or RB Devonte Freeman at #103
Jarvis Landry has never missed a game in 5 seasons and totaled 5,014 yards and 26 touchdowns while being named to 4 Pro Bowls. Even though Devonte Freeman shared the Falcons backfield for most of his career, he did have 2 seasons where he totaled 2,135 rushing yards, 1,040 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns while being named to 2 Pro Bowl teams and an All Pro team.
2016 Draft (Jason Licht)
Drafted CB Vernon Hargreaves at #11, DE Noah Spence at #39, K Roberto Aguayo at #59, CB Ryan Smith at #108 and T Caleb Benenoch at #148
This may be the worst one yet. In fact, this draft included one of the worst decisions in sports general manager history. The infamous trade up for Roberto Aguayo. To this day, it still makes me cringe. The verdict is still out on Vernon Hargreaves. He’s had flashes here and there, but hopefully he can show his first round value in Todd Bowles new scheme. Noah Spence hasn’t lived up to his second round selection status while fighting through shoulder injuries, but hopefully he can breakout in this new defense. Aguayo was just a terrible decision that I won’t even get into. And Ryan Smith and Caleb Benenoch are serviceable reserves AT BEST. Even though four of these five picks are still with the team, take a look at who Jason Licht could have picked instead.
Could have drafted DT Sheldon Rankins at #12 or S Keanu Neal at #17 or LB Myles Jack at #36 or WR Michael Thomas at #47 or G Nick Martin at #50 or LB Deion Jones at #52 or RB Jordan Howard at #150 or WR Tyreek Hill at #165
Over his 3 seasons with the Saints, Sheldon Rankins has totaled 86 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 30 QB hits and 14 sacks. He’s one of the better interior defensive lineman in the league. Keanu Neal was injured all of 2018, but in his first 2 seasons with the Falcons he totaled 215 tackles and 15 passes defensed. Myles Jack was coming off of a significant knee injury in his rookie season and never really got things going. However, over his last 2 seasons he’s totaled 197 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Bucs fans should need no introduction to Michael Thomas. During his 3 seasons with the Saints, he’s totaled 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns. Most of which seemed to be against Tampa. He’s already been named to 2 Pro Bowls and one All Pro team. Nick Martin has been a solid piece of the Texans offensive line for 3 seasons committing just 5 penalties in 30 games. Deion Jones got hurt in 2018 and missed 10 games. But in his first 2 seasons with the Falcons, he was a tackling machine totaling 244 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 21 passes defensed and 6 interceptions. He was even named to the Pro Bowl in 2017. Jordan Howard has been a pretty good running back so far totaling 3,370 yards and 24 touchdowns in 3 seasons with the Bears. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016. Tyreek Hill got off to a somewhat slow start in his career, but has turned into one of the biggest offensive weapons in the league. In 3 seasons, he’s totaled 3,255 receiving yards, 477 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns for the Chiefs.
Now after hearing all of that, are you upset? You should be. Like I said before, all teams can say they’ve made poor draft decisions. But it seems as though the Buccaneers have made a habit out of it. Just look at the list of Pro Bowlers, All Pros and Super Bowl champions that they’ve missed out on drafting guys that either didn’t even make the team or didn’t last long enough to fulfill their first contract. Out of the four general managers named in these drafts, Mark Dominik might have the worst track record of bad draft decisions for this Buccaneers franchise.
It’s sickening, I know.
The bright side is that 2019 is a new year. It’s a new season. It’s a new opportunity for Jason Licht to redeem himself from his bad choices and pick some real “game changers”. This could very well be his last draft in Tampa IF he doesn’t knock this one out of the park. Maybe he’s learned from his early mistakes. Of the Bucs 14 picks in his last two drafts, 13 of them are still on the team and contributing with running back Jeremy McNichols being the one player that isn’t. Look for Licht to make a statement in this draft, either with a surprising pick or a big trade in the first round. No matter what happens, Bucs fans should be excited to see what he does on Thursday night!
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!