The Bucs had 9 draft picks last year. Of those 9 picks, 7 made the opening day roster and 1 ended up on the practice squad, only to be elevated to the regular season roster and even start some games later that year. In total, the Bucs had 10 rookie starters and many more rookie contributors. All of this wouldn't have been possible if the roster wasn't relatively devoid of talent in the first place. Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn started for most of the season not just because they'd been solid in practice and training camp, but because there really was no one else on the roster who could do a better job. Legarrette Blount came in as a starter and blew everyone away, but before that Cadillac Williams was eking out runs at about 2 yards per carry. When that's the kind of standard you have to beat, it's not that hard to hang on to a roster spot. But this should change this year.
The Bucs now have pretty stiff competition at several positions. Any new wide receiver will have Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Dezmon Briscoe, Michael Spurlock and Sammie Stroughter ahead of him. That's a far cry from last year, when only the latter two were on the roster. At defensive tackle the Bucs have Gerald McCoy, Roy Miller, Brian Price, Frank Okam and Al Woods - and one of them will probably have to go in the numbers game at the end of the preseason. Of those five players only Roy Miller was on the roster this time last year. The Bucs have upgraded their talent level across the board, and this is a good thing. But it also means that the next draft class likely won't have as big of an impact, because there simply isn't as much room to make a big impact. Keep that in mind through the draft and into next season, if suddenly there are no seventh-round rookies starting at safety and draft picks are being cut before training camp. Keep that in mind when you look back at the previous two drafts as well, because the lack of talent on the team in the first place makes the rookies look a little better than they may be.