I went to bed Friday hopeful and optimistic about what Dom accomplished in the first three rounds of the draft. Yet, the more I examine the strategy of the Bucs, the more I become disappointed with the route the team went.
Adrian Clayborn - Nearly 100% of the Bucs agreed that the biggest need in this draft was a stout pass-rush. I said early on I didn't think the value was going to be there at 20. The Bucs opted not to improve their pass-rush, but add bulk at LDE with Clayborn. Passing up an elite pass-rusher in Cameron Jordan.
De'Quan Bowers - I am all for pulling the trigger on Bowers at this point. The reward will be MUCH higher than the risk. My only problem is if they had an inclination that Bowers may fall to them, why pick a LDE in the first round? If you don't believe that Bowers will fall, I still don't understand why you don't wait until the second round to grab a defensive end. I promise the difference between the bottom level 1st round ends and the projected 2nd round ends wasn't great enough to essentially draft a backup with one of these first two picks.
Clayborn is stuck at LDE. While I think you would be able to shift Bowers to RDE (ample speed and smarts) it's not going to be the position that highlights his strengths. So at best, you just drafted a backup.
Mason Foster - I'm fine with this pick. Not nearly as enthused as Sander. Unlike Sander, I don't think that Foster will ever start for the Bucs, and if he does, it's out of necessity, not because of him standing out. He doesn't do anything as good as Ruud, and is essentially the same player. Can't get off blocks, can't get deep in coverage, can't get sideline to sideline. I have to be honest, I didn't watch a lick of Foster or notice him at all during the college football season. I have just read about him since drafting him, and watched some highlight film. If you are looking for an inside linebacker, there was far more value even through the late rounds of the draft.
Luke Stocker - A nice tight end. Don't mind the pick, but I (like Sander) hate the fact that we traded up for it. It's overvaluing a player, thus not getting good value. He will be an immediate contributor, however (lack of depth).
Ahmad Black - Here is where the team completely lost me. Black, by all means, sucks. Fine college player (against more inept SEC offenses). S certainly wasn't the need that other positions were. Black will struggle to make the roster. Plenty of other good options on the board. Worthless pick.
Allen Bradford - If you want a heavy body in the backfield, pick up an undrafted one.
Anthony Gaitor - I like this 7th round pick.
Daniel Hardy - Again, a pick that the Bucs devalued. Why draft another TE? Why draft one with injury problems? Why draft one with mediocre speed that can't block? With no undrafted FA, the best strategy would have been to pick BPA. That was NOT Hardy.
I think you get 3 contributors out of 8 picks. I'm guessing only 5 of these make the roster. That's not making nearly as much of the draft as they did last year and that's unfortunate.