When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up two spots in the 2009 draft to select Josh Freeman, many fans were disappointed. Why did the Bucs need an inaccurate, turnover-prone and reportedly lazy quarterback when they had Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich on the roster, and the 2010 draft looked like a great one with Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy?
Two years later, and no one's complaining. Josh Freeman turned into a star last year, and has become the unequivocal leader of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And for that, we Bucs fans can be thankful. Not just because it gives the Bucs a chance to be good for a very long time, but also because it means we aren't talking about Josh Johnson's potential right now.
Think about it. What would have happened if Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen were still running this team? They never picked a quarterback in the first round when given the chance, but kept giving opportunities to veterans and low-end rookies. Short, noodle-armed, inaccurate guys seemed to be their specialty. Of all the quarterbacks they picked up, Jeff Garcia was the best. What does that say about the rest?
Had the Bucs not picked up Josh Freeman, we could be talking about the potential of Luke McCown and Josh Johnson now. We could be discussing whether the Bucs should have given up Aqib Talib and a second-round pick for Kevin Kolb. Maybe we'd be hoping that they could lure Brett Favre out of retirement, or maybe give Vince Young another chance. Maybe Tarvaris Jackson would be on the roster. Worse yet, Josh Freeman could be the third-year pro we all wish the Buccaneers had taken a chance on.
Whatever the Bucs do this year, at least they have a quarterback that can take them where they need to go.