Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Evaluating a front-office over any period is tough, but we've found one group willing to do it. And they like what the Bucs have done.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one of the best drafting teams over the past five years. That, at least, is what DraftMetrics says. They have developed a metric to gauge draft success, relying mostly on starters, active players and Pro Bowl selections. The fact that they use a number of different measures helps, but there's one rather glaring problem: they reward poor teams for starting inexperienced players. It's a lot easier to start inexperienced players when the level of talent on your roster is low to begin with. Yay, the Bucs turned a seventh-rounder into a starter because they can't find a cornerback worth a damn!
That said, that's not exactly Mark Dominik's fault, as the other chart from DraftMetrics shows: the ten-year rankings have the Bucs ranked 30th out of 32 teams. It reinforces what we already knew -- that is, that Bruce Allen was an absolutely terrible drafter. Enjoy, Redskins! Mark Dominik is a genius personnel evaluator by comparison. But I think this measure also shows that by objective standards, Dominik really has been pretty good. It's important and very difficult to get a complete overview of Dominik's or any general manager's performance. It's easy to point to individual successes (Mike Williams, Doug Martin, Gerald McCoy) or failures (Brian Price, Myron Lewis), but that doesn't offer you a complete, unbiased picture -- and it doesn't offer any comparison relative to other general managers. I think this measure is one small if imperfect way to do so.
There's also something to be said for Dominik's performance over the past five years. In fact, of all the starters remaining on the roster only a handful were on the roster before Dominik became general manager. Those players: Ronde Barber, Donald Penn, Davin Joseph, Jeremy Zuttah,
E.J. Biggers and Quincy Black. The latter two are likely to be starters-no-more . Biggers is a free agent and, if resigned, likely to be demoted to nickel or dime corner, while Quincy Black isn't healthy and will not return under his current contract.
Ronde Barber was drafted three regimes ago, while Donald Penn was an undrafted free agent often credited to Mark Dominik. That leaves two drafted starters by the Bruce Allen regime: Davin Joseph, a first-round pick, and Jeremy Zuttah. That's all we have to show for the complete destruction of what was a Super Bowl squad. Mark Dominik has had to essentially re-build a trainwreck of a roster in the past four years, and he's done a quality job of collecting talent. There were some failures along the way, but the overall result is a squad that really needs a talent infusion at one spot (cornerback) to get to the next level.