Great Planning or Fortunate Circumstances?

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers good planners, or do they just get lucky?

November 1, 2012, cornerback Aqib Talib was traded from the Buccaneers to the Patriots, along with a Buccaneers’ seventh round pick for the Patriots’ fourth round pick. All picks were for the 2013 NFL draft.

April 10, 2013, the Buccaneers restructure cornerback Eric Wright’s contract to one year worth $1.5 million; negating the five year contract worth $38.5 million.

April 21, 2013, Darrelle Revis was finally traded from the NY Jets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Bucs’ 2013 first round pick and a conditional pick in the 2014 draft. As per ESPN, "The conditional pick headed to the Jets is a fourth-round selection in 2014, but could become a third-rounder if Revis is on Tampa Bay's roster on the third day of the 2014 league year, sources said."

April 25 – 27, 2013, the NFL draft was conducted. The Buccaneers draft CB Johnthan Banks in the second round, QB Mike Glennon in the third round, DT Akeem Spence and DE William Gholston in the fourth, DE Means in the fifth, and RB Mike James in the sixth round.

Before the NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured their two cornerbacks for the 2013 season by trading for Revis and re-structuring Wright’s contract. DE Michael Bennett, DT Roy Miller, and TE Dallas Clark were not re-signed with the team by that time. There were a numerous pathways the Buccaneers could have taken in the draft such as trading up to select a TE like a Tyler Eifert or a DE such as Margus Hunt, to give a couple of examples. But in most scenarios, it has the Bucs trading up from the second round.

With the revelation of CB Eric Wright’s fall from grace as well as Buccaneers’ organization, how much foresight did the front office have in drafting CB Banks? Here’s a quote on Schiano from a Pewter Report article:

"Does this allow you to move Eric Wright to slot?
"Eric played inside in the nickel," Schiano said. "I think that all comes with competition. You let it play out. Whatever is best, and then you move the parts. But what we’ve been able to do is get the parts to move. To have them here and be able to do that and have that flexibility and that’s exciting."
"

But how fortunate where the Bucs in drafting Banks? Again from the Pewter Report Article:

Was there a concern on his 40-time?
"He was always high on our board," Dominik said. "We went into the senior season and we already had good grades on him. He played well again this year to win the Jim Thorpe Award so he's been a consistent football player. For us, the one thing people keep talking about - the speed - he did run at the combine his time, and he ran a 4.55 at his pro day, but the one thing that was important for us as an organization as we watched him and the coaches watched him and the scouts watched him is you never felt that, because he has such good instincts, such good length and such good ball skills that you never felt that you were concerned about the deep speed, because you love the length of the player and the ball skills and when he had to push and shove and run to get into position. He did a great job of that. So that was probably what helped us get him at 43.""

Here is Dom’s take on Banks from the same article:

"And he has the fortune to be able to learn under two professionals in Eric Wright and certainly Darrelle Revis with how to approach the game the right way. And we’re really excited to pair him up with Darrelle and our team and the rest of our locker room with the guys that we’re growing and how we’re developing the players right now in Tampa.""

Although, Tampa Bay did need an upgrade at the tight end position and a possible replacement at defensive end with the departure of DE Bennett. In order to acquire that type of high talent, though, the Bucs would have had to trade up for numerous prospects, including for other cornerbacks. Banks was the sixth cornerback taken in the 2013 draft. Surely, the front office would have used a fourth round pick, along with the second round pick, to move up the draft. That would have meant the loss of one of DT Spence or DE Gholston in the draft.

With Adrian Clayborn recovering from a season ending injury along with Bowers' knee injury concerns that lead to his fall in the 2011 draft, picking up Gholston as well as Means, garners a lot of worth now and onto the future.

20/20 hindsight is easier to pick apart an organization or person’s decisions, but having the foresight of preparing for the worst case scenario deserves some praise. Yes, we did not replace our starting tight end nor are we guaranteed to have replaced DE Bennett’s production, but the possibility of lacking more talent on a pass defense that ranked dead last in all of the NFL looms even much more dire. And with the notion of already moving Wright to the slot corner due to the drafting of Banks, also leaving Johnson as the nickel back, made sure the Bucs had top talent starting at every position on defense. Plus, not trading up gives Tampa Bay more depth along the defensive line.

Now, if I do give the front office credit for Banks, then there must be some eerie sense to the drafting of Mike Glennon. But that is nowhere near any fruition this season.

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