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Building through the draft was not this regime's first plan

Despite a lot of words being spent on the idea of building through the draft, if we look at the history of this regime it certainly wasn't their first choice. The Bucs initially were prepared to continue the win-now strategy of Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen, at least in the short term. When we look at their activity in 2009, this is obvious. They traded for the best TE they could in Kellen Winslow Jr. This still fit with the 'build through the draft' plan, to an extent, as Kellen Winslow was still young and could be a Buccaneer for a very long. But the addition of the best (well, most expensive) free agent running back on the market in Derrick Ward didn't fit this plan at all. The former Giant was 28 years old and wouldn't be a contributor for more than a couple of years, even if he succeeded. Then there was Michael Clayton, the 26-year old bust who was given a big new contract by the big new regime, but predictably failed to live up to it. And finally, the Bucs chased after DT Albert Haynesworth, the hottest commodity on the free agent market who has been in the news plenty of times since signing with the Redskins, but only in a negative.

None of those moves fit the youth movement and the idea of building through the draft. They were moves geared to winning now, perhaps in a bid to sustain a winning record while building through the draft more gradually. But when the free agent acquisitions failed and the Bucs went 3-13 in 2009 they were forced to reconsider and pushed all onto the little square that said "draft". Perhaps we should be glad they stepped away from big free agency acquisitions, because they haven't exactly been good at evaluating that talent. 

The plan of building through the draft is a good and succesful one. It's one that very succesful franchises like the Steelers, the Packers and the Patriots have adhered to for decades. But while the Buccaneers seem to stick to this plan now, it didn't start out that way. Time will tell whether they will keep true to this plan, or whether they will move into free agency more aggressively in the future. Perhaps they will have to because of a free agency floor. But if they do, they'd better make sure they evaluate players better.