The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing to upgrade their team again, as free agency and the draft approach. That also means we can look back at another draft. Usually, you have to wait three seasons before you can adequately judge a draft. It's been three seasons since the 2010 draft occurred so we can take a look. First, there's Kenneth Arthur reviewing the 2010 draft for SB Nation. He thinks the Bucs had the 10th best draft -- and here's what he had to say:
McCoy is coming off of a great year with Tampa Bay, and it's hard to argue that he wasn't the right pick. Maybe Jason Pierre-Paul, but it's splitting hairs. Second-round pick Brian Price has dealt with injuries, Arrelious Benn has been decent, but fourth-round pick Mike Williams has been (mostly) great. Raheem Morris was still fired.
That sounds good, but it's hardly a comprehensive look. 10th in the NFL? Well, let's look at the total number of picks.
1st round (3) - DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
McCoy has been a big hit, despite ending two seasons on injured reserve. He has still played 35 games in three years, which certainly isn't bad, and has 9 career sacks. His impact was most felt in run defense this past season, where he was probably the most important player for the league's best run defense. But McCoy is disruptive and the kind of player who demands attention. Awarded with a Pro Bowl berth this season, this selection certainly was a success.
2nd round (35) - DT Brian Price, UCLA
Two seasons, 20 games and a whole bucketload of injury issues have made Brian Price a bust. With 3 sacks in his career, Price at times flashed the ability that made the Bucs pick him early in the second round despite having just picked a different defensive tackle a round before. Too bad they didn't know about some major congenital injury issues that required surgery in his first season. It's entirely possible he will never recover from those injuries. While he flashed disruptive ability at times, he was easily handled and blocked out at other times, especially in run defense. Price was traded for a seventh-round pick to the Bears this past season, who cut him before the season started. He is now on a futures contract with the Cowboys.
2nd round (39) - WR Arrelious Benn, Illinois
The Bucs got this pick from the Bears in exchange for the late Gaines Adams, and then traded up with the Raiders in exchange for a fifth-round pick to take Benn. When Benn was drafted, he was known as a physically talented but raw and sometimes injury-prone player. Turns out that's exactly what the Bucs got. He has 59 catches for 862 yards and five touchdowns in three seasons, having missed 11 games. He has 24 starts, but was relegated to a minuscule role last season. Benn is massively talented, but he just isn't polished enough to be consistently productive. He may become more productive in the future, but for now he's a bit of a wasted pick. To be fair, Benn has at least been a special teams demon, and that will keep him employed in the NFL regardless of his future progression.
3rd round (67) - CB Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt
This was the pick no one saw coming. The Bucs needed a cornerback, but Lewis was a name no one had heard. He fit the picture physically, though: he was tall, physical, aggressive, and flashed the ability to hang with receivers down the field. Unfortunately, he never really developed and barely got onto the field over the past three years. Even his special teams role was reduced this past season. He's been pipped by numerous late-round picks and undrafted free agents -- but he does keep hanging on to his job. He has the physical tools to be good. The Bucs must be hoping he'll somehow develop some skills to go along with that.
4th round (101) - WR Mike Williams, Syracuse
This is your big hit draft pick. Three seasons in, Williams has 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns on 193 catches. He's the third-best receiver to come out of this draft, behind Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas -- both first-round picks. Williams fell because of several incidents at Syracuse mostly related to being a college student and acting like an ass. Williams has had two outstanding seasons, and one disappointing one in 2011 when he was asked to be the number one receiver. That failed, but he's been outstanding and productive as a second receiver. This pick was a massive hit.
6th round (172) - P Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech
Yes, the Bucs used a draft pick on a punter. And he never took an NFL snap. Bust.
7th round (210) - S Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech
Cody Grimm was pressed into a starting role in 2010, and did surprisingly well. He was victimized in his first game, but bounced back and turned into a solid (if unspectacular) starter who did his best work in run defense. Unfortunately, injuries ended his first two seasons and eroded his effectiveness, and his third season was spent as a special teamer only. It's a good result for a seventh-rounder, a core special teamer and occasional starter.
7th round (217) - LB Dekoda Watson, Florida State
Dekoda Watson is a bit of an odd prospect. One of the most athletic players on the team, he has 15 starts and has been an okay but not good linebacker. He's had the opportunity to show himself as a pass-rusher, but he has just one sack and can only do one thing: run really fast around the offensive tackle -- which doesn't work nearly often enough. He's a beast of a special teamer, though, and he he can start at linebacker in a pinch, so that's a pretty decent result for a seventh-rounder.
7th round (253) - DE Erik Lorig, Stanford
He was drafted as a defensive end, but the Bucs turned Lorig into a fullback -- successfully, I must say. He's had a few issues at times as he's still learning the position, but he's physical and strong, doesn't look bad catching the ball and is a very good special teamer, taking 80% of all special teams snaps last season. A successful result for a very late seventh-rounder.
So what do we have? I see one extremely high-level starter (Gerald McCoy), a very good starter (Mike Williams), a decent starter at fullback and special teams demon (Erik Lorig), three special teams standouts who can start in a spot and develop into something better down the road (Cody Grimm, Dekoda Watson and Arrelious Benn). I also see a few failed picks: Brian Price, who busted out because of injuries. Myron Lewis, who just can't get on the field -- and when he does, he looks horrible. And Brent Bowden, who never took an NFL snap. This wasn't an amazing, franchise-defining draft -- but overall, it was pretty good. And 10th in the NFL that season may be ranking it a little low.