A few days ago, you may have seen a brief clip of Texans fans booing the announcement that, with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Texans had selected J.J. Watt. You can see the full segment here.
Now, a screen grab of the comments on the Texans' Facebook post announcing the pick has gone somewhat viral, due to how many Houston fans were very clearly disapproving of the guy who, only four years later, is already in the conversation for the greatest player in the history of that franchise.
Sure, it's pretty damn amusing to go back and look at how those fans reacted to the Watt pick... but hindsight makes fools of us all. And to prove that point, I went back and found some choice reactions to various picks the Bucs have made over the past few years.
Maybe surprisingly, there weren't any real "Watt" type reactions, bar the first example below; the players which have become stalwarts of the franchise - your Gerald McCoys and your Lavonte Davids - were widely applauded by the Bucs Nation readership. What I did find plenty of, however, were reactions that, while at the time were reasonable (and most of which echo how I felt at the time), proved us to have been way too optimistic as a fanbase.
So, let the shaming roll on.
First up, here's this gem from last year, on the selection of Mike Evans:
Of course, Evans went on to become the youngest receiver in NFL history to have a 1000-yard season and set a new franchise record for single-season touchdowns in his rookie campaign. Swing and a miss, matthan. We'll leave the "Browns are killing it" phrase to stand on its own.
Unfortunately, Evans is the only real example of someone decrying a player who ended up proving them wrong. There are, however, plenty of supportive comments of eventual busts, such as this one from 2012 on Mark Barron's selection:
Bearing in mind that this draft pick came just two years after picking Gerald McCoy, even at the time I'm not sure how someone could state that Barron was "the best 1st rd pick the bucs have made in a long while."
Now that at the end of his third year, Barron's already wearing a different team's colours (and, despite flashing some real talent, never developed into a consistent playmaker), it looks like 'rapsody' may have been a little hasty in crowning Barron.
In 2011, the Bucs doubled down on defensive ends with the first two picks, drafting Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers in the first and second rounds respectively. After Clayborn was drafted, Bucs Nation user 'Tiny iZ Boss' showed a little bit of clairvoyance with this comment:
Bowers was indeed there in the second round, and we got to see what a Clayborn-Price-McCoy-Bowers DL looked like. It didn't quite last for ten years.
'Tiny' was far from alone in his thinking. Here's a selection of comments from once Bowers became a Buc:
A lot of joy there - and again, these were sentiments that I'm sure pretty much all Bucs fans shared at the time. I'm not sure, however, how many of us would have claimed that the team had just "recreated the 2002 line"!
One Bucs Nation member, however, was a little more cautious, and in retrospect pretty much nailed what would eventually happen, in the first part of this comment:
Four years on, and Clayborn failed to provide consistent pass rush, though his development was certainly hindered by having three different DCs in four years. Bowers, whether due to his knee or not, never turned into the player that he was projected to be. The Bucs are still looking for a long-term solution to their pass rush problems.
In the sixth round of that year, the Bucs selected USC running back Allen Bradford. One USC fan took to the Bucs Nation comments to gush about Bradford:
In response to those three points, in reverse order:
3) Kareem Huggins never returned to the NFL following a Week 6 knee injury in 2010, though he was voted an 'All-Star' in the FXFL in 2014
2) the backup to Blount ended up being 'fan favourite' Kregg Lumpkin
1) the running back who was a 'third round talent at worst' is still floating around the NFL... as a linebacker
Let's go back to a pick from the pre-Dominik era, the oft-troubled Aqib Talib. One commenter, a fan of Kansas, had this to say about the former Jayhawk:
The user 'rockchalk' was responding to some questions about Talib's performance at Kansas outside of corner (as you can see, he also played some receiver), but there's phrase that sticks out like a sore thumb:
He had a daughter born over the summer of 07, and he has publicly said numerous times that he is a completely changed man since. He was a model teammate and citizen this past seasons.... he isn't going to be a behaviour problem whatsoever IMO, don't worry about that.
Yeah, about that...
Finally, just to prove that it's not just the Bucs Nation users who get things wrong, here's two comments on the thread about the drafting of Myron Lewis in 2010:
"It's like they're describing Ronde"; "If there's any position where I'll trust Raheem's judgement blindly, it would be DB."
How'd that work out, Sander?
(sidenote: please don't fire me)
IN CONCLUSION: we all 'know' that you can't judge a draft pick until years later, but we might not 'know it' know it. When you look back at some of the comments on draft picks past, it really hits home just how much of a crapshoot the draft really can be. How many of the comments posted on Bucs Nation last weekend might end up in a post like this in a few years time? In the age where the 'hot take' is king, there may be many more of these types of comments revisited in the future!