The Tampa Bay Buccaneers's 2015 NFL draft class departs so far from the consensus of independent draft analysts, that only five teams had a worse draft, going by a consensus draft board compiled by Arif Hasan of Vikings Territory. Hasan's analysis is pretty interesting. He compiled draft boards of 43 different analysts from all over the draftnik community to see where the consensus ranked each player. And then he scored each team on how they did, according to the consensus.
Second-round pick Donovan Smith is the main culprit here. The Bucs took him with the 34th overall pick, while the consensus board had him ranked 89th -- that's a pretty huge difference. Smith really wasn't highly-valued in draftnik community, even with a late rise. Ali Marpet contributed, too: he was ranked 83rd while the Bucs drafted him 61st. And neither Kaelin Clay (184th overall) nor Joey Iosefa (231st overall) even made the consensus board.
The other players were less problematic. Kwon Alexander went 124th, but was ranked 101st. Kenny Bell was picked 162nd overall, while the consensus board had him 147th. Those two players represent okay value at the spots where they were picked, although they weren't exactly home-runs. Jameis Winston was ranked 2nd behind Leonard Williams, so the consensus board dings the Bucs slightly for picking him first overall.
I'd argue that this is a bit of a problem. I'm a big believer in the wisdom of crowds when it comes to the draft, and the Buccaneers apparently have no faith in that wisdom whatsoever. Granted, there are a few things the crowds have difficulty accounting for, most notably character, injury issues, and coaching and scheme fits.
And we can actually explain most of these selections in that way. Donovan Smith's biggest issue wasn't talent, but consistency on the field and a reported work ethic problem away from it. That's tough to account for -- apparently the Bucs believe their coaching staff can turn it into a non-issue. Does that warrant a pick? I don't know. That's hard to forecast. But evaluators were split on Smith, too, as he represented one of the biggest disagreements among evaluators, being ranked between #54 and #89.
Similarly, Ali Marpet is spectacularly difficult to evaluate. There is no film of his college days out there, not that Division III film would prove all that much in the first place. That means that evaluators had to go off just his athletic testing in the combine, and his performance in the Senior Bowl -- a rather limited sample size. NFL teams have more resources and presumably they were able to better evaluate him. So again, it's tough to fault the Bucs for deviating from the norm there.
Excusing the picks of Clay and Iosefa is a lot more difficult, though. To be fair, at that point in the draft teams are largely picking undrafted free agents. That doesn't mean those players can't be important, but the rate of success is low and it's mostly about specific team fits. But neither player was even listed on the consensus board, and both seem highly limited: a returner and fullback, respectively. Not exactly the most important or most difficult positions to fill.
That said, there is one redeeming factor here: the Seattle Seahawks ranked in last place both this year and last year. And they've done pretty well.