When I wrote the original series, I knew it wasn’t going to be all daisies and rainbows. GM Bruce Allen is known for his terrible drafts and how he screwed up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I wrote an article last year comparing his drafts to GM Mark Dominic’s tenure. If you ignore my terrible writing, it wasn’t a pretty picture. With the 2006 Buccaneers draft, it was less doom and gloom and more of a rollercoaster ride.
In 2005, the Buccaneers were coming into the offseason with an 11-5 record. Sadly, they lost their NFL Wild Card game to the Washington Redskins. They trudged through a season where starting QB Brian Griese fell to injury and the offense was average at best. There were bright spots like Carnell Williams' NFL Hall of Fame first three games, starting out 5-1, and the defense returning to form. Three of the 2005 Buccaneer draftees started the majority of the team’s games but the 2004 Buccaneer’s draft started to fade away. WR Michael Clayton gained only 324 yards and FS Will Allen intercepted three passes.
Come the offseason and many fans were hopeful that the Buccaneers were on the rise. In free agency, the team was rather quiet with big players and decided to resign most players. Here’s what GM Bruce Allen did:
Most of the players let go were older, injured or relegated to be back-ups. So after free agency, we had multiple holes across the offense and defense. For offense, we had holes at QB, OT, and WR due to age and production concerns. And for defense, we had depth concerns at CB and DE.
With the 23rd pick in the NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Davin Joseph, G, Oklahoma.
The 2006 NFL Draft was filled with quality offensive line players. Some of the offensive tackles had to move inside but the draft produced eight decent players. From his combine scores, Davin Joseph was a very athletic guard across the board and it showed on tape. At Oklahoma, he blocked for Adrian Peterson and in his senior year, he won First-Team All-Big 12 as a guard.
Notable draft choices before next pick: CB Johnathan Joseph, WR Santonio Holmes, TE Marcedes Lewis, C Nick Mangold, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, OT Marcus McNeil, OT Andrew Whitworth, WR Greg Jennings, OG Daryn Colledge, OG Deuce Lutui, OG Chris Chester
With one of the holes at OG filled, the Bucs still needed help at OT, QB, WR, CB, and DE.
With the 59th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jeremy Trueblood, OT, Boston College.
At Boston College, Trueblood played at the LT position. He was very good in the run game but had questionable pass protection. Many scouts projected him as a RT in the NFL due to his college play.
For RT, many teams look for a player who is a little bigger than your average OT, has strength in the running game, and can be adequate at pass protection. At the NFL Combine, Trueblood put up decent numbers for speed and agility but was terrible in his explosiveness. As one of the tallest OTs ever drafted, he had an imposing frame with long arms and hands. While he wasn’t the best OT in the draft, he fit the role as a quality RT.
Notable draft choices before next pick: CB Tim Jennings, OT Eric Winston, TE Tony Scheffler
With the 90th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Maurice Stovall, WR, Notre Dame.
While playing at Notre Dame, Maurice Stovall showed big play ability. He wasn’t the fastest player but he was skilled at being a possession receiver. While he played in four seasons at Notre Dame, his senior year contributed towards 50% of his total production. Which is a red flag for me.
Looking at the NFL Combine and Pro Day tests, Stovall was in the top percentile of WRs for height and weight. However, he was the slowest WR in the draft. He showed the agility to play in the slot but his route running at Notre Dame was sketchy at best.
Notable draft choices before next pick: OG Jahri Evans, WR Brandon Mashall, TE Owen Daniels, DE Jason Hatcher, DE Frostee Rucker, WR Jason Avant
In the 122nd pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Alan Zemaitis, CB, Penn State.
While at Penn State, Zemaitis was a shutdown corner. He was quick, fluid with his breaks, and had a knack for getting interceptions. Over the course of his career, he caught 12 INTs and many teams played away from his side of the field. The bad thing is that he rarely was asked to play zone and he was injured at Penn State with a torn labrum (shoulder).
At Penn State's Pro Day, Zemaitis showed his injury. His bench press and vertical were terrible for a cornerback. His agility showed how fluid he was in his breaks but his speed was questionable.
Notable draft choices before next pick: DE Elvis Dumervil, OG Rob Sims, DE Ray Edwards, DE Rob Ninkovich, OG Willie Colon, DE Parys Haralson
With the 156th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Julian Jenkins, DE, Stanford.
At Stanford, Jenkins played DT in his sophomore and junior year but as a senior he move out to DE. He wasn’t a sack specialist but he did perform well. To translate his production to the NFL, he would have to play either the LDE position or as an undersized DT.
While this draft was filled with exceptional DEs, Jenkins was an enigma. He had a decent initial speed but his explosion off the ball was average. What he missed in explosiveness, he made up for in agility.
Notable draft choices before next pick: TE Delanie Walker, OG Kevin Boothe, DE Mark Anderson, DE Jeremy Mincy, OT Jeromey Clary, OG Chris Kuper
6th Round (A)
With the 194th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Toledo.
Due to him being a QB, the scouting and pro day numbers don’t really matter. He was the most efficient passer to get drafted however that may have been a product of playing less talented schools.
Notable draft choices before next pick: DE Melvin Oliver, OG Charlie Johnson
6th Round (B)
With the 202nd pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select T.J. Williams, TE, NC State.
Coming out of NC State, Williams was a talented player. He owns the record at NC State for most receiving yards and led the team in his last two years in receptions. At the NFL Combine, he put up good speed scores for his size but had terrible agility.
Notable draft choices before next pick: CB Cortland Finnegan, OT Zach Streif, OC Will Montgomery, FS Antoine Bethea, SS Jarrad Page
With all of the Buccaneer’s holes filled, the last round was for players the team thought they could teach up.
With the 235th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Justin Phinisee, SS, Oregon.
I couldn’t find any scouting numbers or NCAA data on him.
He didn't last through training camp.
With the 241st pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Charles Bennett, DE, Clemson.
Charles Bennett was a DE in college and he showed the explosiveness to be a good DE. You can see his NFL Combine and Pro Day scores in round 5. However, the Buccaneers tried to use him as an OLB and it didn’t work out.
With the 244th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Tim Massaquoi, TE, Michigan.
As from the round 6 table, you can see that he was fairly agile but he had a terrible vertical and speed due to coming off of surgery. He didn't last through training camp.
Notable 7th round draft choices: WR Marques Colston
Notable Undrafted Free Agents: WR Miles Austin, RB Mike Bell, WR Michael Spurlock, K Matt Prater, S Jarrett Bush, DT Remi Ayodele, CB Tramon Williams, and the many I couldn’t find.
The 2006 Buccaneers draft class was built on necessity. While it worked out initially with Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood going on to have good careers, the rest of the draft choices were back-ups at best. Maurice Stovall showed his slow speed every year but contributed on special teams. Alan Zemaitis was put on IR at the end of his rookie season and released the following offseason due the same injury he suffered at Penn State. Julian Jenkins was moved inside to DT with the Buccaneers but he too fell onto IR and was also released the following offseason. Bruce Gradkowski was a valuable asset with the Bucs and later on in his career, the Raiders. T.J. Williams blew out his Achilles on the last day of rookie camp to end his NFL career.
Sadly, only four players lasted to the end of their 2nd season: Joseph, Trueblood, Stovall, and Gradkowski. But at least the Buccaneers filled the holes through the draft. Right?
2005 Buccaneers' Draft Review (LINK WHEN POSTED)
Note to readers: All defensive data is incomplete due to the NCAA not recording defensive data until the 2005 season.
Special thanks to CBSSports.com and NCAA.org for the data provided in this series.