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Super Bowl champions don’t draft offensive skill players

Super Bowls are built on great quarterbacks, and good defense.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Wisconsin vs Western Michigan Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are probably going to pick an offensive skill player in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. Here’s an interesting statistic, though: Super Bowl-winning champions don’t really do that. That’s what SB Nation’s Adam Stites figured out, anyway.

Of the last 10 teams to play in the Super Bowl — which includes two appearances each by the Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Denver Broncos — 62 percent of first-round picks in the four years leading up to their respective appearances were used on defensive players, compared to the league average of 52 percent.

Just 14 percent of those picks were used on offensive skill-position players, nearly half of the league average of 27 percent.

That’s interesting, to say the least, and not particularly encouraging for the Bucs. They have spent just one first-round pick on defense in the past four years. Though, to be fair, they’ve only had three first-round draft picks in that time, and both offensive picks were massive successes: Mike Evans and Jameis Winston.

Still, the Bucs haven’t really built a pipeline of talented, young defensive players. They spent just one draft pick on defense in 2014 and 2015. They tried to make up for that last year, but still walked out of that draft with just four defensive players.

This year is likely to be another balanced group of draft picks, but the first-round pick in particular seems to be headed for the offensive side of that ball—whether that’s tight end, running back or wide receiver remains to be seen. Offensive line and quarterback seem out of the question, at least.

Of course, that may not be a horrible thing. Super Bowl winning teams have one thing in common, other than this defensive focus: they have really good quarterbacks who can compensate for a lack of talent at skill positions, to some extent.

Jameis Winston may get to that point, but he’s not quite there right now. Which means investing in a pipeline of offensive talent is still useful. But perhaps we’ve been unfairly neglecting the defense as an option for the Bucs in the first round. A safety would make some sense, though it’s hard to find one who would fit the nineteenth overall pick. A defensive end, though, is something that could definitely happen.