The 2017 NFL draft happens at the end of this month, and we’re all waiting (im)patiently to see what happens there. One thing we can expect: early excitement will be much higher than realistically warranted. That always happens.
Look at, for instance, the 2014 NFL draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came out of that with an outstanding first-round pick in Mike Evans, but the rest has been a mixed bag at best. SB Nation’s Jon Benne reviewed that draft, looking primarily at the first round, and gave a pretty glowing review of Evans’ performance so far.
In case you couldn’t already tell, the WR class was stacked in 2014. Evans exploded out of the gate with 12 touchdowns his rookie year, despite having Josh McCown and Mike Glennon throwing him the ball. He had a slightly down year in 2015 but still cleared 1,200 receiving yards. Evans and Jameis Winston developed a strong chemistry, though, and last year he set new highs with 96 catches, 1,321, and 12 touchdowns.
Already a top-10 receiver, Evans doesn’t even turn 24 until August. He’s the linchpin of a Bucs offense that keeps getting better by the year. Grade: A+
Yes, surprise, the Bucs get a good grade for a three-time 1,000+-yard receiver who looks like a perennial Pro Bowler and should get a ridiculously expensive contract at some point in the next year or so.
So that was a good pick. The rest of the Bucs’ draft class has been more of a mixed bag, though. Second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins got kicked off the team last year after some mediocre production. Sixth-round receiver Robert Herron and fifth-round lineman Kadeem Edwards contributed nothing before being released.
That leaves third-round pick Charles Sims and fifth-rounder Kevin Pamphile. The former turned into an injury-prone but pretty solid change-of-pace/receiving back—not a lead guy, but a decent complement. And Pamphile has been a valuable swing backup who started all of last season and did a solid job at left guard—so that’s definitely a win.
So that’s one Pro Bowler, one starter, and one rotational contributor in a full draft class. That’s an okay result--certainly many teams do worse—but it’s not exactly a home run.