Three years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers embarked on an effort to rebuild their team. That turned out to be a failure, with Lovie Smith fired after two years, almost all of those first-year free agent signings turning out to be busts, and Mike Evans the only truly standout player from that 2014 rebuilding effort.
Evans has topped 1,000 yards receiving in each of his three seasons, made the Pro Bowl last year and has 27 career touchdowns already. No doubt, that’s what teams want when they draft wide receivers in the top 10. RB Charles Sims (No. 69) has been more than serviceable, too with 941 yards receiving and 863 yards rushing. But Seferian-Jenkins couldn’t make it three-for-three on offensive weapons atop the draft. The Buccaneers made just six picks total in the ’14 draft, three following Sims’s selection early in Round 3. OL Kevin Pamphile (No. 149) was the best of that remaining bunch. OL Kadeem Edwards, taken six picks before him, never suited up for the Bucs.
Burke forgets to mention Robert Herron here, the sixth-round speedster who was going to be their explosive return guy but ended up doing nothing. He also forgets about Cameron Brate, who the Bucs picked up in undrafted free agency—not technically a part of the draft per se, but a pretty relevant player anyway.
However, this is a good reminder that most draft picks don’t really work out. The Bucs came away with a Pro Bowl receiver, a decent but oft-injured change-of-pace back, a good backup/potential starting offensive lineman and nothing else.
If that’s good enough for a B, imagine how bad the rest of the NFL does in drafts on a regular basis. While we’re all starry-eyed over this year’s draft, don’t be surprised if in three years most of them have been replaced, and O.J. Howard is the only really productive player (if even him). That’s just the reality of the NFL: most players don’t make it.