The big pre-draft discussion among Tampa Bay Buccaneers revolved mostly around Florida State running back Dalvin Cook: would the Bucs really spend a first-round pick on a running back, were they done with Doug Martin, would a tight end or a defensive lineman not make more sense?
Ultimately, most of those discussions became moot when Alabama tight end O.J. Howard fell to the Bucs at number nineteen. A prospective top ten pick, Howard was too good to ignore no matter how the Bucs felt about Doug Martin and Dalvin Cook.
But that doesn’t settle the issue: were the Bucs interested in Dalvin Cook? Mark Cook of Pewter Report says, in yesterday’s mailbag, that the Bucs had serious interest in drafting Dalvin Cook, though he’s unclear on how likely the Bucs were to trade up for him in the second round. Obviously, they weren’t interested enough to actually go get him.
As far as a player they had interest in? Dalvin Cook was definitely a player that was under strong consideration at No. 19 overall (PewterReport now knows that to be true).
Dalvin Cook ended up going up north, as the Minnesota Vikings picked him with the ninth pick of the second round. The Bucs were certainly right to pass on him at number nineteen given that development: they could’ve traded back a long way and still have drafted him had they really wanted him.
Obviously, the Bucs didn’t do that, but journalist Cook’s report that the Bucs were strongly considering football player Cook in the first round does lead to another question: how happy and secure are the Bucs with Doug Martin?
If the Bucs wanted to replace him with a first-round pick this year, Martin’s short-term future isn’t exactly secure. But then the fact that the team didn’t do much to replace him—a fifth-round pick isn’t exactly a massive threat to his position—suggests that actually, they’re okay with him for at least another year.
So were the Bucs just interested in Cook because they thought he was that good, and not because they’re done with Martin? Are they now stuck with Martin because they couldn’t find a back they really liked? Or is it a combination of factors?
Whatever’s the case, the Bucs look to be sticking with Martin for this season. And starting in week four of the regular season, when his suspension is over, we’ll see how that pans out.