BucsNation has previously looked at Tampa Bay General Manager Jason Licht’s drafts. However, as the 2018 Draft is just days away let’s take a more historical look at the Bucs’ roster. Instead of round by round we will go year by year. This isn’t to grade Tampa’s general managers per se or to compare them to each other but just to track how the roster got to where it’s at and what Tampa has to do going forward, although it’s impossible not to pass judgment on the job GMs have done.
First though, some things to keep in mind. Cade Massey and Richard Thaler’s landmark 2005 essay study of the NFL Draft essentially showed that teams at the end of the first round typically get more surplus value than teams who pick at the beginning of the first round, and that surplus value was more important than a player’s ability because of the hard salary cap. The NFL looked to reward bad teams by giving them the first picks in the draft but because players at the top of the first round came with expensive contracts the teams at the end of the first round actually benefited the most; the player wasn’t much worse but the contracts were far cheaper. In other words, contract values fell faster than the quality of players. This gave good teams a significant advantage in building a winning team. Brian Burke’s re-examination of that paper after the new CBA included a rookie wage scale found that the principle still held true, even if the effects weren’t quite as large as they were before.
The other thing they discovered was that while NFL teams were generally quite good at identifying the best talent at any given position, they really weren’t able to distinguish with any reliability who was the best between that group, or between the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best players. In short, the Draft is a lottery and there are numerous examples of inefficiency both because it operates like a market (positional value can get a worse player drafted ahead of a better pure player at a less valuable position), and because humans are involved. Their conclusion was to always trade down and never up, accumulating as many draft picks as possible in order to give yourself more chances to hit on a player. I believe we’ve actually seen this in action recently with the Cleveland Browns, but it didn’t stop them from firing Sashi Brown, the man who was responsible for the Browns’ insane draft capital.
Also, as previously discussed, the Draft is really about four and maybe five rounds long. Top 100 picks are premium opportunities. Between the draft and undrafted-free-agency a team generally needs to find at minimum two starters per year and the argument could be made the minimum is higher than that. Perhaps three starters or two starters and two depth/role players?
One last note worth mentioning. Compensatory picks have created an additional avenue of inefficiency that good teams use to create value. Using Belichick as an example, New England is rarely involved in free agency. Because they are good at drafting (and even better at player development) and pick cheap contracts in free agency they receive compensatory picks, which are no higher than 3rd round picks. However, over time all of those compensatory picks have given the Patriots the added value somewhat equal to the first or second overall pick in a draft.
The 2010 Draft:
We open with the 2010 Draft, the second season of Mark Domink’s tenure as Buccaneer general manager.
|1||2010||1||3||Gerald McCoy||DT||22||2010||2017||1||6||7||61||109||109||48.5||Oklahoma||College Stats|
|2||2010||2||35||Brian Price||DT||21||2010||2012||0||0||1||4||20||14||3.0||UCLA||College Stats|
|3||2010||2||39||Arrelious Benn||WR||21||2010||2017||0||0||2||8||61||24||65||990||6||Illinois||College Stats|
|4||2010||3||67||Myron Lewis||DB||22||2010||2012||0||0||0||1||28||1||Vanderbilt||College Stats|
|5||2010||4||101||Mike Williams||WR||23||2010||2014||0||0||3||25||63||52||223||3089||26||Syracuse||College Stats|
|6||2010||6||172||Brent Bowden||P||0||0||0||Virginia Tech||College Stats|
|7||2010||7||210||Cody Grimm||DB||23||2010||2012||0||0||1||6||23||12||2||Virginia Tech||College Stats|
|8||2010||7||217||Dekoda Watson||LB||22||2010||2017||0||0||0||11||103||7||1||4.0||Florida St.||College Stats|
|9||2010||7||253||Erik Lorig||DE||23||2010||2014||0||0||1||1||66||30||39||220||2||Stanford||College Stats|
We’ll round it and say the Bucs had five top-100 picks. Only one player is still on the roster and that’s Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. Arrelious Benn and Dekoda Watson are the only other players still in the NFL. From NEPatriotsdraft.com, here’s the list of UDFA’s Tampa Bay signed in 2010, twenty-three in total:
Hunter Lawrence, K, Texas; Brandon Gillbeaux, DE, Delaware; Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss; Rico McCoy, LB, Tennessee; Sergio Render, OG, Virginia Tech; Preston Parker, WR, North Alabama/Florida St.; Derek Hardman, OT, Eastern Kentucky; Jeron Mastrud, TE, Kansas St.; Vladimir Richard, OG, Tennessee; James Ruffin, DE, UNI; James Williams, OT, Harvard; Dennis Roga, S, Tennessee (Tryout?); Nekos Brown, DT, Va Tech (Tryout?); Greg Boone, TE, Va Tech (Tryout?); Darius Marshall, RB, Marshall (Tryout?); Shawn Moore WR, Arkansas Baptist (Tryout?); Torrey Davis, DL, Jacksonville State (Tryout?); Buddy Farnham, WR Brown (Tryout); Ryan Reeves, LB, Wayne State (Tryout?); Jared Zwilling, C, Purdue (Tryout?); Jamar Bryant WR, East Carolina (Tryout?); Abdul Kuyateh, OG, Louisville (Tryout?); Ian Bustillo, OC, UCF (Tryout)
I won’t go looking for each one, but I don’t think any of them are still in the league. The answer may have been different in 2013 but at this point it’s hard to say the Bucs met their two-starter benchmark for this season. The Bucs went 10-6 in 2010.
The 2011 Draft:
|1||2011||1||20||Adrian Clayborn||DE||23||2011||2017||0||0||2||22||81||50||30.0||Iowa||College Stats|
|2||2011||2||51||Da'Quan Bowers||DE||21||2011||2015||0||0||0||7||53||10||7.0||Clemson||College Stats|
|4||2011||4||104||Luke Stocker||TE||23||2011||2017||0||0||4||3||83||57||53||412||3||Tennessee||College Stats|
|5||2011||5||151||Ahmad Black||DB||21||2011||2013||0||0||0||3||24||3||2||Florida||College Stats|
|6||2011||6||187||Allen Bradford||RB||23||2011||2015||0||0||0||1||19||0||USC||College Stats|
|7||2011||7||222||Anthony Gaitor||DB||22||2011||2014||0||0||0||1||12||2||Florida International||College Stats|
|8||2011||7||238||Daniel Hardy||TE||24||0||0||0||Idaho||College Stats|
Three, maybe four top-100 picks, if we’re being nice. None of these players are still on the Bucs. Clayborn is a starter for the Falcons, and Stocker was a solid role player for the Bucs for seven seasons. Last I checked Foster was starting for Washington but they are about to go through a badly-needed rebuild on defense and may not be long for the league. The Bucs’ 2011 UDFAs:
Nick Reveiz (LB, Tennessee); Derrell Smith (LB, Syracuse); Raymond Webber (WR, Arkansas Pine-Bluff); Detron Lewis (WR, Texas Tech); Mossis Madu (RB, Oklahoma); Mike Coughlin (QB, Boise State); Armando Allen (RB, Notre Dame); Matt Allen (C, Texas A&M); Corey Brandon (OL, Oklahoma); Brandon Heath (LB, Louisville); Josh Jasper (K, LSU); Christian Yount (LS, UCLA); Jock Sanders (WR, West Virginia); Aaron Feld (LS, Mississippi State); Devin Holland (S, McNeese State); Quinton Borders (OL, Union College); Thomas Claiborne (OL, Boston College); Deonte Jackson (RB, Idaho); Victor Aieyewa (LB, Washington)
I think it’s safe to say the Bucs failed this season as well. Armando Allen never played for the Bucs but he did play two years for the Bears. None of the other names stick out or ring a bell for me. If they had kept Clayborn they could have salvaged something from this class, but it’s hard to say the Bucs were wrong for jettisoning any of these players. They just didn’t draft well. The Bucs went 4-12 in 2011.
The 2012 Draft:
|1||2012||1||7||Mark Barron||DB||22||2012||2017||0||0||4||29||92||81||8||8.0||Alabama||College Stats|
|2||2012||1||31||Doug Martin||RB||23||2012||2017||1||2||5||35||68||65||1150||4633||26||130||1091||2||Boise St.||College Stats|
|3||2012||2||58||Lavonte David||LB||22||2012||2017||1||1||6||52||91||91||10||18.0||Nebraska||College Stats|
|4||2012||5||140||Najee Goode||LB||22||2012||2017||0||0||0||7||64||4||1.0||West Virginia||College Stats|
|5||2012||6||174||Keith Tandy||DB||23||2012||2017||0||0||0||10||84||15||1||18||0||8||1.0||West Virginia||College Stats|
|6||2012||7||212||Michael Smith||RB||24||2012||2014||0||0||0||0||1||0||Utah St.||College Stats|
|7||2012||7||233||Drake Dunsmore||TE||23||2012||2012||0||0||0||0||Northwestern||College Stats|
Some might disagree, but I think the 2012 season counts, even if there’s still some dysfunction here. The Bucs should have moved Barron to linebacker like the Rams have, but maybe they felt it was redundant with David, who is still a criminally underrated player. I also count Doug Martin as a starter even though he only had two good years because he was still a starter for five years for the Bucs, which is a pretty long time for a running back. Tandy is also still on the team and is better than most people think. The Bucs’ 2012 UDFAs:
Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State; Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati; Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern (WORKOUT); Sean Baker, SAF, Ball State; Morkeith Brown, DE, Temple; Tyler Shoemaker, WR, Boise State; Mike VanDerMeulen, OL, Toledo; Brandon Herron, LB, Michigan; Chaz Hine, OG, South Florida; Tramaine Thomas, S, Arkansas; Frank Newsome, LB, Central Arkansas; Adonis Thomas, RB, Toledo (TRYOUT); Jordan Jefferson, QB, LSU; Luther Ambrose, WR, Louisiana-Monroe; Ryan Baker, LB, LSU; Cody Johnson, FB, Texas; Donte’e Nicholls, DT, Tennessee State; Bradley Sowell, T, Mississippi; Tyler Urban, TE, West Virginia; Quenton Washington, CB, South Florida; Desmond Wynn, T, Rutgers; Broderick Green, RB, Arkansas (TRYOUT)
I also think Leonard Johnson was a hit even if he wasn’t a starter. He played several years for the Bucs and was still in the NFL with the Bills as of last season. His career may be close to over but 245 career tackles with five interceptions and eight forced fumbles is a pretty good career. The Bucs went 7-9 in 2012.
The 2013 Draft:
|1||2013||2||43||Johnthan Banks||DB||23||2013||2017||0||0||2||12||57||40||7||Mississippi St.||College Stats|
|2||2013||3||73||Mike Glennon||QB||23||2013||2017||0||0||1||13||25||22||6-16-0||467||770||4933||34||20||41||90||0||North Carolina St.||College Stats|
|3||2013||4||100||Akeem Spence||DT||21||2013||2017||0||0||2||18||72||41||8.5||Illinois||College Stats|
|4||2013||4||126||William Gholston||DE||22||2013||2017||0||0||4||20||71||46||10.0||Michigan St.||College Stats|
|5||2013||5||147||Steven Means||DE||22||2013||2017||0||0||0||3||26||0||2.0||Buffalo||College Stats|
|6||2013||6||189||Mike James||RB||22||2013||2016||0||0||0||2||23||3||1||1||2||1||0||83||351||0||Miami (FL)||College Stats|
The Bucs lost their first round pick through the infamous Darrelle Revis trade, which in my opinion was awful but they did have two firsts in 2012. This was another bad draft because the only starter they found was William Gholston and he may not be a starter anymore. It looks like they found four backups in Glennon, Spence, James, and maybe Gholston. Lets check the 2013 UDFAs to see if they found any there:
Akrem Shavers, RB, Purdue; Nick Carlson, OL Wyoming; Rashaan Melvin, CB, Northern Illinois; Hubie Graham, TE, Pitt; Evan Landi, TE, USF; Nick Speller, OT, UMass; Brice Schawb, OT, ASU; Rashaan Melvin, CB, Northern Illinois; Deveron Carr, CB, ASU; Robert Marve, QB, Purdue; Montel Harris, RB, Temple/Boston College; Chris Denton, WR, Mount Union; Jeremy Lewis, OL, Miami; Tim Wright, WR, Rutgers; Tenarius Wright, DE/LB, Arkansas; Orwin Smith, RB, Georgia Tech; Jace Daniels, OT, Northern Michigan; Taimi Tutogi, FB, Arizona; Branden Smith, CB, Georgia; Jerrell Gavins, CB, Boise State (Tryout)
There’s a couple notable players here the Bucs didn’t manage right: Tim Wright converted to tight end and played for the Bucs for just a season, then the Patriots and Lions before going back to Rutgers in 2016 where he opened a barber shop before making the Chief’s roster in 2018 and is still under contract. Rashaan Melvin has played for five teams and is currently with the Raiders. This concludes Mark Dominik’s tenure as Buccaneer general manager. In the four seasons from 2010-2013 the Bucs hit their minimum benchmark just once. The Bucs went 4-12 in 2013.
The 2014 Draft:
We begin the 2014 Draft with new general manager Jason Licht. From our study it appears that three years is not sufficient to judge a player. While we may more or less know what a player “is” by three years, it seems more appropriate to judge a player by their rookie contract and whether they are offered a second contract by the club. As we saw, that didn’t happen often enough under Dominik. However, as we get closer to the present day, it becomes more difficult as many of these players are still on their rookie deals.
|1||2014||1||7||Mike Evans||WR||21||2014||2017||0||1||4||33||61||60||309||4579||32||Texas A&M||College Stats|
|2||2014||2||38||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||TE||21||2014||2017||0||0||2||8||38||24||105||1070||10||Washington||College Stats|
|3||2014||3||69||Charles Sims||RB||23||2014||2017||0||0||0||13||47||2||245||958||2||129||1190||6||West Virginia||College Stats|
|4||2014||5||143||Kadeem Edwards||OL||23||2014||2014||0||0||0||0||0||Tennessee St.|
|6||2014||6||185||Robert Herron||WR||22||2014||2014||0||0||0||0||8||0||1||0||0||6||58||1||Wyoming||College Stats|
We have three top-100 picks. Mike Evans was raw coming out but has blossomed into a monster and just received a huge new contract. Sims was a role player and Pamphile was a backup/part-time starter and might be a starter for the Titans this season. Both didn’t see their contracts get renewed. Seferian-Jenkins had a substance abuse problem and was cut, though by all accounts he has gotten it together which is great to see, and he should fight for a starting job next season with the Jaguars. Still, the Bucs needed to hit on an UDFA to meet their benchmark. Did they? Here are the 2014 UDFAs:
Solomon Patton WR Florida; Brett Smith QB Wyoming; Keith Lewis CB Virginia-Lynchburg; Chaz Sutton DE South Carolina; Aaron Burks WR Boise State; Tony Hurd Jr. DB Texas A&M; Matt Patchan OL Boston College; Mycal Swaim SS Eastern Michigan; Chris Burnette OG Georgia
Welp; none of these players became starters for the Bucs. But wait! This list isn’t definitive as this was the year the Bucs picked up Cameron Brate. However, the Bucs cut him, and then so did the Saints before the Bucs picked him back up in 2015 so we’re going to count him towards 2015. It’s close but I think the Bucs failed their benchmark here. The Bucs went 2-14 in 2014.
The 2015 Draft:
|1||2015||1||1||Jameis Winston||QB||21||2015||2017||0||1||3||33||45||45||18-27-0||939||1544||11636||69||44||140||513||8||Florida St.||College Stats|
|2||2015||2||34||Donovan Smith||T||22||2015||2017||0||0||3||23||48||48||Penn St.||College Stats|
|4||2015||4||124||Kwon Alexander||OLB||21||2015||2017||0||1||3||21||40||40||6||6.0||LSU||College Stats|
|5||2015||5||162||Kenny Bell||WR||23||0||0||0||Nebraska||College Stats|
|6||2015||6||184||Kaelin Clay||WR||23||2015||2017||0||0||0||3||20||2||3||27||0||6||85||0||Utah||College Stats|
|7||2015||7||231||Joey Iosefa||FB||24||2015||2015||0||0||0||0||2||0||15||51||0||Hawaii||College Stats|
This is the big one, and the one whose rookie contracts are up after the 2018 season. Based on what we know and have been told by the team, the Bucs picked up four starters in this draft, by far the most in this decade, despite only having three top-100 type picks. Winston’s fifth-year option was picked up, and Ali Marpet must be re-signed. I doubt very much the Bucs will let go of Donovan Smith and Kwon Alexander either. Here are the 2015 UDFAs:
Ryan Delaire DL Towson; Josh Keyes LB Boston College; Michael Reynolds DE Kansas; Quinton Alston LB Iowa; Rannell Hall WR UCF; Chris Hackett SAF TCU; Donteea Dye WR Heidelberg; Caushaud Lyons DL Tusculum; Dominique Brown RB Louisville; Quayshawne Buckley DT Idaho; Eric Patterson CB Ball State; Braylon Heard RB Kentucky; Deshazor Everett CB Texas A&M; Jamal Young DE Jones Count JC
Delaire and Keyes were on the Bucs’ practice squad for a while I believe, and Dye played and caught some touchdowns but is no longer with the team. In addition, we’ll add Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries to this list. The Bucs got six total starters in this draft. Brate also received his extension that will carry him to the end of O.J. Howard’s rookie contract. Will Humphries be a cap casualty? All in all this seems like one of those cornerstone drafts that the Bucs haven’t had for a long time. The Bucs went 6-10 in 2015.
The 2016 Draft:
|1||2016||1||11||Vernon Hargreaves||CB||21||2016||2017||0||0||1||8||25||23||1||Florida||College Stats|
|2||2016||2||39||Noah Spence||DE||22||2016||2017||0||0||0||4||22||6||6.5||East. Kentucky||College Stats|
|3||2016||2||59||Roberto Aguayo||K||22||2016||2016||0||0||1||0||16||0||Florida St.||College Stats|
|4||2016||4||108||Ryan Smith||CB||23||2016||2017||0||0||1||4||29||10||North Carolina Central|
|5||2016||5||148||Caleb Benenoch||T||22||2016||2017||0||0||0||4||18||6||UCLA||College Stats|
|6||2016||6||183||Devante Bond||OLB||23||2017||2017||0||0||0||1||14||2||Oklahoma||College Stats|
|7||2016||6||197||Dan Vitale||FB||22||2016||2017||0||0||0||0||24||9||7||46||0||Northwestern||College Stats|
The 2016 draft was hugely important: the Bucs needed to make a push to take advantage of Winston’s rookie contract and to build on the enormously successful 2015 draft. They had three top-100 type picks. Unfortunately, the 2016 draft has been a huge disappointment. Hargreaves hasn’t lived up to his draft position and while he’s still technically a starter he lost his job at outside cornerback and may not be a starter at all by the time his rookie contract is up. Spence can’t stay healthy and lost his starting job this offseason. Aguayo was a horrible pick the day it was made but ended in a worst-case scenario disaster. Smith, Benenoch, and Bond have been backup/role players with limited success. Vitale never played a down for the Bucs but has been with the Browns since. The 2016 UDFAs:
Anthony Kelly WR Kutztown; Peyton Barber RB Auburn; Dominique Robertson OL West Georgia; Jontavius Morris DT Western Kentucky; Channing Ward DL Ole Miss; Elijah Shumate SAF Notre Dame; Luke Rhodes LB William & Mary; Russell Hansbrough RB Missouri; Taylor Fallin OL Memphis; Tim Brown TE/FB West Chester; Kivon Cartwright TE Colorado State; Traveon Henry S Northwestern; Tyson Coleman OLB Oregon; Alan Cross FB/TE Memphis; DaVonte Lambert DE Auburn; Cassanova McKinzy LB Auburn; Roman Namdar WR Mount Union; Dez Stewart WR Ohio Dominican; Leonard Wester OL Missouri Western; Philip Ely QB Toledo (Tryout); Steven Bench QB USF (Tryout); Mike Kozlakowski DE Maine (Tryout); Rob Trudo OL Syracuse (Tryout)
Many of these players have made the Bucs’ practice squad and even started games, but I wouldn’t call any of them starters. I would argue the Bucs failed their benchmark for this season. If I had to guess, by the time the players from this draft are done with their rookie seasons I think only one of Hargreaves and Spence will stay with the team but it’s a real possibility none of them make it to a second contract. The Bucs went 9-7 in 2016.
The 2017 Draft:
We’ve gotten into territory so recent we can only speculate as to what will happen.
|1||2017||1||19||O.J. Howard||TE||22||2017||2017||0||0||1||3||14||14||26||432||6||Alabama||College Stats|
|2||2017||2||50||Justin Evans||S||22||2017||2017||0||0||1||3||14||9||3||Texas A&M||College Stats|
|3||2017||3||84||Chris Godwin||WR||21||2017||2017||0||0||0||4||16||2||34||525||1||Penn St.||College Stats|
|4||2017||3||107||Kendell Beckwith||ILB||22||2017||2017||0||0||0||5||16||11||1.0||LSU||College Stats|
|5||2017||5||162||Jeremy McNichols||RB||21||2017||2017||0||0||0||0||2||0||Boise St.||College Stats|
|6||2017||7||223||Stevie Tu'ikolovatu||NT||26||0||0||0||USC||College Stats|
The Bucs had three but we could stretch to four top-100 type players in this draft. Howard and Evans look like starters. Godwin hasn’t played nearly as much as he should have but he looks the part and will get his opportunity after Desean Jackson leaves, which is likely after the 2018 season. Beckwith was also a good find and looks to be a starter at SAM backer. McNichols isn’t even on the team anymore and because Stevie Tu’ikolovatu was placed on IR last season we haven’t seen what he can do. Here are the Bucs’ 2017 UDFAs:
TE Antony Auclair, Laval; DE Deondre Barnett, Southern Illinois; LB Richie Brown, Mississippi State; LB Riley Bullough, Michigan State; CB Maurice Fleming, West Virginia; T Cole Gardner, Eastern Michigan; S Alex Gray, Appalachian State; T Korren Kirven, Alabama; QB Sefo Liufau, Colorado; CB Greg Mabin, Iowa; LB Paul Magloire, Arizona; CB Jonathan Moxey, Boise State; WR Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State; WR Bobo Wilson, Florida State
The staff raves about Auclair, and some of these players made the practice squad, but so far none are close to earning a starting role. The Bucs went 5-11 in 2017.
The Bucs had about 27 top-100 picks and hit on eleven of them, by my count. Dominik is responsible for just four of the eleven starters. The Bucs had roughly 29 other picks and “hit” on five of them, even counting depth players who contributed heavily or are still on the team even if they aren’t starters. The only notable UDFAs all came under Licht’s tenure.
Here’s a link to the entire draft history of the Bucs. In my opinion the Bucs need another 2015-type draft or something close to it to catapult them into a contender. Could the 2018 draft be that year?