Was The 2012 Draft Bucs’ Best?May 28th, 2013
Joe can’t remember a time like when the Bucs hit back-to-back home runs in drafting running back Doug Martin and outside linebacker Lavonte David in consecutive picks, after starting the 2012 draft with a solid extra-base hit in Mark Barron.
Was this the best Bucs’ draft in the team’s history?
The pride of Northwestern and overseer of “The Captain’s Blog,” on Buccaneers.com, Scott Smith, isn’t buying it yet. While Smith admits last year’s draft was fantastic, he has it tied with two other Bucs drafts as best ever, 1996 and 1988.
1996: The Bucs took two defensive linemen in the first round in Tony Dungy’s first draft but it was the second and third rounds, which produced Mike Alstott and Donnie Abraham, that really made this class. Alstott led the team in receiving and scoring and was a good complement in the running game to Errict Rhett. Abraham quickly took over the starting right corner job and led the team with five interceptions. Those two first-round linemen, Regan Upshaw and Marcus Jones, didn’t have an enormous impact, but Upshaw did start all 16 games at right end and had four sacks. Fourth-rounder Jason Odom started six games at right tackle and one at left tackle. Sixth-round WR Nilo Silvan was the team’s primary kickoff return man.
1988: Future Ring of Honor inductee Paul Gruber went from the fourth overall pick to the starting job at left tackle without pause, beginning an ironman streak in which he wouldn’t miss an offensive snap for five years. Lars Tate led the team in rushing and scored a then-Buc rookie record eight touchdowns. DL Pig Goff started six games and pitched in with two sacks and three fumble recoveries. G Robert Bruhin also started six games on the offensive line. Fifth-round RB William Howard not only became the starter at fullback but got almost the exact same number of carries and yards as Tate. Putting this one over the top was ninth-round find Reuben Davis, who immediately became the starter at LE in the Bucs’ 3-4 front and had three sacks. Even 11th-round pick WR Frank Pillow found his way to 15 catches and 206 yards.
Obviously, time will tell if the 2012 studs thrive or regress. Martin already has logged a Pro Bowl game.
Joe is glad Smith mentioned Donnie Abraham, who now coaches at Clearwater High School. It seems as though Abraham is one of the forgotten Bucs, but damn, he played really good ball and was a fixture on those Father Dungy defenses.