Building Through The Draft Already Working

August 20th, 2010

In case one missed it last Saturday, a defensive back few have seen play previously, E.J. Biggers, started against the Dolphins in the Bucs preseason opener and played damned well.

That would be E.J. Biggers, seventh round draft pick. He was drafted in April 2009 by the Bucs and missed the regular season with a bum shoulder.

Seems as if the Bucs may have found another gem, so writes Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.

E.J. Biggers, whose first pro season was derailed by a shoulder injury suffered in the last exhibition game, may have the inside track at nickel corner, fighting off challenges by rookie Myron Lewis and Elbert Mack.

“Spirited would be a good word for the competition at nickel,” said veteran cornerback Ronde Barber. “E.J. had a great offseason and an awesome camp. He went to every meeting and put the work in last year, even though he was injured. We know what we have in E-Mack … he’s a heck of a competitor. We haven’t seen much of the rook (Lewis), but the way he looks, he has to factor in.”

Biggers, and Stroughter, and a few other players are why Bucs general manager Mark Dominik is leading the Bucs and no longer are Bruce Allen or Jon Gruden. Consistently, annually, that duo whiffed on latter round picks.

Unlike his predecessor, Dominik seems to be hitting on his late round picks. It appears, thanks to Biggers, Stroughter and others, that Dominik’s mantra of “building through the draft” is beginning to blossom.


24 Responses to “Building Through The Draft Already Working”

  1. sensiblefan Says:


  2. Gatorbuc15 Says:

    I agree Joe. Dominik appears to be very good with late round picks. Biggers and Stroughter are just a few good examples. They are both blossoming very well!

    Biggers, Lewis, and Mack! Talk about being stacked!

  3. Tommy Boy Says:

    Not to mention the early and mid round draft picks Gruden and Allen consistently and annually whiffed on.

  4. CalicoJack Says:

    Counting chickens…

  5. BamBamBuc Says:


    Sorry, but Stroughter and Biggers have already hatched, they just haven’t fully grown yet. But any 7th rounder that can contribute the way Stroughter did last year is a HUGE value. And even if Biggers only ever holds the nickel spot, that’s still pretty good for a 7th rounder. Any contribution you can get from 7th rounders is a major advantage. Any contribution you can get from undrafted rookie free agents is a huge advantage. We’ve gotten both. Time will tell if there are any more “gems”

  6. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Now Biggers is already in the Buc Ring of Honor also, after 1 preseason game ??

  7. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I can understand your reluctance to believe in these guys. Afteryears of horrible draft results, it’s only natural.

    Take Freeman, for example. How long has it been since the Bucs have drafted a quality franchise QB who actually blossomed here? I think that’s why people are reluctant to believe in Freeman (not all, but some).

    However, there comes a time when you just have to either walk away, or start believing again. Last year was a great draft. Out of only 6 picks, the Bucs landed:

    1) Freeman
    3) Miller
    4) Moore
    5) Xavier Fulton
    7) Biggers
    7) Stroughter

    Of those, Freeman seems to be working out. Miller for sure is. Stroughter is too. So that’s 3 right there that are most likely successful picks…that’s a 50% return.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Fulton has shown promise in camp this year, Moore had a hard time last year (obviously) but he’s having a solid camp this year and might just surprise everyone. And as mentioned, Biggers is on the verge of working out.

    It could well end up that the Bucs had a 100% success on the 2009 draft. When is the last time a team did that???

    THEN, IN 1020:
    Of 9 picks, we got:
    1) McCoy
    2a) Price
    2b) Benn
    3) Lewis
    4) Williams
    6) Bowden
    7a) Grimm
    7b) Watson
    7c) Lorig

    Obviously, it is way, way too soon to declare this batch a success. However, there are some good signs. Williams has shown huge promise. Grimm has shown he excels on special teams play…excels in a game changing way.

    Bowden is the only punter in camp, but his punts in the last game were looking great…most were placed inside the 10, and those that could not be kicked that far were kicked high to give the team time to get down there and tackle for little of no gain.

    Price, who was not expected to do so well so quickly, has pretty much earned his starting spot…or close to it.

    Lorig has shown promise so far, and so has Lewis (though he’s developing a little slower).

    I’m not sold on Benn yet, but I’m hoping for the best. I suspect he won’t end up being a flashy player, but rather a dependable one, once he gets in his groove.

    And McCoy is McCoy. He hasn’t gotten in a groove yet, but it’s safe to say he most likely will.

    So in the 2010 draft, Raheem and Dom have likely hit on at least 5 good picks, which is again over 50%. And that number could get much better.

    So, CalicoJack, although I understand your reluctance, we have witnessed the two most promising drafts in…really, in decades. Even the Sam Wysch (spelling is off there) draft with brooks and Sapp did not have that high a success. It was incredible important yes, but how many guys came out of it?

    It’s not something we fans of Tampa are use to. And the fact that Morris is so inexperienced makes it even harder to believe. But it’s clear, our GM and HC excel in talent evaluation at the very least.

    As to the rest? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s okay to actually enjoy the ride and form bonds with the players…they’ll be here for years to come.

    The irony is this…as successful as they are looking in the draft…how will they ever have enough spots to draft more guys in a couple years? Where will they fit all these successful picks? They might actually need to trade picks away at some point.

    Threres a scary thought.

  8. Pete Dutcher Says:

    “THEN, IN 1020” = “THEN, IN 2010”

  9. Jdouble Says:

    Biggers looked really good in Miami, and he looked pretty good last preseason too. The thing that worries me is he plays very physical and he is very scrawny. I worry he will be injury prone.

  10. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I can’t recall right now…but when Ronde came out of college, was he small?

  11. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Ronde is small to this day, lol

  12. rob in tampa Says:

    I agree with the assessment- so far so good for Dominik as a drafter. It’s still way too early to judge, but it looks promising. I can’t fault him if a draft pick loses time to injury, though. Would you fault the Colts for drafting Sanders? The Eagles for Westbrook? If you can get a few good years out of a draft pick- especially late rounders– it can mean the difference between being the constantly up and down Bucs and being consistently good for a long time.

    And to Pete’s point about trading picks in a few years– absolutely! That’s how you add those final pieces to put you over the top. Build a strong core, then you have the flexibility to lose a pick or 2. Right now they can’t afford to trade a single pick because depth is so poor in more than a few spots. Getting better for sure, but it will take at least 2 more strong drafts to build that core.

  13. BigMacAttack Says:

    Radio, LOL twice.
    Good stuff

  14. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    For the record: Bruce and Jon hit on 6th rounder Geno hayes 🙂

  15. REALbucsfan4ever Says:

    Elbert Mack sucks! I dont see whats so special about him. From what I remember he got burnt every game! Hes not big, strong, or fast. Im happy with E.J and myron at the nickel spot.

  16. Capt.Tim Says:

    Yeah, Mushy, I remembered one of their picks made. Not bad for six years. .

  17. topdoggie Says:

    You have to have a young (crappy) rebuilding team to see quick results with late draft picks. With a good veteran team. Some future good ones don’t get playing time and/or make the team.

  18. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Good point, Topdoggie…this team sucks so badly that some of these bums are bound to get on the field , when they normally wouldn’t , and prove themselves serviceable.

  19. TrueBlue Says:

    Which ones are the bums that are getting on the field?
    If it’s too early to call them a success, isn’t it also a bit early to call them bums?

  20. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    I think what I mean to say is ; just because draft picks contribute on a horrible 3-13 team , doesn’t necessarily mean they were good picks. The team has to actually become good because of the picks , or who gives a sh*t?

  21. TrueBlue Says:

    Last year the team did suck. But these “bums” were rookies, and as we all know rookies rarely perform all that well. That being said was Stroughter a bum? Would you cut him? How bout Freeman? Oh yeah, “bust in waiting”. Maybe you were referring to Miller. Wasn’t he our best defensive tackle last year, as a rookie? Biggers? Injured equals “bum” I guess. Can you call Moore a bum being he was told to pork up and play in a system poorly designed for his skill set? So who are the bums?

    Many of these young men are the future of this team. A little respect and a measure of patience please.

  22. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    If all these guys you mention are still starting/playing in two years , and the team is 5-11 , then yes that would mean they are bums – it wouldn’t mean the drafts were sucess simply because the picks were playing….that’s my only point.

  23. tampa2 Says:

    People forget that Dominick came from the Scouting Department. While Gruden didn’t do his magic at drafting, lets take a look at the wins & losses for the team as a whole. Gruden was on such a tight budget he had to bring in has-been veterans on the cheap! And he still won with them. But Gruden/Allen were fired for going 9-7. Morris/Dominick are praised at 3-13. Good or bad drafts, the bottom line is wins & losses. So grade your annointed ones on that! 3-13! LMAO No mre Gruden & Allen to blame this year. So lets see what a great job these 2 genius’s do at winning games with these picks. Wins & losses are the bottom line!

  24. TrueBlue Says:

    This year will not be a good measure based on wins and losses. Experience wins out in close games and they don’t have it – yet. It is fair to expect competitive football and quality play. These rookies need at least a year under their belt and maybe two to mature and experience football at the pro level. There’s no getting around that. Quality play this year, significantly more wins next year, playoffs for years to come after that. Especially if they add another quality draft next year.

    The future is bright. Enjoy the moment. Complaining and unfounded attacks on young players will only ruin your day.