Draft Picks Better Shine

March 11th, 2016
Lot of swinging and missing at One Buc Palace this week.

Lot of swinging and missing at One Buc Palace this week.

Look, Joe believes in the draft. If you hit the right number of draft picks each year (Bill Polian said a good general manager has a .333 batting average in the draft), a front office can stock a team for years if not decades to come.

Take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. Joe can’t remember when they went two straight seasons with more losses than wins (well, Joe actually looked it up: once the past 30 years and not this century). Of course, Packers yoda Ted Thompson would break out in hives if he signed a free agent. That’s because he is so adept at the draft.

But for a team to see the fruits of its labor with a successful draft, it takes years for those picks to become winning seasons. And that is the T-intersection the Bucs face.

There is no question the Bucs have a foundation of solid if not stud players, including Vincent Jackson, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Doug Martin. Any team would want to have them. But, partially due to Lovie Smith’s ill-advised (stupid?) purge of quality players two years ago, Bucs’ depth and stable of decent if not good starters was wrecked. Lovie’s replacements were soon either benched or launched.

So now, those studs Joe mentioned above, they are either in the sunset of their careers, or are reaching the peak of their careers. Consider Jackson is 33. GMC is 28, and David (26) and Martin (27) are fifth-year players.

In other words, there’s a small window left until one or all of four begin to see the downside of their NFL days; Jackson likely is already there. To take advantage of those four being the backbone of a team making a Super Bowl push, well, time is running short.

That’s why Joe is annoyed that the Bucs swung and missed on so many potential targets in free agency this week, specifically defensive ends. It’s as if Karlos Pena (yes, that’s Karlos with a “K.”) came out of retirement to strike out for the Rays.

Robert Ayers, a third-tier free agent, is still out there but Joe apologizes for not getting excited about him — as Joe does at the thought of Rachel Watson walking through his front door wanting to play submissive Elizabeth to Joe’s Macho Man Savage.

The Bucs needed those targeted free agents, the defensive ends. Well, at least one of them. Unless the next two (three?) draft classes are as good as Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht’s first two classes, and they develop just as quickly, when those draft classes become good, the Bucs will have to replace Jackson, GMC, David and/or Martin.

But it’s reasonable expect a draft clunker or two from Licht soon (see Polian’s stat above). In some circles, this is known as regression to the mean.

If that happens, then the ugly circle of recent Bucs history will continue — until or unless they begin to improve on closing their March sales pitches, and those players pan out.

33 Responses to “Draft Picks Better Shine”

  1. DefenseRules Says:

    After our last 4 coaches the Bucs have gotten into a position I think where we can’t just build exclusively through the draft and still put a competitive product on the field. I’m also disappointed that our defense particularly hasn’t added at least 1 or 2 studs at this point in FA.

    By the way, like the visual @Joe … “wanting to play submissive Elizabeth to Joe’s Macho Man Savage.” But it is 5 AM and it is time to wake up. Macho Man Savage? Really?

  2. Tattoodonny Says:

    If they don’t fall in love with a DE (Noah Spence) then I’ll be okay with Rankins the DT from Louisville then hope another DE drops in the 2nd or 3rd rounds? I’m expecting a total defensive draft this year. Time to rebuild it. In Jason We Trust!!!🏈🏈🏈 Go Bucs

  3. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Bob is not disappointed and thinks whatever draft pick we get in first round will be a starter. Should not be too much of a learning curve for top rated players in draft. Looking for licht to start working on defense now. No more
    Michael Johnsons.

  4. darin Says:

    Lol. Hey I liked the macho man reference. Maybe cause I didn’t just wake up. N yes I’m ok with the lack of spending so far, only because I saw the amount the players were getting. 2 million per sack isn’t a good signing. It’s a deep deep draft for dline. Plus free agency isn’t over yet. All they need is to find 2 guys who can put some pressure and they have 7 rounds to get it done. Not bad not bad

  5. WelshBuc Says:

    I’m actually ok with them not going wild in free agency. Re-signing Martin on the first day of FA felt like a win anyway and he is one of our own. It always feels better having a team full of drafted players than FAs and the success rate is proven. Glad we replaced Mankins with Sweezy, but our offense is now packed full of our own draft picks. We should follow that approach on the defensive side too.

    I would have loved a Vernon at DE or Benjamin at WR/KR but there’s no point in signing third/fourth tier players for the sake of it. There will be a time (hopefully) when we need to reward Kwon, Jameis, Marpet, D Smith etc with monster contracts. We’re in good stead to do that currently.

    If only we could figure out a way to trade up for Ramsey in the draft, if not then this could be a trade down year.

    I’ll enjoy the draft a lot more this year now we’ve already got our quarterback.

  6. MadMax Says:

    Im with you Joe. Disappointing. Hardy is still there, but we know that probably wont happen.

    Clemson, down the road from me, had their pro day. And I’ll have to admit, Lawson was looking good, so was CB Alexander. The surprise was WR Charone Peake, 4.36 and 4.38 40 yard. Im starting to warm up to Alexander as our 2nd pick if we want to go CB.


  7. finishers Says:

    I wasn’t crazy about most of the top free agents this year anyway especially for the money they got.

  8. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    Man Joe, I hope Jason Licht can keep up the good drafting.
    It’s not like he’s your boy Mark “the Rock Star” who never made a bad draft choice, signed a player to a bad deal, or signed free agent busts.
    ( I know Joe, relax, you will hit the masses with Revis)
    Seems the market was crazy nuts. I am torn, would I like the Bucs to sign big names sure, but I would like them to be smart.

  9. Rrsrq Says:

    It was the swing and a miss of players brought in, Johnson, Schwartz, Ayers, Whitehead and not even a sniff at WR. We’re they just bringing in players to say hey we are trying, but in the past, if the Bucs wanted a player, they didn’t let them leave OBP, especially with the second most $$ under the cap. I guess we should listen to Licht, he’s thinking three years out, who are the possible FA’s the next two years.

  10. Kevin Says:

    I think ocer the yeara spending money has not gotten the team anywhere. We need good drafting over a long period of time. Fas are typically best used when a team is close and needs that small push to get over the hump look at new england, seattle and denver the last few years. Im not worried about big spending. Im worried about this team retaining the good players it drafts over the next decade. That has been the buggest problem

  11. Architek Says:

    Joe –
    You guys are intelligent and sound business minded men. You know very well this was going to be the Bucs approach and they weren’t going to overspend on FAs.

    We’ve discussed it before and you’ve even covered it in your weekly segments with Steve. They will look for value and the right fits and the rest they will let other teams overpay.

    Again this is why Cards, Pats, GB are perennial winners.

    Sorry, but Joe had no reason to believe the Bucs would lose and/or pass on every big-money free agents. The Cards and Pats are not perennial winners because they bail on free agency and don’t spend money. Green Bay is a unique animal on the landscape, and their big free agent spend of the last bunch of years just so happened to be a defensive end, Julius Peppers. –Joe

  12. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    Architek, very well said. The Bucs have cap room, does not mean they have to spend it foolishly. The Giants are trying to get one last run from Eli, just like Denver did with his brother. This team might be one or 2 players away next year, then go get them to get you over the top.

  13. BucsQcCity Says:

    If Martin was not resigned all that rebuilding through the draft would not mean anything. I’m ok with the Bucs giving insane contracts to unproven 1 year wonders.

    We have so many holes that anyaone who thinks we are SB ready next year is delusional.

    Jameis and the rest of the offense needs to carry the team to the playoff this year while we wait for draft picks to pan out.

  14. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    Media types, ( Joe(s) included) were saying Jameis would be a drawing point to come to Tampa. Seems J.R. felt that way, but doesn’t seem to be the case, at least so far.

  15. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    What Architek said.

  16. martinii Says:

    I realize that many believe and lament the terrible FA strategy the Buc;s have used over the last 2 days. All the big name pass rushers are gone. They ran through and around Tampa to get to the teams with big contracts or more suitable conditions. To that end I say “So What.” Williams (age), Johnson (Super Bowl), Vernon (big money) would have been Michael Johnson Clones In Tampa. Williams had 5 sacks, Johnson 1 sack, and Vernon 7 sacks in 2015. Jack Johnson beat them all and he is only 25. Who can honestly predict that he will not have a break-out season under Mike smith in 2016. Sign best available pass rusher in draft and move on. All this doom and gloom is boring.

  17. CrustyCrab Says:

    Why keep blaming Lovie for the purge of the vets and give Licht a pass. But one thing that is becoming clear Licht probably needed Lovie to close the deal on some of the FA.

  18. darin Says:

    I’m guessing the bucs are thinking they’re a couple years away joe. They probably think they’ll draft well again and when the year comes they think they’re close they’ll sign some big money free agents. Kinda like the Giants this year but I don’t think they’re as close as they think. There are 31 other teams out there going for the same prize so it’s a chess match. I just wana be in playoff contention yearly. I think we’re on track now that we finally have our franchise qb

  19. bucs4life86 Says:

    It wouldn’t of hurt to sign one more FA or two. JW could used another receiver. The last one we signed in FA turned out to be pretty good. (V-JAX) why we let Robert Ayers leave the building without a contract is beyond me. Looks like the opposing QB will have ALL DAY to find a target AGAIN.


    I don’t think we’re at that point yet to only sign one FA and have a winning season off the draft alone. I think those last two successful drafts has Lichts head feeling a little big.

    I sure hope he can duplicate what he did again. Or like Joe said, We’re gonna be in deep do do.

  20. Tampa Tony Says:

    You can only rebuild thru the draft if you are good at drafting. Dominik’s failures combined with the Lovie n Licht bad free agent signings have killed this team.

    Licht needs to show he can draft well consistently before we go all in on saying he is good at the draft

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It is still too early to give up on FA…When you have teams with 70-80 million to spend…you get into a bidding war which usually doesn’t end well.

    It is unarguable that Dominick drafts left the Bucs with very few star player.

    I am on record saying that we should trade up using all our later round picks….we need three starters….not a bunch of development players.

  22. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    LOL at the guys saying it is still early in FA. There will be no quality defensive ends signed at the last minute. And to all the guys that were concerned about the financial health of the Glazer boys and happy they didn’t spend some of the $60M in cap room that was available, dont come on here and bitch all of next season about the Bucs giving up 40 points a game. However, you should be pleased that the Glazers will be able to stay at 5 star resorts on thier European vacations.

  23. D-Rome Says:

    If ASJ doesn’t have a healthy and productive year he’ll be a bust in my book.

  24. Strider ....Sec 147 Says:

    Lmao i think bucs are doing great free agents shoot let’s see who really works out we have Jameis !!!! We got a strong o line and best running back duo sit back guys and enjoy the ride !! We got a franchise QB 😍

  25. tmaxcon Says:

    to the stay out of free agency crowd… yes you build through the draft. but only being able to add 2 to 3 starters on average each year via the draft you MUST be able to not only participate in free agency but do it well to be a consistent winner. Just because past regimes have failed mainly the 32 million plus dead money disaster aka lovie’s shopping spree does not mean you give up or quit on free agency… playing scared in the off season is just as bad as playing scared on game days.

    I would have liked to see a stud de signed but by no means am I disappointed.

  26. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Yep, but unfortunately Strider after we score we have to kick the ball to the other team. That is when the problems start.

  27. Guzzie Says:

    Hey joe, I’m curious how many 4-12 seasons will licht have to “build through the draft” before he follows lovie to Illinois, don’t remember any 2-14 or 4-12 seasons from NE??

  28. LargoBuc Says:

    I mean Oliver Vernon is good, but 85 million good? No way. Other than maybe Mario Williams, I wouldnt be thrilled to see the Bucs over pay for Vernon, JPP or Charles Johnson. And for all that money, playing New York, Vernon better do better than 6 sacks a year. He will get booed real quick.
    Now considering this teams main priority is to build around Jameis, bringing back our own all pro rb was easily the best move we could make. And then we sign a road blocking guard to keep the running game strong. Now if we could bring in a slot receiver with some speed, that would be a hell of a free agency, imo.

  29. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    @Joe or any poster who knows.

    The NFL cap has become so arcane and complicated that teams have “capologists”.

    So a couple of questions. First is how much of any year’s cap can be carried over till the next year. IE is money that we don’t spend this year just totally wasted or can it be moved around with careful accounting?

    This is huge. #3 will wipe out the bank when his rookie deal is up. We’re going to have to pay Kwon, Marpet, Smith and plenty of other young guys who currently providing far greater value than the expense of their contracts. This will change in a few years. Are we prepared?

  30. feelthepewterpower Says:

    If the Buccs are in a window Joe, what might the window of the Panthers? Second oldest team in the league that brought back two of its older starters…

  31. Lord Says:

    These articles always have such a cryptic panic tone to them and pander to the negative mind frame of a lot of fans. Might as well add “oh no!” in front of a lot of these titles

  32. mike10 Says:

    Great points here Joe, and I agree. Even the guys they brought in (previously and currently) have been overpaid.

    Joe, any word if NFL circles (agents, players, coaches) have a bad opinion of coming to play for Tampa? We used to be a hot bed for FA players to come to. What’s changed that? Glaziers?

  33. Buccfan37 Says:

    Supposedly firing Lovie was bad karma. The Bucs just swat that idea away and move forward away from the cliffs edge.