4 Guys The Bucs Shouldn’t Draft

April 17th, 2019

BY IRA KAUFMAN

Let’s not get too cute here.

Batting fifth in the NFL draft order, the Bucs shouldn’t be pressured into swinging for the fences and risking a big whiff. There have been too many big-time draft busts in Tampa, too many painful memories for Buc fans to stomach.

“You should take the best player,” advises Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian. “You might be wrong in the assessment of the player, but as long as you take the best player, your odds of success are very much greater than they would be otherwise.”

First, a quick stroll down this franchise’s hall of shame.

Remember Charles McRae, a strapping tackle out of Tennessee selected with the seventh pick of the 1991 draft? Mr. McRae came and went without much of an impact, starting 38 games and never playing for a winner in Tampa.

McRae was drafted one year after the Bucs wasted the fourth overall choice on Keith McCants, a linebacker out of Alabama who was converted to defensive end and lasted only three seasons in Tampa.

Who can forget Gaines Adams, the Clemson defensive end who was supposed to spark a revived pass rush? The Bucs grabbed Adams at No. 4 overall in 2007, but he was traded to Chicago midway through the 2009 season and shockingly died the following year due to cardiac arrest at the age of 26.

Then we come to the strange case of Mark Barron, selected as a safety out of Alabama with the seventh overall pick in 2012. Barron was traded in 2014 to the Rams, who made him a useful, $9-million-per-year player by converting him to linebacker. Barron will play inside linebacker for the Steelers this fall.

The top draft bust in franchise history is a no-brainer. In 1986, despite warnings he would not sign with the Bucs, Bo Jackson was chosen No. 1 overall and, true to his word, he spurned Tampa Bay for a baseball career. When we saw him running past or through defenders in silver and black, we knew we were watching someone special.

With those gaffes in mind, here are some potential 2019 busts for the Bucs to think twice about.

Rashan Gary: This defensive lineman out of Michigan has the size and speed to intrigue scouts. What he doesn’t have is the kind of production that instills confidence. With only 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss last year, there’s a real danger that Gary takes too many plays off.

Clelin Ferrell: Part of Clemson’s formidable defensive line, Ferrell was surrounded by outstanding talent. His questionable agility and 260-pound frame may prove to be issues at the pro level.

Josh Jacobs: His limited touches in college represent a two-edged sword for this Alabama running back. After only 251 collegiate carries, Jacobs should be fresh, but he registered only one 100-yard game for the Tide and the memory of Trent Richardson looms large.

Montez Sweat

Montez Sweat: This hulking edge rusher from Mississippi State checks off a lot of boxes and that 4.4 speed is extraordinary, but Sweat is a raw talent who will need to be coached up as a pro. He won’t be an impact player unless he significantly improves his pass-rush technique.

What do we know about the Bucs if they remain at No. 5? We know who they’re not taking — a quarterback, an offensive lineman, a running back, a cornerback or a safety.

Or a kicker.

Face-slapped

Jason Licht needs to select a perennial Pro Bowl candidate, a player who will earn a second contract at One Buc Place. And yes, he needs to keep an open mind as the board opens up.

“We’ve got to learn from our past,” says Eagles GM Howie Roseman, one of Licht’s closest friends in the business. “I’ve been humbled by some of the mistakes that I’ve made in terms of valuing certain positions over who’s the best particular player. It slaps you right in the face when you go back and look at those drafts.

“You go, ‘Hey, we really like this player, different position, but we went into the draft saying we have to get X.’ That’s why we try to take care of as many needs as we can in free agency and go into the draft saying we don’t know what we’re going to need a year from now. These guys are long-term players for our team.”

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985, and the corporate leash finally was removed from his neck when he joined JoeBucsFan.com in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV. 

49 Responses to “4 Guys The Bucs Shouldn’t Draft”

  1. BlogTalkFootball.com Says:

    Well, Ira, you just shot my draft board to hell.

  2. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    But, but, where’s Devin whites name? L ee is sure he will be a waste of a pick and wants sweat instead. Hell, he wants Adrian Clayborn at 5 instead of Devin white bc he’s an edge rusher.

  3. mark2001 Says:

    No shots in the dark… certainly proven college players with the measurable’s to play the stronger/faster professional game. I think that would be a good place to start,.

    Don’t you remember how they said McCrea could lift the front of a tractor? Didn’t do him much good in the NFL, did it.

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    Can’t say I disagree. This pick HAS to be a home-run. If not, expect similar results.

  5. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Was Roseman talking to Joe?

    “I’ve been humbled by some of the mistakes that I’ve made in terms of valuing certain positions over who’s the best particular player. It slaps you right in the face when you go back and look at those drafts.”

    We have so many needs that any player who is the BPA at 5 will certainly fit…DE…DT…or YES ILB! I just want us to get a perennial Pro Bowler at whatever position we select.

  6. Kalind Says:

    That’s still not an excuse for Devin White.

    Take Oliver. Take Bush. Take Lawrence. Take Burns. Heck you can takenSimmons…but for the love of all that is holy. Don’t replace a guy we got in the fourth round with a guy we take in the first who probably won’t be much better if at all. How does that make sense?!?!

  7. JabooBuc Says:

    Devin White is a plug and play starter from day 1 and probably there for the next 10 years. Not sure how many players you can say that about in the top 10. Probably Williams, Bosa and maybe Bush. That is what you look for when you have a top 10 pick.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think we will pick a winner at 5 and even with a trade-down….we’ll get a great player….

    I am far more concerned about our picks in round 2 & 3…

    Licht has gotten cute with those picks in the past as did Dominick……I am hopeful that BA & Bowles will have a huge influence.

    We need 3 winners…..not one.

  9. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    My picks are Oliver or white or Q isn’t there. I doubt Bosa drops and josh Allen has bust written all over him. But just like the rest of us I know nothing. Hoping for the guard in round 2 but just make sure to lock the doors before Licht arrives for the second round.

  10. Omac Says:

    Jacobs is a low risk, 3 down back.

    How stupid to mention his lack of carries, yet criticize his yards per game. The guy split with 3 legit RBs. You think if he got 20 carries he wouldn’t eclipse 100 yards????

    Just dumb….

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    “I’ve been humbled by some of the mistakes that I’ve made in terms of valuing certain positions over who’s the best particular player”

    Yea – well tell that to Joe #2 who apparently thinks drafting a MLB at #5 would trigger Armageddon….

  12. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    your wrong on josh jacobs he will be like kamara…. what about BOOKER REESE?

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Agree with the list other than Sweat who I’m on the fence with. He has 2 straight years of SEC sack/pressure/run stopping production plus the athleticism so this is a pure scouting assessment and scouts disagree on him.

    Steven White basically thinks he’s a nearly perfect DE/OLB prospect after watching 4 games of tape on him for example. But many scouts are wrong. The chicken legs/build type does concern me a bit for his ability to bend around OTs in the NFL.

    Josh Jacobs skill set is awesome but I agree on the absolute risk there. I get it “he would have had more big games with more carries”. It makes sense.

    But I’ve played a lot of fantasy football, and a lot of RBs that were backups and looked awesome to where you think “if only they would get a chance as the feature back”… THen they get that chance and they are simply not as effective. Defenses key on them more and their YPC all of a sudden drops and they aren’t as effective.

    That likely won’t be the case with Jacobs but it’s kind of ignorant to just assume he will handle 20+ touches a game in the NFL for a full season and do well at it since he’s never proven that before.

  14. humblecrusher Says:

    Ira, I always gave you kinda/sorta the benefit of the doubt. Given your past. You too, worked at a failing newspaper, I imagine, yes??.

    Calling Josh Jacobs…a guy that ANYONE including the Bucs, a player that some team “shouldn’t draft” is beyond imbecillic. Like @Omac said, downright “dumb”. Collosally…dumb.

    So…now a newspaper reporter, thinks he can second-guess Nick Saban???…That’s hilarious. Because of Jacobs’ “touches”…Lord almighty. Between that and Isbitts doing Extreme Home Makeover hard-hitting pieces…no wonder the Tribune is caput.

    And to think Ira…you could have selected any players b4 writing this. Do you have any journalistic clue, HOW ALABAMA operates?!?

    Clearly….not. ]

  15. ThassWassUp Says:

    Ira…

    Ira…

    Ira…

    Do you have any real understanding, how Alabama functions??! Obviously not. Jacobs???…on “touches”….

    Like @Omac said…dear Lord, what the hell were you thinking….

    So a newspaper reporter, thinks he knows better, rhan Nick Saban?!! Sure. Did you watch the college playoffs!?!

    Good God..

  16. wausa Says:

    Sweat’s first year at Mississippi State he lead the SEC in sacks with 10.5. He had 48 tackles and 15.5 tfl while earning 1st team all SEC.
    His 2nd year he improved those marks with 11.5 sacks, 53 tackles and 14 tfl and again was 1st team all SEC.

    Then he went to the senior bowl. Here was NFL.com comment on him:

    Sweat annihilated everyone he matched up against today during the South team practice. He’s going to end up being picked in the top 10, and his performance on Tuesday demonstrates why he’s going to be selected so early.

    Then he dominated at the combine running an insane 4.41.

    Sorry, but I do not understand why he would not be considered a great selection for anyone picking in the top 10.

  17. Tom Edrington Says:

    Oh boy, Ira, the Joe(s) won’t be happy to see the Big Sweat on your list, they’re loving that galoot

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    yeah ira is wrong about sweat…..

    dont see ed oliver on the list tho!!!….lol….

    #REALISTKNOWSNOTHING!!!!!…GO BUCS!!!!

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Please stop with all the negativity……I still haven’t quite gotten over the Bo Jackson pick yet…..

  20. Locked In Says:

    I agree with Dirks Grand Pappy, I think Josh Allen will be a bust, or at best average. Q Williams, Ed Oliver, D White – I would be happy with any of those 3. I would also support a trade down that keeps us in the mix for D Bush, Burns, (maybe Sweat but he makes me nervous too), or top O line prospect depending on where we pick, then go D line in 2nd.

  21. Omac Says:

    I still can’t get over his Jacobs “reasoning”. Also, how in any way does he compare to Trent Richardson besides playing for the same school?

    -Similar carries? No
    -Similar build? No
    -Similar playing style? No
    -Getting picked in the top 5? No

    I’m pretty new to this site, but how does a guy like this get a platform to talk so reckless??? Does he even watch college football???

    The safest RB picks (in my EDUCATED opinion) are Jacobs and Montgomery. Both are 3 down backs. 1 has a low workload, while the other has been a workhorse.

  22. Locked In Says:

    Edge Rush = high bust potential, especially when the Bucs are picking them.

  23. Bird Says:

    Ira

    How dare you question sweat . He is an edge rusher . Let’s swing for the fences like joe wants. Gotta be an edge rusher dangit

  24. Bird Says:

    And can we bring in John football to be our backup QBs already?

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    I hope the irony of a poster on a blog critiquing Ira, a former newspaper writer, isn’t lost on anyone else!

  26. pick6 Says:

    get the guy who’s going to make his position a non-issue for 10 years – that’s your objective in the first round. outside of specialists, the position is irrelevant. the nice thing at ILB is that as long as they’re okay above the shoulders they tend to translate to the pros more reliably than pass rushers. is montez sweat a julius peppers or a vernon gholston? is ed oliver an aaron donald or an omobi okoye? we won’t know anytime soon. however, an ILB drawing constant comparisons to some of the greats is probably going to be a standout player, health permitting

  27. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Whoever “Dunce Cap” Licht should not draft… that will be his choice.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    The most important 3 sentences in this whole piece Ira …

    @Eagles GM Howie Roseman … “You go, ‘Hey, we really like this player, different position, but we went into the draft saying we have to get X.’ That’s why we try to take care of as many needs as we can in free agency and go into the draft saying we don’t know what we’re going to need a year from now. These guys are long-term players for our team.”

    THAT’s the strategy the Bucs should be pursuing. But NOOOO … instead we find ourselves in salary Cap he11 and unable to fill our starting holes with quality veterans in free agency. Thus we go into the draft NEEDING probably at least 3 rookies to fill starter holes. Dumb – dumb – dumb.

    BTW, great piece. Agree with you about NOT taking Josh Jacobs at #5, but only because we’re in a position where we have too many STARTING HOLES to fill (and RB isn’t one of those starting holes … YET). Would love for his partner-in-crime, Damien Harris, to be there in the 3rd round though (RB is at highest a 3rd round pick IMO).

  29. SickofLosing Says:

    I wouldn’t mind Sweat if we trade down, I think that would be good value as well as a need

  30. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Williams, Oliver or White. Good, safe pick.

    Go Bucs.

    Not a Sheep.

  31. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @DR

    At least we have so many needs that we aren’t pidgeo holed into one or two positions lol.

    IMO biggest needs in order:

    RG
    3-4 OLB/DE
    3-4 DT/DE
    ILB
    RT
    S
    CB

    -RG because we have literally no one there.

    -2 front 7 (OLB/DE/DT) players because we are rebuilding the unit, and we only have one young core guy locked up for a few years to build around (Vita Vea). JPP may not flourish in this scheme as well + the age. McCoy is gone. Nassib = don’t want to count on that the way we counted on the promise of Noah Spence’s rookie year with 5.5 sacks.

    -Throw ILB into front 7 argument as we have no young up and comer there now and need to rebuild the whole unit.

    -RT because Dotson is old and no one is proven there behind him.

    -S/CB last because we’ve made tons of youthful investments in the position already and need to see what we got in VHIII/Davis/Evans/Whitehead/Stewart/etc behind a good front 7 in a press scheme.

    We NEED a nickle/3rd CB though as bad as RG in terms of the biggest hole on our roster.

    I could see us picking a S in the 2nd who can play nickle / LB / etc. That’d be fine with me but mostly if we trade back and still get an OG in R2.

  32. ThassWassUp Says:

    Buc faithful…

    Unless the @Joe’s, put Ira up to this, for click. That’s their style, and Lord knows they’re desperate, and at least till the 25th..

    It likely is…folks…

  33. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    I like Sweat’s college production over Q Williams starting for 1 year

    Williams and Allen look like bust to me

    At 5 I hope they get Sweat or the LB White

  34. BringBucsBack Says:

    “You might be wrong in the assessment of the player, but as long as you take the best player, your odds of success are very much greater than they would be otherwise.”

    Huh?

    Let me see if I understand this. To paraphrase: You might be wrong but, as long as you are right, you’ll be right and you’ll be more successful than if you were wrong?!

    Did I get that right? Coachspeak much?

  35. BringBucsBack Says:

    “You might be wrong in the assessment of the player, but as long as you take the best player, your odds of success are very much greater than they would be otherwise.”

    Huh?

    Let me see if I understand this. To paraphrase: You might be wrong but, as long as you are right, you’ll be right and you’ll be more successful than if you were wrong?!

    Did I get that right? Coachspeak much?

  36. Z31 BUCS Says:

    humble.crusher=stout.gospel=bucc.off=etc etc etc etc

  37. Defense Rules Says:

    BringBackBucs … AWESOME paraphrase! Spot on too. Yup, coachspeak.

    Lord C … We see all the same ‘biggest NEEDS’ but in a different order. In the final analysis however, it really doesn’t matter much what order we list them in. The draft will fall a certain way (based on other teams picks?) and our best bet is to pick the BPA who meets a PRIORITY NEED (OK, IMO).

    Assuming GMC is gone, DT becomes a PRIORITY NEED (we can’t get by with just Vea & Allen to center our DLine). Most already know that MLB is a PRIORITY NEED (as in ‘We have no quality starting MLB right now’). RG is also a PRIORITY NEED (again, ‘We have no quality starting RG right now’). Personally would prefer a veteran RG however to provide some LEADERSHIP to our OLine.

    And yes, I also feel the same about CB (VHIII has too much ‘history’ to count on him holding down an outside corner spot for 16 games). There I also much prefer a veteran over a rookie (our Secondary is way too young & inexperienced as it is). Feel the same way about RB, but we may have no choice but to draft one (in about the 4th round I’d guess) simply because we can’t afford quality 3 FAs on our budget.

    On your last two (S & RT) I’ve just got my fingers crossed.

  38. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Can we all agree that we need 3 starters out of this draft class.

    If GMC is gone…..we likely need a DT, MLB & RG….

    It could be argued we need a RB & CB

    It is possible that we will get a starter in FA with some of the GMC cap savings…..

    I understand the urgency of selecting a DE in the long run, but we do have some suitable DEs on the roster…..

    A trade down may permit us to achieve 4 starters.

  39. Darin Says:

    Wausa.
    Just his opinion. So Ira says no to those guys so we know itll be one of those guys. We are all couch GMs this time of year. Having said that we need an edge rusher bad. And I wouldnt be surprised if they trade back and grab an Olineman. Not sure why we know Oline wont be the pick. Thats the unit he has consistently said needs major upgrades. Guys can still be cut after the draft. If Allen is there he better be the pick. Guy can thrive in this defense.

  40. Mike Johnson Says:

    Ira..You are spot on with these guys except the running back out of Bama. I would not take him at 5 though.

  41. BigMacAttack Says:

    There is a high bust rate with defensive ends. I like Williams and Oliver too. Both of the linebackers should thrive in the NFL and can be game changers. Licht can’t afford more wasted picks. White is a safe choice and fills a need. Get the defensive end in the second round. Corner back and offensive tackle are both strong needs. Thanks to Licht, this roster is a mess. They sorely lack speed and how he screwed up the cap so badly is I fathomable. Licht is a walking, talking, beer chugging train wreck. I have no doubt that he will totally screw this draft up and draft a punter in the third round as well.

  42. Jean Lafitte Says:

    we’re one DE away from none

  43. Jean Lafitte Says:

    we’ve got 5-6 players who can fill in @ MLB for run support

  44. Jeffbuc Says:

    I don’t see all you guys love for a guy who wasn’t the starting running back on his college team. They lost the championship game. If he is this great can’t miss prospect they should have road him to a national championship. He comes in and relieves other running backs. Yeah lots of guys come in and get good yards per carry. Against tired defenses. But every one thinks he will be a 20 carry 100 yards a game back. He didn’t even do it in college. Who cares how Alabama plays there runningbacks. If he was that good Sagan would have fed him all season long. Like he did with all the backs who have came through Alabama. Henry lead back Scarborough lead back Ingram lead back Richardson lead back. T.J. Heldon part time running back had huge yard per carries dominated in his small amount of touches. And now look what he is doing in the nfl. Wow he is a 3rd down back getting 5-7 touches a game. College coaches aren’t going to sit players behind guys they are better than. Go look at his game logs last year not that impressive. He averaged 5.3 yards a carry on relief duty. Had 11 for 43 in championship game. Both Harris runningback had better ypc in same game. He was the least productive of the three on about the same amount of carries

  45. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Montez Sweat > (is greater than) Marcus Davenport

    Oh yeah, and now Marcus Davenport is sacking QB’s in the NFCS for the Saints

    On top of all that the Saints traded a 2019 1st-round pick to the Packers to select him @ 14 last draft.

    Marcus, off the bench his rookie season, collected 4.5 sacks.
    He’s slotted to be Payton’s starting DE this season.

    …how many did Gholston have? (3) Is Gholston a starting caliber DE? smfh

    if JPP or Nassib get hurt we’re [email protected]#ked.

  46. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete (formerly known as 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans) Says:

    Devin White may be the only slam dunk in the entire draft.

    Take him.

  47. Hodad Says:

    I agree with Ira’s four, would stay away from them at five. I’m all in on Devin White. This defense needs more then a good player, it needs a leader. There’s a big whole in the middle of our D with Kwon gone, and Beckwith can’t be counted on. In comes a natural born kick ass leader at 6′ 1″ 240 lbs runs a 4.4 fills that big void which is the belly of the Buc D. I remember Ingram dragging defenders across the goal line on an up the cut run. I remember McCaffery, and Kamara running wild through our second level, thank god Freeman for Atl was injured, no telling what damage he would’ve done. Anyone remember the day Barkley had on us? White will make everyone on defense better. He’s what this defense really needs.

  48. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Sweat got suspended/and or kicked off the team at Michigan State? Do you realize how bad of a dude you have to be for that to happen? No thanks.

  49. Jeffbuc Says:

    Joe in Michigan. He was 17 when he went to Michigan state. He left there because he got caught with weed. Yeah he is a bad dude don’t draft him he smoked pot at 17-18 years old in his freshman year of college. What a horrible person. How dare we draft a guy that left Michigan state. Went to the community college ranks stayed clean then went on to 2 productive hassle free years at Mississippi state. Let’s not draft him though because joe in Michigan is appalled he smoked weed as a freshman in college. I can’t believe he smoked pot. I guess I can’t take a hit of my medicine or I will be tarnished for life and go straight to the rock within 2 years. It’s a gateway you know. You guys act like these guys are suppose to be saints. Because if we don’t draft players because of what they did at 18 then they have a better chance of actually being a New Orleans saint.