Great Bucs Draft Whiffs

April 8th, 2020

Saints DE Cameron Jordan is a key figure in Bucs draft history

It’s fun — and challenging — to peg a whiff in the draft by a front office.

For example, did the Bucs screw up in 2015 when they drafted Jameis Winston? Many factors were at play and look at the career of Marcus Mariota.

Of course, a major element in any satisfying draft debate is who could have been selected versus the guy actually picked.

For example, Jason Licht and the Bucs crapped the bed in Round 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft when they chose M.J. Stewart at No. 53 overall. He’s a bust of a second-round pick cornerback/safety, but he’s an especially big whiff because the guys picked immediately after him have been excellent defensive backs. Bengals safety Jessie Bate has 200 tackles and hasn’t missed a game. After Bates? With the next pick the Panthers picked cornerback Donte Jackson, who has seven interceptions and had a Pro Bowl caliber rookie season.

If the Bucs drafted Jackson or Bates, they wouldn’t have drafted three defensive backs a year later.

One epic whiff by the Bucs front office came in 2011. Tampa Bay picked defensive end Adrian Clayborn at No. 20 overall. The next DE off the board was future Hall of Fame Saints DE Cameron Jordan, who just earned the prestigious All-Decade Player honor.

Jordan reminisced on SiriusXM NFL Radio last night about how he was pegged as more of a two-down guy out of college and that left a chip on his shoulder: They said, ‘I wouldn’t wow you with sack numbers.’

Joe dropped a softer example earlier this week noting new Bucs free agent right tackle Joe Haeg was taken by the Colts seven picks after the Bucs took Caleb Benenoch in the 2016 draft. Ironic!

Speaking of 2016, big-money safety Vonn Bell and break-the-bank cornerback James Bradberry were the players taken two and three picks, respectively, after the Bucs notoriously selected Roberto Aguayo.

Draft hindsight is a fun game and one hated by general managers because the draft has a solid bust rate for everyone. But the Bucs sure have made the game exciting in recent years — kind of like the guy who threw lots of touchdowns and interceptions in the same game.

61 Responses to “Great Bucs Draft Whiffs”

  1. Gino Says:

    Charles McRae

    Done here!

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    ASJ comes to mind also….

    I don’t think the Bucs wiffed on Winston…..of the two, he was the better choice…..I guess the turnovers could be foreseen but that’s truly Monday morning quatrerbacking…..(no pun)

    I agree with MJ Stewart……but wasn’t he an additional pick….and we also got Davis so it wasn’t so bad.

    VH3 was a true disappointment…..

  3. Pat Says:

    For perspective: In 1995 the Eagles took Mike Mamula thus leaving Warren Sapp for the Bucs. It works in all different ways for every team.

  4. John Says:

    Is there any interest in Winston yet? That was worse than a front office wiff… Winston was simply a God-aweful pick…

  5. Pat Says:

    1995-Eagles select Mike Mamula this leaving Warren Sapp for the Bucs.

  6. ewww Says:

    Much easier to name the draft hits in the last 10 years. There have been very few good picks made

  7. Steven007 Says:

    Pat, you can thank Mary Jane for that fortuitous pass over by the eagles.

  8. Umm Says:

    John Says:
    April 8th, 2020 at 4:44 pm
    Is there any interest in Winston yet? That was worse than a front office wiff… Winston was simply a God-aweful pick…

    So many idiots in these comments…..

  9. Adrnagy Says:

    Where are all the “Jason licht is elite “ bandwagoneers ..

  10. Gino Says:

    My local pizzaria is betting the Bucs Don’t make the playoffs, and if they do, I am promising two free slices and a small beverage to any and all of my friends here.

  11. The Coroner Says:

    The Bucs have whiffed on enough picks for a pitcher to throw a no hitter with only 81 pitches. Yes – nine strikes total per inning.

  12. Rod Munch Says:

    Biggest Bucs draft whiffs have to start with Emmitt Smith. Everyone, and I mean everyone, had him coming to the Bucs — then on the eve of the draft the Bucs traded for former Bandit, Gary Anderson, and Emmitt Smith was off the Bucs draft board.

    The other biggest is obviously Aaron Rodgers. Year after year after year of Gruden on MNF talking about how the powers to be in Tampa never got him that young QB… LOL! The guy ran the entire team top to bottom and he gave Bruce Allen the marching orders on who to draft. This isn’t a bigger whiff than Smith since there was a decent amount of debate on who to take.

    Others are obviously Bo Jackson – that Keith McCants pick on many levels, not only did they not take Smith, they also didn’t take Junior Seau, who was one pick behind him.

    More recently you have taking Mark Barron over Luke Kuechly, although, in fairness the Bucs didn’t need a MLB at the time. However Barron wasn’t anything special, and if you’re going to take a S that high, they should be special at something. Also taking VH3, another guy who wasn’t special in any way — that was another huge miss. Finally if OJ doesn’t bounce back with a huge year, that pick will look terrible when everyone had us taking Cook.



    Or better yet, 27 straight pop flies to the catcher. 😂

  14. Nick2 Says:

    The Patriots never drafted really high, in fact Tom Brady was a 5th round pick. Yet they won Super Bowls because they used the draft wisely, filled holes when needed and players had to fir Their System. When we can do that, look out.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    For example, did the Bucs screw up in 2015 when they drafted Jameis Winston?

    Jameis was a bust but if the Bucs had to do that draft over again then picking Jameis Winston was *still* the correct decision. For all of the draft day blunders Jason Licht has made, picking Jameis Winston will always be the correct decision.

    I mean honestly, after that 2014 season how would any of you have felt if the Bucs passed on the “most pro-ready QB in the draft” to take (for example) Vic Beasley or some other position of need? We all would have lost our minds and rightly so.

    A part of me will always wonder what would have happened with Jameis’ development if Dirk Koetter stayed as an offensive coordinator. The Bucs organization clearly had a plan in Jameis’ rookie year but that went out the window when they hired a coach who was in WAAAAAAAY over his head.

  16. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Issue with Winston is he could have been great.

    But he has no one to blame but himself for his unholy fall from grace.

  17. NDog is an idiot Says:

    Research the draft day miscues in drafting Booker Reese!! We drafted Sean Farrell by accident… we sent in the wrong card!! Was suppose to be Booker Reese. Booker dropped so we traded future high picks to pick him up… research the blunder!! It’ll blow your mind!

  18. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I like how someone stole my name in the 1st post…I guess at least it wasn’t something rude or something I disagree with.

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    There’s been so many to pick from…The one that comes to my mind is the year we took Mike Glennon in the 3rd Round. I had my sights on Terron Armstead (more because of his jaw dropping 4.71 forty time at 306 pounds). Oh, and he wouldn’t of went to the Saints then. That said, there are no draft do-overs, the Bucs get who we get and hope they’re good.

  20. SOEbuc Says:

    MJ Stewart cannot be blamed any more than rest of this team, especially the younger secondary when he was brought into one of the worst defenses ever with Smitty. He’s a downhill hitter like Whitehead and never played gigantic zone inside CB. Teach him up to be good SS depth Todd.

  21. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Agreed on MJ Stewart.

  22. JimmyJack Says:

    Most of our wiffs was with our old fired GMs. Licht is a different breed. Traded fro our Defensive captain. Signed a sack King and signed the greatest player to ever breathe a breath!!!

    Licht is a winning g season away from reaching total elite status!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!

  23. Gettinthebucs Says:

    Licht just needs to not outsmart himself. It always seems like he goes for the “told ya so” picks. The MJ Stewart/Donte Jackson pick is a perfect example. I think Jackson ran a 4.3 something 40. The guy started in the SEC and went up against the best competition in college football. I remember when the pick was made I couldn’t believe it.

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    Gino nails it: no worse bust in the first than Charles McRae.

  25. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Add licht to the list of bucs blunders as well

  26. FortMyersDave Says:

    Endless list of blunders by the front office gentlemen; ltes see, Bo Jackson, Broderick Thomas ( 1988: a week 16 win over 4-12 Detroit cost the 5-11 Bucs a chance at Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders), Keith McCant Bama bust, OT bust Charles McRae, Eric Curry Bama Bust, Reidel Anthony Gator bust, Kenyatta Walker Gator bust, Gaines Adams (Bucs win over Browns cost them chance at Megatron and OT Joe Thomas), Clayborn, Mark Barron, VHs and that is only the first round busts, Sure I can guess that a few clubs like the Jets and Browns probably have an even bigger lists of first round busts but this is a pretty “distinguished” list when you look at who the Bucs missed. Of course the Creamsicle busts could be attributed to the miserly nature of Mr Hugh C who was so cheap he would make the players pay for local calls from the hotel before games and allegedly made them pay for soft drinks during training camp. Lets hope 2020 brings the Bucs some home runs in this virtual draft and that we do not have to reflect in a few years how they struck out again!

  27. rrsrq Says:

    Didn’t Bucs also pick Aguayo over Yannick also

  28. ©MadMax Says:

    Kinda of funny. But Glazers and Licht have their finger on the pulse now.

  29. ATrain Says:

    Let’s make a change


    Like what have the Bucs done right

    Picked Evans Godwin

    Dropped GMC got Suh

    Try these articles

  30. Adrnagy Says:

    Jason licht performance So far is same as jameis Winston.

  31. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Yannick got taken in the 3rd Round, 69th pick. So yes, 68 guys got drafted before him in 2016.

  32. Seminole Bill Says:

    A few years ago, Bo Jackson, who would not play for the Bucs after being the Bucs number 1 pick. He refused to play for them because a visit to team facilities they said was NCAA-approved was actually not, causing him to miss the remainder of his final college baseball season. Jackson believes that the failure to obtain NCAA approval was deliberate and was intended by the Buccaneers to get him to play football instead of baseball (source: wikipedia).

  33. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    Broderick Thomas, Keith McCants, Charles McRae and Vinny Testaverde we’re actually all teammates! Bad Brod and Derrick Thomas we’re cousins. I loved all those old Bucs drafts. Keith Mcants was the biggest bust of all!

  34. BigHog Says:

    Nothing at all was wrong about the Nr. 5,000 pick ….for four years he knew more than the OC’s and QB coaches knew, he became Mr. 5,000 in his 5th year and yes he drug this team to 7 victories but we had 9 losses and I say 3 losses on Mr. 5,000 and 6 on the rest of the team !!!!

  35. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I was at the Joe Bucs Fan Draft Party, standing next to, and talking to Steve White.
    The air literally left the room when we went for Mark Barron, and passed on Luke Kuechly.

  36. Ship Thief Says:

    Speaking of whiffs…
    You guys see the new uniforms for Delta’s Hub?

  37. Ship Thief Says:


  38. Waterboy Says:

    Roughly 50% of the first round picks will be busts or won’t sign 2nd contracts with the team that drafted them and the numbers go down from there. It’s not an exact science.

  39. PUGS&BUCS Says:

    Picking Michael Clayton when Stephen Jackson was still on the board.

    Wasting a top 7 pick on Mark Barron.


  40. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The best pick by Licht IMO was Chris Godwin with Kwon coming in a close second…..I base that on the round and their performance.

    Who will the next steal be?……Alex Cappa?……Scotty Miller? or pray tell, Matt Gay?
    Time will tell……

  41. 541BucsFan Says:

    I remember the OJ over D Cook pick, too. Pre-draft Dalvin Cook had serious character concerns, and the Bucs had enough FSU character concerns at the time. In 2017 Winston was under investigation for groping an Uber driver, so the Bucs took combine superhero, natty championship star, and squeaky clean OJ Howard. For the record, everyone applauded the pick as the steal of the draft.

  42. Cometowin2 Says:

    I would of picked up Cameron Jordan who was def ranked higher when we picked Up Adrian Clayborn. I was screaming at the TV for Jordan. The following year was rooting for the Bucs to pick Luke Kuechly. That one definitely hurt, although we did get Lavonte David in the 2nd round who has turned out to be one of the best Bucs linebackers ever. Always wonder what the three of them plus Gerald McCoy would of been able to do. Oh well.

    To be fair, I also was also in favor of the picks of Da’Quan Bowers and Noah Spence. They seemed like great picks at the time. Can’t hit on all of them.

    Go Bucs!!!

  43. Buc1987 Says:

    Pick : Roberto Aguayo

    Could have picked : Anybody but.

  44. oxycondoms Says:

    was always curious what chip kelly was willing to give up for mariotta. positions that we are weak on now and looking at the choosing of hargraves over tunsil and ronald jones over chubb

  45. Ivan The Insider Says:

    BREAKING: Tampa Bay Buccaneers add former QB Jameis Winston to their practice squad. Giving him a chance to earn a spot as the back-up to the back-up QB one day.

  46. Cutlass Says:

    Adrian freaking Clayborn! I was so pissed we didnt take Jordan! And a former tight end so you knew he was athletic,smh

  47. Formerly Tampa 2 Says:

    No one knows who will an all pro or who will be a bust coming out of college. There have been many picks that you just knew the guy was going to be the best in the league at his position. The best example today is the 199th pick in the draft that has been crowned the GOAT. I’d say every team whiffed that pick.

  48. Adrnagy Says:

    Rumor …

    What are the chances Rob Gronkowski plays for Bucs ?

  49. BrianBucs Says:

    No GM hits on every pick.
    However, the Bucs have had some major blunders in their history.
    Since you touched on Winston, he is probably the 2nd worst all time Bucs pick behind Bo Jackson

  50. kgh4life Says:

    The draft is a “crap shoot” as the saying goes.

  51. Tbbucs3 Says:

    When was the last time the NFL leader in passing yards and a guy who has literally set multiple NFL records with yards and touchdowns labeled a bust?

    Winston was by no means a bust, at least among people who actually know football and aren’t blind by their hatred.

    And Brianbucs that is an incredibly dumb comment. Get a clue.

    So y’all are telling me Josh Freeman was better than Jameis?

  52. Swampbuc Says:

    Brady went in the 5th round Joe. We could cherry pick the draft all century long.

    I am really disappointed in Noah Spence. That was a promising pick, looked good, went bad. Can’t nblame Licht when the rookie gets 6 sacks and everyone — EVERYONE — his mates his coaches, everyone — were predicting him to go off.

    Then he didn’t.

    I’m afraid Howard is another Spence.

  53. Swampbuc Says:

    ^th round for Brady — stupid voice recognition software

  54. Swampbuc Says:


  55. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Adrnagy Says:
    April 8th, 2020 at 10:12 pm
    Rumor …

    What are the chances Rob Gronkowski plays for Bucs ?

    There’s a better chance JW leads a team to a super bowl win than this happening.

    By the way, has he even been signed yet?

  56. NOLES Says:

    Although it wasn’t Licht add Gaines Adams instead of Adrian Peterson who went #7 to the Vikes. Can’t believe Gruden picked Cadillac but passed on the Generational RB out of OU… He would have won us a lot of games

  57. Bucsfanman Says:

    How about the WR we selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft, the infamous Dexter “Turtle” Jackson?!

  58. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    I have one for you: It may have been 1982. The Bucs trade their 1983 1st round pick for the Bears 1982 2nd round pick and select the greatness that was Booker Reese. No football IQ and no work ethic is a bad combination. Prove me wrong!

  59. NOLES Says:


    Good one LOL… if App State never beat Michigan that Year he never even gets drafted much less 2nd rd. Ol Gruden out thinking himself again.

    Don’t even think he made roster yr 2. He was afraid to get hit which is kinda a problem

  60. Bucsfanman Says:

    NOLES-He got waived in year 2, WAIVED!

  61. Brandon Says:

    The big let down was not drafting Jordan. Jordan went to the Senior Bowl that year and completely tore it up. He was the most outstanding player on either side of the ball all week. Adrian Clayborn turned down his Senior Bowl invite. Probably because he didn’t want to be exposed as a too slow RDE only that he is. then both went to the Combine where Jordan was significantly taller, bigger, stronger, AND faster. He ass also quite a bit more productive in his senior year, Clayborn had all of 3.5 sacks his last season at Iowa, but yet we selected Clayborn. That was when he became obvious that Mark Dominik was the worst GM in football. Not long after he bypassed Luke Kuechly for Mark Barron… Kuechly was my guy while most of the clueless fans were begging for Richardson or Claiborne. No doubt I would’ve been 10x better GM than Dominik.