Mark Dominik Grades Bucs Draft

May 17th, 2020

“C’mon Mark, you were in my shoes once. You don’t hear me talk about Da’Quan Bowers.”

A lot of NFL folks don’t want to hear or read anything about draft grades the day or week after a draft. They say you should wait a few years.

And that’s fair. You rarely see any grader give a team’s draft an “F” immediately following the draft. But a few years later, a team’s draft very much can be considered a failure.

So last week while co-hosting “The Blitz” with Bruce Murray, heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio, former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik was handing out team grades for the 2016 draft. After four full seasons, it’s fair to judge.

And when it came to his old team, Dominik seemed almost scared to give the team its 2016 grade. But Dominik finally spit it out: “a D-.”

Just to refresh your memory, here is the 2016 Bucs draft:

Round 1: Vernon Hargreaves
Round 2: Noah Spence
Round 2: Roberto Aguayo
Round 4: Ryan Smith
Round 5: Caleb Benenoch
Round 6: Devante Bond
Round 6: Danny Vitale


Only one player is still with the Bucs. That is defensive back Ryan Smith, who re-signed this year not so much because of his prowess as a cornerback but because he’s a pretty good special teams player.

You could almost hear Dominik grimacing as he read the names.

“It is not a good draft class,” Dominik said. “Vernon Hargreaves is on a one-year deal. Noah [Spence’s career] is basically on life support right now. Roberto Aguayo, who they traded up for on top of it — it’s a bad class. That’s what it is.

“The only thing I can say is that ‘OK, we will get through it’ is the fact that so many guys are actually on [an NFL] roster right now, still.

“You don’t want to give it an ‘F.’ A ‘D,’ a ‘D-,’ it’s right in there. I would have a hard time looking at that and not saying, a ‘D’ certainly. A ‘D-?’ It’s probably a ‘D-.’ There is no multiple-year deals except for Caleb who is on his third team now. I can’t do any better than to give it a ‘D-.'”

Dominik noted the first three picks were all cut by the Bucs. You don’t see that very often.

“Those are hard,” Dominik said. “When you are trying to build it and put it all together, that’s not a good sign.”

Hargreaves showed promise as a rookie but he sure wasn’t helped by disgraced former Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who had his corners practice social distancing before it became cool.

People thought Spence was a steal and he too had a promising rookie season despite injuries. After blowing out his shoulder again in the Bucs’ first road game in 2017, Spence was never the same.

Dummy Aguayo changed his leg swing before his rookie season because he got the idea reading about Tiger Woods changing his swing. Yes, really.

Still, as bad as this draft turned out, the Bucs won nine games that season, the most since they won 10 games in 2010. It turned out 2016 was the second and last winning record in the Lost Decade.

This just demonstrates how a draft changes colors in a rear-view mirror the farther you drive down the road. Joe once referred to the 2015 class as the Grand Slam, as it produced four starters and two Pro Bowl players.

Five years later, Joe suspects that draft class is a stand-up double.

37 Responses to “Mark Dominik Grades Bucs Draft”

  1. Wombat Says:

    You reap what you sow….

  2. Jason Says:

    “D-” So in 2016 Licht was basically Peppermint Patty?

  3. El Buco Realisto Says:

    So, all together, they only got one player left from the 2014 draft in ME13, so that is a C+, and 2015 was a double off a fielder’s error, (which looks worse, since Licht bulb drafted at the top!!!!!) And 2016 draft was an F!!!!!!! If all you have to show is a special teams players!!!!!!!!

    No wonder there is only 4 starters left from the start of the 2018 season!!!!!!!!!! Last offseason, some said that coaching was the issue, but from the turnover of the roster and the panic buying in free-agency and foolhardy trades says otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “This is the no excuses of no-excuses years”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s time to herd the sheep, and put them back in the pen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Mark Dominick should know what bad drafts look like…..most of his were terrible…..the combination of Dominick/Licht are the reasons the Bucs are without a playoff win since the SB victory.

    Help appears to be there, though……the last two drafts look much better….primarily Bowies…..I don’t think Licht is the primary decision maker on the picks……and, that’s a good thing….

  5. Swampbuc Says:

    That was a brutal draft, but Dominik is the last one who should be handing out draft grades. He oversaw the destruction of the Bucs winning culture, hired Raheem and then Schiano. Decided to So, uh — Mark — why don’t you go become an insurance salesman or something.

  6. El Buco Realistlokko Says:

    Look at tampabaybucfan falling for the same trap over and over again!!!!!!!!!!! Did you grade them an “A” again???????? Is your criteria that rookies that start on a losing team, during a losing 7-9 schedule????????? Are you counting the recent draft that has not even practiced yet???????? That is a lame take, even by your low standards tampabaybucfan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why don’t you save yourself some time and go ahead and give the Buc’s 2021 draft an “A”!!!!!!!!!!!

    “This is the no excuses of no-excuses years”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s time to herd the sheep, and put them back in the pen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Matt Says:

    That was easily the worst draft of the decade. What makes it sting even more is to see who was drafted a few picks after.

    Buuuuut Last year’s was the best so far because I think White and Dean will be Pro Bowlers and SMB is very very solid and could easily be a fringe Pro Bowler. The Seattle game was an anomaly for Dean, he was coming back from injury and wasn’t in game shape. He only wants played at a near Pro Bowl level for the rest of the season. His college tape is mega impressive and he picked right up the last quarter of the season. Without injury concerns he’s top 20.

    Now this year’s will be even better. Winfield and Wirfs have All Pro potentials and I’m much higher on k.Davis than most because our Veteran lineman will see that he reaches his potential. He does have short arms but he’s very twitchy and will cause major disruptions and be lethal on stunts.

    How can any scouting site/group say that any linemen in the draft have a higher potential than Wirfs? Becton’s weight will be a problem and his height is actually going to be a bit of a liability against those rushers who can bend. Von Miller says all the time he would rather go against a taller tackle who can’t bend.

    Wirfs’ athleticism will give our offense a legit screen game that we have never had. Watch how Philly utilizes Lane Johnson or the Saints with Terron Armstead it Tyron Smith with the Cowboys. We’ll actually be able to run the ball to the right side of the line of scrimmage now. Aside from maybe Isaiah Simmons or Chase Young there’s no other player i would rather have more than Wirfs. He will be a game changer. After the first quarter of the first game critics of RJIII will be silenced. I think he busts on the scene immediately.

    As for Winfield I am slightly concerned with his height. I do think those tall TEs will give him fits but TOdd Bowles will put Carlton Davis 1-on-1 with those TEs much like Belichek did with Talib (sucks we let him get away grrrr). Let Winfield play FS and bring him on a blitz 2-3 times a game and watch him blossom into a Pro Bowler. He’s just like Bob Sanders but a tick slower but with much much better instincts. I think he’s undervalued because of where he played. If he was in the SEC there’s no way he gets out of the Top 20. I’d much rather have him over Delpit or McKinney. Delpit flat out takes horrible angles. I hope it was injuries because he looked horrible at times. McKinney is Mark Barron 2.0. He’s not twitchy enough to be a flexible safety in the NFL today, he will be a liability in coverage.

    Licht definitely redeemed himself with these last 2 drafts. Barring any catastrophic injuries and meltdown he’s getting an extension. We quietly built one of the better rosters in the league. I’m not sure what Licht saw in 2016?? I’m a gator fan and I knew VHiii was not physical enough and was too slow to be an impact CB in the league. I was high on Noah Spence I thought he was going to bust on the scene last year but Barrett took over! 💪💪

    Off topic but can enough be said about the 49ers’ draft. How did we not offer Lynch a front office position? He’s well on his way to be a HOF GM. Well played sir. I’m calling bluff on that draft day trade but we really couldn’t call that bluff could we?
    Go Bucs!

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I have learned that you will put words in my mouth and attack me no matter what I post……I said help “appears” to be there…..and the last two drafts look “much better”…….better than a D…….where did you see me ever give the drafts an A.

    So….you think they were worse?…….

    And the fact that you don’t know whether your Uncle is also your Father is telling.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This draft was a good one….until it isn’t……..not a bad one until it proves differently……
    I would put my money on Devin White, Tristan Wirfs…….with a sprinkling of SMB & Winfield…..

  10. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Yes, some “people” did think Spence was a steal.

    ……..and I’m pretty sure one of those people was named Joe.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How about this draft pick…..Deandre Baker?……..the draft is always a crapshoot.

    Baker was selected by the New York Giants in the first round, 30th overall, of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants had traded up with the Seattle Seahawks to acquire the pick giving up their 37th, 132nd and 142nd picks.

  12. Destinjohnny Says:

    That was the deepest d line draft in the last 20 years.
    D line was a huge need.
    If u watch any sec football u knew that Vh3 could not in any way cover skilled wideouts
    Then Spence a 230 pound defensive end with 4.75 speed
    Then the usual trade up for a guy that won’t get picked for a few more rounds .

  13. AwShbucs Says:

    Really dont know why the blind Shepherd has such a hard time admitting that his boys took a team that was a legitimate 9-7 roster, and upon adding a butt load of talent in back to back offseasons, mismanaged to back to back 5-11 seasons.

    Oh and they added 2 locker room cancers and let them run rampant and destroy the team. Funny how Mike Smith’s didnt start running that god awful soft zone quarters defense until he got a huge extension…

    What makes you think I’m supposed to believe that the Glazers were fine with making Ol Smitty one of the highest paid coordinators in the league but wouldn’t let him run the defense he wanted because McCoy was complaining?

    You have absolutely no proof this ever happened. And better yet, even if it is true, then Smitty is even softer than I could have ever imagined.

  14. Bradybru Says:

    Tampabaybucs fan you brought up a good point, you never know who can make the transition, so you don’t know what you get when you draft the. Arians picks should come along pretty nicely. In AB we trust.

  15. mark2001 Says:

    Glad we have finally learned that drafting a highly touted guy from a “local” university, to engender fan support, isn’t the right tactic. When they go south and flame out, it is five times as hard to correct and move on, than any other player. No offense to great players like DB, Warren, or JPP. But you better be doubly sure when you draft them.

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    Mark Dominik grading NFL drafts is like letting a blind man drive a school bus…

    However, I agree with his assessment of GM Licht’s 2016 draft. Pure brown water gutter trash… I would give him an F-. Dominik was being nice giving him a D-.

  17. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I implore all of you to search the archives for April 28-30, 2016.

    Some mighty wrong opinions by a lot of “experts” on here.
    Quite a few Aguayo fans and Dan Vitale was going to be the next Alstott.

    Funny, yet sad stuff.

  18. Swampbuc Says:

    @Marine Buc – you nailed it! A blind bus driver might at least hit something. Dominik whiffed. And if anyone brings up McCoy – that was the no brainer of all no brainers at the time. The blind bus driver would have drafted him also.

    And he turned out good, not great, anyway. We have the better player now.

  19. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    D- is a very kind grade for that draft. Must be grading on a Bell curve. It’s an “F” all the way!

  20. El Buco Realistlokko Says:

    Looks like Awshbucs is a huge she-mc93 fan!!!!!!!!! She-mc93 was super passive aggressive!!!!!!!! Would say that he is a “team player, then complain about not being used right”because he was not the main focus, or getting his numbers!!!!!!!!! Coach Smitty talked and practice about using a flex front, then once used it in some games and She-mc93 complained in the media, and to front office and higher ups (allegedly) and mysteriously it was back to running lovie’s system basically, with incompetent lovie’s leftover players and some slappies that licht bulb bought!!!!!!!!!!!

    But keep thinking she-mc was some great leader in Tampa!!!!!!!! Keep thinking Djax was a “cancer” when all he did was expose jay-miss!!!!!!!! Who by the way, was slandered first!!!!!!!!! Keep thinking that the last coaches were the worst, yet the new supposedly “great” coaching staff had a losing 7-9 record!!!!!!!! Who barely beat a bunch of backup qb’s at the end of the year!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep thinking that it was the coaches that were the problem, even though the roster has been turned over all but 4 starters from opening day in 2018!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You want proof!!!!!!!!!!

    Published on October 25, 2017
    By Roy Cummings
    “McCoy spent about half the game last week working in a three-man front and while he didn’t come right out and say he didn’t like it, he certainly didn’t endorse the practice.

    “I just play what they call,’’ McCoy said with a sardonic chuckle when asked about the strategy. “Whatever we run, I just kind of go with it. I’m a team guy so I do what they ask me to do.

    “Do I feel like I could be more effective in a different way? Yes. But I’m a team guy. It’s not about Gerald. So whatever coach calls is what I’m going to run.’’

  21. Anthony Dickson Says:

    I think it’s a fair grade by Dominik but I’m not going throw Licht and the Buc’s scouting dept completely under the bus, I think luck and how a coaching staff develops players plays a factor in how well a draft class is, I’m going to focus on the top 3 picks. The 1st pick, VH28, I think the Bucs were targeting and hoping to pick Eli Apple but the Giants selected him ahead of the them, so they had a position of need and picked Hargreaves, a truly talented player but not one that has the personal drive to excel. The #2 pick Noah Spence, everyone saw the raw talent he possessed but injuries really derailed his development. And finally the Bucs 3rd pick of Roberto Aguayo, whilst I applaud Licht for being aggressive and trying to get their guy(and the Bucs definitely had a need at kicker), trading draft capital to move back into the 2nd round was definitely a head scratcher, I can see making such a move in the later rounds but to select a kicker in the 2nd round, you better be damn sure he’s the next Sebastian Janikowski and Aguayo clearly wasn’t. So in summary when the Bucs have a player that’s not self motivated and driven to excel(Hargreaves), I put that on the coaches to push/develop that player into being a great player and they failed, Spence could have been a version of Shaq Barrett but injuries derailed his career so, some bad luck there, and picking Aguayo was just plain boneheaded, that’s definitely on Licht.

  22. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I think lack of talent is what derailed Spence’s career.

  23. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Licht Brain is a dumpster fire of a GM. Licht got the GOAT because every other team did not really want TB12 due to the decline of a 43 y.o. QB being akin to going over Niagara Falls-it is a long way to the bottom and very fast getting there.
    Bucs have to win it all and right away or Licht Brain can wait in line at the food bank and for his unemployment claim to process.

  24. AwShbucs Says:

    Nope. Yet again you are all wrong and you just dug your own grave. I was happy to see McCoy go.

    But I say to you again, if your boy Smitty didnt run the system he wanted to because McCoy pouted about it, then he is a soft, spineless, weak-willed moron who deserved exactly what he got by fielding what was on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history in 2018. The only reason we avoided that dishonor was because we canned the bum midseason!

    Catering his entire scheme because one player out of 11 was unhappy, well that my friend would be the definition of bad coaching.

    But that’s not what actually happened. The reality is he was running exactly what he wanted to, specifically in the secondary where he demanded his corners to play 8 yards off the receivers, and ordered his the Dline to 2 gap and hold there man instead of rushing the passer.

    He was a soft softy that was well over the hill. And the fact that you STILL worship the dolt is a perfect example of what a clown you are.

  25. Allbuccedup Says:

    2016 draft F-. Probably the sorriest draft in the Bucs history maybe the entire NFL.

  26. lambchop Says:

    Nothing like going into a hyped season than wallowing in the decrepit feces-infused past. Can we move the F along? Mistakes were made, but FA and recent drafts have contributed to the team on an upswing. Every pile-on in this thread is the 2nd coming of Gil Brandt.

  27. lambchop Says:

    LOL, I didn’t even realize there was another post by the Joes referencing Gil before I posted my comment. Crazy.

  28. Brett Says:

    Fair grade but you have to give Licht credit for moving on from them. Dominick not only frafted Bowers but insisted on keeping him. Schiano wanted that Daniel Teo’something to make it, so they let Bennett go. Licht is a lot more realistic here.

  29. TOM Says:

    The last two drafts in which BA was involved looked pretty good well we will have to wait & see on this years but looks darn good on paper. I would say it was BA’s draft & not loser Licht.

  30. stpetebucsfan Says:

    That draft certainly sucked. How much damage do we charge to Licht for the year before when we had a #1 pick in the entire draft. How much draft capital did Licht/Lovie burn that year?

  31. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Why does realist keep saying 4 starters from 2018?


  32. K2 Says:

    Reliving that draft is like bringing the terminal ill to the den of depression and watching reruns of Bucs losses. Why don’t we just rub salt in our eyes to get a better view.

  33. Buczilla Says:

    2016 is a solid F. 2015 deserves a C- since Ali is the only player from that class that is better than average and Jameis failed here as a franchise QB. I wanted to give it a worse grade but Jameis was and is the best QB that we could have chosen that year. Plus, outside of a handful of players, that first round was pretty pathetic.

  34. BigMacAttack Says:

    Listening to Mark Dominick is like listening to Matt Millen. At least Licht appears to learn from his many mistakes. The other two GMs sucked from beginning to end.

  35. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    Yikes. At least they have one player that was worth resigning though I understand the D- but it was terrible. Maybe some see what Jameis really had to work with now, but hey R. Smith will be a great contributor on special teams this season. Spence injury and playing through it cost him everything at this point Beneneoch was a terrible pick at this point should’ve went online at a higher point in the draft but I blame that draft on fan hype for Hargreaves who didn’t make it half a season under BA even though his fifth year rookie extension was picked up. Ok Howard is in that same position this season and I think he will thrive learning from Hargreaves mistakes. Aguayo could’ve been great if he didn’t have the pressure on his draft status. He wasn’t bad but wasn’t much use unless on extra point or inside 45 yards if I remember correctly. Now Vitale was a head scratcher as well for a coaching regime that didn’t incorporate a fullback could’ve went defense, oline, or special teams returner again as well but I think kaelin Clay killed that from the year before I believe. Dline anything would’ve been better. My grade for the 2016 draft is a F+ because of Smith still being on the iand others in the league barely hanging on. 2015 draft still gets the A I originally gave because of the two second round selection in Marpet and Smith who are still around as prominent and proven starters as well as the steal of that entire draft with Kwon Alexander too. Jameis gave us the full monty as far as contract decision too just turned out to be a third stringer due to availability and past national publicity if you ask me. Vea, White and hopefully Wirfs will be cornerstones for rebuilding BA’s Bucs into a veteran juggernaut that plays full throttle at every later of the game. I must say BA will be here coaching in his 70s and later moved to an executive role to retire at 80. This is going to work I feel. Plus they have had solid second round picks the last few years as well in RoJo and Davis while Stewart has struggled I feel he should compete for a Gunner role alongside Smith on special teams would be awesome to see I think and would give our special teams a different lock down element on punts and kickoffs with Minter, Adams, and possibly Edwards as well as Spencer. I just feel we gotta get creative and free up at least 10 million to sign Peters, Mathews and Freeman to fill super vet position voids on the offensive line and at running back as well as a solid replacement for Nassib until the team is confident in two players emerging as backup pass rusher and bull rusher. Freeman would keep RoJo with a fresh career and allow for Calais to develop on the practice squad for a season to or as a kickoff returner along with Logan. Vea could use some new teammates up front to develop along with the oline getting more added depth as well at RT with actual talent if they move D. Smith to RG and let Wirfs play LT due to once in a lifetime athleticism and bring Peters in to be RT. Cappa and Haeg can back up with this team I feel and still get notable reps and develop into starters to fill the void for future drafts. 2021 draft I predict the first round pick will be on a defensive lineman this time and an offensive lineman in the second. Drafting more edge rushers as well. I think Brady will sign up for a third season and fourth season to allow the team to groom a young QB. They may just stay veteran I believe which would be best given the franchise history with QBs. I also like Shackenford and N. Leverett to slide on this team as well with Bailey to fill out depth at reserve interior so moving D. Smith to RG which suits him best at this point in his career and allowing Cappa and Haeg to fill the depth chart at LT and RT respectively would boost the needed depth of the oline. I think they should cut Brate to begin with and bring him back on a small 1yr deal and restructure Gronk so he’s here for Brady full run here. That way we get the veteran experience for a few years while the young talent develops into their roles.

  36. Capt.Tim Says:

    I said this when they were drafted.
    Too small, too slow
    Heagreaves was terrible. Is terrible. Will always be terrible.
    When Spence, your “speed rusher off the end”, is to slow to play rush Linebacker- then he is not a speed rusher. And in addition to being slow, spence was to small to play a down lineman.

    No NFL office is paying me. If a guy in the stands knows these two guys are short and slow- how the hell can a GM NOT know it.

    Horrible, horrible draft. Thats how you have the worst winning record of any professional sports team! Disgraceful

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    Roberto never missed a kicked that mattered, unlike Gay who lost us two games last year.