An “Abysmal” Draft

April 9th, 2024

Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian

Joe loves when retired Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian lectures on “the draft industrial complex.”

The architect of very special Bills, Panthers and Colts teams, 81-year-old Polian was holding court this morning on the SiriusXM NFL Radio airwaves. He focused on the 2021 NFL Draft, the one that yielded Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Kyle Trask, Robert Hainsey and K.J. Britt to the Tampa Bay roster.

“This one is shocking in the number of players who actually performed well,” Polian said. “And it proves once a gain beyond a shadow of a doubt [that all draft classes are not created equal] … bottom line is this draft is abysmal in terms of people that contributed.”

Polian talked about how the “draft industrial complex” always wants everyone excited about all the allegedly stud prospects. He cautioned fans to not look at drafts as a stand-alone event and to understand “it’s a crapshoot at best. … The best of us bat about .550 in the draft over time.”

Only five All-Pros came from the 2021 draft, Polian detailed, including a fourth- and fifth-rounder and three first-rounders. Only eight additional Pro Bowlers emerged from that draft, Polian said, noting that he refuses to count the last-minute addition of Mac Jones to the Pro Bowl in 2021.

Polian talked about how the ’21 draft was probably an outlier, and he added that one newer way to evaluate a draft class is by how many first-round picks have their fifth-year options picked up.

Joe loves the point of how the NFL marketing machine wants everyone hyped about the draft and the sea of players in it.

That’s great for business and it drives NFL interest for at least two months, even if a lot of the commentary is a bunch of misdirection and misinformed BS piled on top of more steaming BS.

Hey, it’s fun. Joe loves it. But it is important to remember a slam dunk draft class is not the norm, not even close.

Polian also joked about the silliness of draft grades in the days and weeks following a draft. He said his attitude toward those was simple.

“I’ll take the “C” and see you in the playoffs,” Polian said.

32 Responses to “An “Abysmal” Draft”

  1. elite bucs Says:

    Polians a guru and i agree with him entirely on this. Boring a$$ draft class. Hopefully we get one of those rare contributors out there..

  2. Bucs Guy Says:

    I don’t believe this is a strong draft class. At least 2 QBs will be a bust. Maybe 4 strong WRs and only 2 or 3 good Edge rushers. The only real strength in this draft is OLine.

  3. Mark Says:

    Fun to pick on JTS but at least he’s played and shown flashes of something. Logan Hall on the other hand never even gets mentioned

  4. Boss Says:

    so, the draft aint much different then life.

    just a matter of who comes out of the drunken early 20’s and still hase motivation and fire in the belly and who just want to burn out like a shooting star.

  5. Lord Cornelius Says:

    COVID years lol

  6. Boss Says:

    JTS will have 9 sacks this year. write it down

  7. heyjude Says:

    Agree with Bill Polian too. However, it is always exciting before, during, and after the draft. It’s that not knowing what is going to happen next. Love it all.

  8. JimBobBuc Says:

    A lot of media outlets and individuals get tons of hits doing mock drafts and it’s a fun to play GM. All that optimism right after the draft often extends into camp, where every rookie is making plays all over the field. Onsite camp watchers don’t necessarily mention bad camp plays. The ugly truth appears during preseason games and final cuts.

  9. Dave Pear Says:

    I love Polian. Licht does too.

    Can’t wait for the resident know-it-all maroons to start throwing out their proclamations about Slop Robinson or Xavier Worthless, or Bo’s Penix.

    How about some more “Trask hasn’t been given a chance, we need to see what we have” ‘rrhea.

    Jason be what Jason do.

  10. Buc4evr Says:

    There are 3 or 4 good centers and maybe 5 or 6 good edge rushers. Hopefully Jason can at least get a decent Center and Edge out of this draft.

  11. SB Says:

    I Guarantold ya there are more than 4 strong WRs in this draft Bucs Guy.

  12. #99 the big fella Says:

    Boss this is the first time I actually agree with you on something.. lol

  13. Beeej Says:

    Every year they breathlessly tell us about these great players coming out, still remember in 2015 hearing all about Marietta and Jameis

  14. Boss Says:

    @99….. I told ya the meds were working lol

  15. heyjude Says:

    @Beeej – so true. I was one of many that were jumping up and down when we got Jameis as number one pick. It was all over-hyped right up to the picks. It is crazy how things work out.

  16. geno711 Says:

    There is clearly overhype on the receivers this year. It’s a deep class but the likelihood of getting a pro bowl guy in the 2nd or later rounds is about 1 in 20.

    If you look at the receivers as Draft Buzz has them ranked, they have Keon Coleman as the 9th best receiver and the 44th overall player. They have Johnny Wilson as the 21st best receiver and the 125th overall.

    That is 13 receivers in that group. Probably about 20 percent of those guys will end up being a strong starter for their team. Most will be misses as most receivers drafted are.

    So, maybe 5 of the first 7 receivers might be very strong, but to assume that you will get a guy in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th round that will be better than Palmer was for us last year, I think is extremely unlikely.

  17. Jmarkbuc Says:

    JTS thinks he’s playing flag football.

  18. WhatTheBuc Says:

    I don’t know if we are having a reading comprehension problem here but Bill Polian never referenced this draft as being subpar. Bill was referencing the 2021 draft specifically. He has never inferred that this draft is weak. I also listened to him live this morning and never got the feeling that he was comparing 2021 to this draft. Having listened to Polian on and off for the last week or so, I get the feeling that he likes this draft. Multiple times he referred to this year being strong at WR OL and corner.

  19. The Big Sombrero Says:

    By default, teams will have to eventually cut players in order to make room for the upcoming draft and free agent group… turnover is inevitable… and it also makes it impossible to nail every pick in the draft and expect to keep them all for 10 years.

    I think this def contributes to the even the best GMs are .550…

  20. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    How do people find the next ‘jerry Rice’ in a draft, or the next mad stork, jack lampbert? They were relatively slow of foot. How can one see the utter determination, the got to, the sheer will? Sure they can measure the tangibles, everyone does that, but the inner motor, the size of the heart, those are the things that make picking players really a tough science to me. Licht has been pretty good so far…

  21. Tony marks Says:

    Contradictiosn are running wild and free in posts of the Joes and discussions.

    Consider – IF Polain is right ( And I know he is)

    then you can’t point to averages and have rules about where to select certain postions – for the simple reason that drafts are not all the same and the players aren’t there some years at the slot you claim stats indicate.

    Stats were never devised and will never say a thing about what specific picks to make . Thats the wrong use of stats.

    So in this post you are heraldinghe the genius of Polian – where in most other posts you are directly contradicting his genius.

  22. Tackleblockwin Says:

    I appreciate his opinion. Another way to look at his comments is..,”you better bat at .500 During the draft or you will soon find yourself on a sinking ship.“

  23. infomeplease Says:

    I’m hopeful the Bucs can improve their team with a couple of good draft picks. We’ll see how it turns out. Of course that may take seven or more months before you can tell!

  24. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    “I’ll take the “C” and see you in the playoffs,”

    I like that guy

  25. SlyPiratr Says:

    SB Says:
    April 9th, 2024 at 3:58 pm
    I Guarantold ya there are more than 4 strong WRs in this draft Bucs Guy.


    1000% agreed. The WR in this class are crazy good. Anytime you have a stud college QB, you need to look at the WR (ie Johnny Football or Mike Evans). There aren’t a swath of awesome QBs this year, there are a bunch of WR.

  26. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I’ve always said teams are lucky to have 50% hits in drafts. That’s 3-4 players.

  27. miken Says:

    The thing about this draft class is, you can get a great wr and a great ot… but if you need anything else, good luck. The draft is pure luck in a sence, because sometime you have the 1st pick and you can get Jameis and sometimes you have the 1st pick and you can draft burrow

  28. Daniel Dream Says:

    The 2024 draft is already a bust because the idiot Bears are taking a scrub already washed-up QB with the first pick, and a whole lot of other QBs that will flop will also be selected early. There’s not a ton of talent in the draft but a team that doesn’t need a QB may benefit and be able to get one of the players who actually will succeed drop to them in the draft.

  29. MelvinJunior Says:

    Daniel, it sure sounds as if you are truly, “Living The Dream” there, Buddy! LoL

  30. 02,20,2022 Says:

    Same Polian who had 2 time MVP as a WIDE RECEIVER. Thanks Bill….time to take your meds buddy.

  31. BucFanforLife Says:

    Teams have to look at players as employees. Dive deep into who they are, how they can contribute, and how well you think they will work in your organization. It’s more important to look at leadership and intelligence factors then just looking at their raw abilities. All of these players have the ability to play at the NFL level, at least the ones being considered for draft selection. The best teams avoid or eject out poison and diva players.

    Licht has done a great job so far, and I appreciate his efforts. Improvements can be made for existing high-performing players; no need to jettison them until some better options come along. Loyalty to players (employees) also leads to better overall teams.

    GO BUCS!

  32. Greg Says:

    Logan Hall–the a-hole that ended Ryan Jensen’s career in underwear football, all he’ll ever be remembered for!