Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me, though, that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year, I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries, and a host of other things.
We’re moving in draft order so it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers up next.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
No such luck …
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Gerald McCoy, DT (3rd overall pick in 2010): The top-ranked defensive tackle in the PFF 2013 rankings, McCoy has been everything he was supposed to be and more. A disruptive influence on every down, he has the kind of speed, explosion, and power that very few do.
Mike Williams, WR (102nd overall pick in 2010): The team may have traded him away for a sixth-round pick but let’s not rewrite history to say the team didn’t get excellent production out of the former fourth-round pick. He lasted 3,246 snaps for the team and was largely impressive in picking up 2,944 yards and 24 touchdowns. A great return.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
E.J. Biggers, DB (217th overall pick in 2009): Biggers was at times a liability, but with 2,184 defensive snaps and 13 special teams tackles he’s proved he’s been worth the seventh-round pick. With 29 combined interceptions and pass break ups, he’s worth the positive grade.
Sammie Stroughter, WR (233rd overall pick in 2009): May have just played 775 snaps but proved a solid weapon operating mainly out of the slot. Picked late in the seventh, his additional work as a returner pushes this into the realms of getting more than you might expect from a man picked 233rd overall.
Cody Grimm, S (211th overall pick in 2010): I don’t expect an awful lot out of seventh-rounders as history has taught me they’re more likely to do nothing than something. So I call this a win considering Grimm looked solid for the most part during his 729 snaps on defense while also contributing on special teams.
Dekoda Watson, LB (218th overall pick in 2010): Another seventh-rounder who hung around the roster and delivered more than you’d expect. It may have just been 742 snaps but at times he would fill the role of starting outside linebacker, situational pass rusher, and core special teamer.
Erik Lorig, FB (254th overall pick in 2010): Lorig was hardly a great fullback but he lasted four years with the team and was a solid hand. I’ll take that.
0.0: It could have been worse
Xavier Fulton, OT (155th overall pick in 2009): I like my fifth-round picks to last more than one season with a team. Fulton failed in this regard though he does get some sympathy with his anterior cruciate ligament tear ruining his rookie season.
Luke Stocker, TE (104th overall pick in 2011): Maybe didn’t deliver quite as much as hoped but proved a serviceable player in his 1,020 snaps. A solid option as a No. 2 tight end and someone likely to have a chance of catching on under Lovie Smith.
Ahmad Black, DB (151st overall pick in 2011): Not a terrible selection with the fifth-rounder producing 641 defensive snaps, but not the kind of impact you’d classify as a win.
Anthony Gaitor, CB (223rd overall pick in 2011): Would get on the field for 166 snaps but made little headway toward locking down significant playing time. Still a chance the new coaching staff may let him catch on if he can recover from a torn ACL.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Roy Miller, DT (81st overall pick in 2009): Miller was supposed to be a run plugger who could eat up double teams and stand up blockers one-on-one. He was not. Incredibly, the former third round pick would play 2,087 snaps and earn a -49.7 grade. Struggled to make much of an impact or make life easier for those behind him.
Kyle Moore, DE (117th overall pick in 2009): The team got some playing time out of Moore, but while he would go on to look halfway-decent in a brief spell in Buffalo, he was terrible in Tampa Bay. 505 snaps resulted in a horrible -19.5 grade.
Arrelious Benn, WR (39th overall pick in 2010): Blame it on injuries if you will but Benn just didn’t get on the field enough to justify his early second-round selection. 952 snaps may have been enough time to flash talent, but not the kind of return you’d hope for.
Myron Lewis, CB (67th overall pick in 2010): The team appeared desperate at times to get something out of him but with a -8.1 grade on just 290 snaps he clearly couldn’t be trusted. Waived after three years with the team.
Mason Foster, LB (84th overall pick in 2011): Foster has certainly played a lot but despite the extensive playing time he’s struggled as an every-down player, turning an impressive 2,431 snaps into an unimpressive -44.5 career grade with the team.
Allen Bradford, RB (187th overall pick in 2011): Cut into his first season with the Bucs after six snaps with the team. Bradford would eventually be converted to linebacker elsewhere.
Daniel Hardy, TE (240th overall pick in 2011): Ditched before his first regular season and deemed not worth a roster spot. As you were.
-1.0: What a waste!
Brian Price, DT (35th overall pick in 2010): Injury limited his action in 2010 and when he returned in 2011 was pushed around against the run and got very little pass rush. That was it for his run with the Bucs as they would then trade him away for a seventh-round pick.
Brent Bowden, P (173rd overall pick in 2010): If you’re going to take a punter in the fifth round he better be good. If you take one and then cut them before the start of their rookie season you’ve failed.
Adrian Clayborn, DE (20th overall pick in 2011): Just not good enough for a first-rounder. He missed most of his sophomore season but even taking that into account the production just hasn’t been there. Could only muster a terrible -16.3 pass rush grade last year, an area he was meant to deliver on.
Da’Quan Bowers, DE (51st overall pick in 2011): Medical issues saw him drop in the draft but it’s his on-field play that makes this pick a waste. The team seems determined to make him a starter but he’s proved nothing more than a disappointing situational and rotational player.
Josh Freeman, QB (17th overall pick in 2009): Where did it all go wrong? Freeman had the kind of sophomore season that seemed to indicate the team had nailed their 2009 gamble, but his play fell of a cliff following on from that. Eventually the team would cut their losses as the man with all the tools failed to deliver on them. His 2,797 team snaps would end with a -39.1 grade.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
It didn’t get that bad …
Here are links to the teams that have been through the Draft Grader to date:
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