The Bucs presently have 17 of their own draft picks on the roster. That ties them with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second fewest. The Chicago Bears have the fewest with only 15 original draft picks. The Green Bay Packers lead the league with 33.
What’s most striking about Tampa Bay comes when you look back at the draft classes of 2009 and 2010. Players from those drafts should be entering their prime. But, outside of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, that’s not the case for the Bucs.
McCoy is the only player from those two drafts still on Tampa Bay’s roster. It would be easy to blame the lack of draft picks on the roster on the change of regimes from Mark Dominik and Greg Schiano to Jason Licht and Lovie Smith. But it wouldn’t be accurate.
Dominik and Schiano got rid of a good number of their own draft picks. Josh Freeman, Arrelious Benn and Brian Price jump quickly to mind. Licht and Smith recently unloaded receiver Mike Williams, a fourth-round pick in 2010, but you can put some of the blame for that on Schiano and Dominik. They drafted Williams, who came out of college with some red flags. Schiano and Dominik might have unloaded Williams if they had stayed.
Licht and Smith have talked about the importance of building through the draft. But they’ve also brought in a lot of free agents. I don’t think they’re blowing smoke about wanting to build through the draft. I think they’re simply doing what they have to do to make up for some of the mistakes made by Schiano, Dominik and former coach Raheem Morris. When the cupboard is empty, you have to go shopping.