- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft class of 2010 has had plenty of time to be judged.
This nine-player class was a complicated bunch with several players flashing great promise, but not being able to do it on a consistent basis for a variety of reasons.
Let’s start at the top. With the third overall pick, the Bucs drafted defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Despite an injury-filled start to his career, McCoy has emerged as one of the league’s better interior players. He has been selected to three straight Pro Bowls and is the team leader.
You can make a case that McCoy should be good since he was drafted so early. But give Tampa Bay’s personnel department, headed by former general manager Mark Dominik, some credit for getting this one right. McCoy is a cornerstone the Bucs still are building around today.
Of the nine players the Bucs drafted in 2010, McCoy is the only one still on the roster. But he isn’t the only one to make a contribution. This class showed great promise at times, only to have it wiped out by injuries and off-field issues.
Take the sad story of defensive tackle Brian Price, a second-round pick. He started and made an impact early in his career. But his sister died in a car accident and Price had difficulty recovering. The Bucs eventually gave up on Price and traded him away.
Price was one of two second-round choices. Wide receiver Arrelious Benn was the other. He had enormous potential, but never was able to stay healthy and didn’t make an impact in Tampa Bay. Cornerback Myron Lewis, a third-round pick, was the only real bust in this class.
The Bucs seemed to get a bargain with wide receiver Mike Williams in the fourth round. He had a stellar rookie season. But Williams hit a sophomore slump and then had some off-field issues that forced the Bucs to give up on him and trade him away.
Punter Brett Bowden was a wasted pick in the sixth round, but the Bucs did pretty well with their three seventh-round picks. Cody Grimm ended up being a part-time starter at safety. Linebacker Dekoda Watson made an impact on special teams. And Erik Lorig, who was drafted as a defensive end, ended up as the starting fullback.
This class gets a high grade largely because of McCoy. But much of the rest of the class was productive. If Price, Benn and Williams hadn’t run into difficulties, this could have been a special class.
I’ll give this class a B-.
Injuries, off-field issues sabotaged talented group.