Bucs should win despite their draft position

by Gary Shelton on November 18, 2014 · 5 comments

in Tampa Bay Bucs

The air smells cleaner. The sun shines brighter. The music plays a little louder.

For the moment, the Tampa Bay Bucs have stopped the laughter.

For once, they have won a football game. Yay. Just like that, their plan looks sharper, their coach seems smarter and their future looks better. The winning streak is at one in a row, and everyone is happy.

But was it worth it?

(Insert the sound of grumbling from the Twitter universe.)

This is the plight of a bad team. It cannot even fully enjoy its victories. Despite what those silly things called the NFL standings say, no one says this team is a contender without giggling. The season is decided. Even if the team is better at the end, it will not end happily.

And so there is a large group of fans that would just as soon see this team finish with the worst record possible. That way, the ensuing draft pick will be higher, and we can all listen to Mel Kiper a little more closely.

I know, I know. It’s a defeatist argument, but that’s what the Bucs have done to us. They have not won a playoff game since the Super Bowl, and because of it, the race for the top draft choice is a lot more interesting that watching turtles sprint in this NFC South race. You've won two but you're only two out? Isn't that an argument for Week Four?

It’s a defendable place to stand. A fan takes what a team gives him. Still, I disagree. I think a team needs to win while it can win. I think a coach needs wins to establish his program. I don’t think anyone wants to follow a team that will surrender. What does that say about the future? Otherwise, you are planning on having lunch tomorrow when you are hungry today.

Still, I understand. When a bad team wins, it is easy to picture Peyton Manning transforming into Ryan Leaf, or Andrew Luck becoming Robert Griffin III, or for crying out loud, Derrick Thomas turning into Broderick Thomas. A fan wants his team to have all the possible options as it goes into chase for tomorrow. That's natural. In November, no one dreams of their team drafting, say, Aundray Bruce.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris G Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning November 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Mark Dominik really hurt Tampa, with a bunch of poor draft picks that did not work out.
But it appears that Jason Licht and his team have drafted well, so far. We will have to wait and see on Simms, but both Evans and ASJ seem to be NFL starters, and Evans will be a star for a long time to come.

I just love the Mark Barron Trade, and the 2 draft picks we got for a worthless safety, who could not cover.
We need another awesome draft next year, and I think we are finally on the right track.

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JC De La Torre November 19, 2014 at 1:45 am

I believe in momentum, in getting your players to believe and buy into your system. I don’t believe in tanking. The only way you’ll get better is to start winning.

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Kyle November 19, 2014 at 1:32 am

The team needs to win. Can’t trust that having the top pick will result in a home run selection. Win now, win as much as you can while you can. A winning environment is what I want. If they are in position to draft the “Future”, get them. If you have the ability to move up for them? Do it. But don’t screw the fans that pay good money to go to the stadium and that watch at home on T.V. out of victories just for draft position.

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Chris G Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning November 18, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I post on JBF.com a lot, that’s how I found this site!
I agree, Tampa just needs to win as many games as possible, and let our draft position fall as it may.
McCown is a quite servicable quarterback, and will be for a couple more years.
Perhaps we find a gem of a QB in the later rounds, but user our top draft picks on defense players, and O Line help.

At any rate, I am glad to see Gary made this website, because I am a long time reader of his Tampa Sports Column.

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Leib4th November 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Yet it seems to me some teams, year in and year out, end up with better players out of the draft – are they just superior evaluators of talent? Or is it the “system” they have in place that allows players of average talent to produce above-average results? And if that is frequently the case, then teams without that “system” in place aren’t going to be very successful no matter whom they draft…

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