It’s draft day. The Buccaneers have the No. 19 pick in Thursday night’s first round. They may trade it or they may not, but regardless, a new group of guys will be coming to Tampa Bay this summer. No matter who the first-rounder is and no matter who else follows, I have one question..
Could this be the year? Oh, I’m not asking if this could be the year that the Buccaneers return to the playoffs. That’s a good question, sure, but here’s the real question: is this the year that Bucs fans finally support the team’s draft picks? Is this the year that fans rally behind the players instead of complaining all year long because the team didn’t draft “their” guys?
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In recent years, it’s been exhausting. When Jameis Winston was selected first overall in 2015, there was division. Some fans eventually came around on No. 3, but there are still some to this day that complain about the fact that Marcus Mariota, “their” pick, isn’t wearing red and pewter. In 2016, Vernon Hargreaves was the next one in line to create division within the fan base. Some are still not supporting VH3 because he’s not the one they would’ve drafted in that position.
Some of the rejection comes from those who think the Bucs should assemble the roster according to their particular opinions. Then, there are fans that refuse to support players simply because of their college allegiances. That’s downright absurd. As a huge college football fan myself, I certainly understand college fandom. But what I just can’t wrap my head around is the idea of that fandom carrying over into the NFL.
As Bucs fans, we frequently see this come into play as a result of the Florida/Florida State rivalry. There are Florida fans still rejecting Winston, while some Florida State fans continue to downplay VH3’s talent. It’s tiresome. Both players represent Tampa Bay now, so please, just forget about the rivalry on Sundays.
That brings me to the overall point of this message. No matter what reasons you may have to disagree with Jason Licht’s decisions in this weekend’s draft, please do us all a favor and support the players anyway. If you want Dalvin Cook at No. 19, that’s great. But don’t throw a fit and protest the pick if someone else’s name is called. And if you don’t want Cook, don’t throw a fit if his name is called. There are a whole lot of conflicting opinions, but don’t pout if things don’t go your way. Let’s all be Bucs fans first, then fans of ourselves and our own opinions/allegiances.
The draft should be an exciting time. A lot of people love making their own mock drafts and even more people just love hearing draft talk. The addition of a group of talented rookies to an already-exciting team should bring Buccaneer fans even more excitement about the 2017 season. So please, this year and every single year after that, just give your support to the guys that do end up in Tampa Bay instead of complaining that certain players don’t.
Alright, Bucs fans. Let’s all enjoy the next few days and look forward to what should be a wild, entertaining 2017 season.