3. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (fourth overall pick, 2007)
The warning signs were there, and the Buccaneers chose to ignore them when selecting Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft. Adams was flagged for heart problems entering the draft, but Tampa Bay saw his upside as too much to pass on.
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He managed to play just two and a half seasons with the Buccaneers before leaving for Chicago five games into the 2009 season. That would be Adams last year in the league as he passed away in January of 2010 due to the same heart condition that raised flags to begin with.
This is why teams are starting to back off of Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat, and why Michigan’s Maurice Hurst fell to the fourth round of the draft last year. The entire Adams situation is a sad, scary, and odd story that could have been avoided entirely had Tampa Bay chosen to listen to doctors
For being the fourth overall pick, Adams only managed to tally 13.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in his career, and most came in a Buccaneers uniform. Notable players that could have been selected by the Buccaneers instead of Adams include Patrick Willis, Adrian Peterson, or Darrelle Revis in the 2007 draft instead.