Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Picking last in the NFL Draft and loving it

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and will love every minute of that selection.

Aside from lifting and tossing the Lombardi trophy after the Super Bowl Championship, maybe the best result of winning a Super Bowl is picking dead last in the NFL draft. It’s simple, really, it’s not a question of who you will take with the first pick, or even dealing with arguments about what position to choose from or what kind of athlete we want. The Buccaneers finally get to experience this again.

The annual argument of picking from need or picking from talent will have long gone by the wayside, in place of, basically, who’s left.

The kicking and shouting over draft picks in the first round will have little to do with the Bucs brass. No one is going to offer anything to move back into the first round with pick 32, so some kind of trading for extra picks is sort of moot. And yet, draft pick number 32, be it ever so humble, is still a first-round choice.

It’s rare air for Tampa Bay to have such a late draft choice. When they won the SB back in ’02, they didn’t reap the 32nd pick in the 2003 draft. No no, that honor went to the LA Raiders as part of the booty (for lack of a better term) in the Jon Gruden trade.

What did the Buccaneers pay for the coach that took them to their first Super Bowl victory? How about, $8 million, when it still meant $8 million, two first-rounders in 2002 and 2003, and a pair of 2nd Rounders in 2002 and 2004.

Ouch!

By comparison, this year’s victory was much less expensive. Other than having to loop in players like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Bryant, and “Playoff” Leonard Fournette, the Buccaneers almost got away scot-free by comparison.

So, as we head into the lead-up to the 2021 NFL Draft in downtown Cleveland from April 29th-May 1st, the Buccaneers won’t be haggling about who they’re going to choose with some lofty sub-teens first-round choice.

No indeed. The Buccaneers will get to watch the top 31 players get peeled off the board before arriving at that sweet, even, flashy number 32. And to be nothing but honest, there were at least four teams that would have been very happy to be stuck at 32, and in top to bottom order: the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints, and that team which plays out of Washington DC (yes, I know they play in Maryland).

So how have the Bucs done in all of those previous drafts? Well, not so well in 2002 and 2003, for sure. In ’02 their first choice in round 3, with the 86th overall pick, was Marquis Walker, a wideout and punt returner from Michigan. Remember him? Me neither. In ‘03, the Bucs nabbed Dewayne White, a defensive end who played college football at Louisville.

Here is a list of the who the Buccaneers selected with their first choice since their last Super Bowl victory over the Raiders in 2002:

Former first draft picks by the Buccaneers

Tristan Wirfs, 2020, 13th overall, Iowa
Devin White, 2019, 5th overall, LSU
Vita Vea, 2018, 12th overall, Washington
OJ Howard, 2017, 19th, Alabama
Vernon Hargreaves, 2016, 11th overall, Florida
Jameis Winston, 2015, 1st overall, Florida State
Mike Evans, 2014, 7th overall, Texas A&M
Johnthan Banks, 2013, 43rd overall, Mississippi
Mark Barron, 2012, 7th overall, Alabama
Adrian Clayborn, 2011, 20th overall, Iowa
Gerald McCoy, 2010, 3rd overall, Oklahoma
Josh Freeman, 2009, 17th overall, Kansas State
Aqib Talib, 2008, 20th overall, Kansas
Gaines Adams, 2007, 4th overall, Clemson
Davin Joseph, 2006, 23rd overall, Oklahoma
Cadillac Williams, 2005, 5th overall, Auburn
Michael Clayton, 2004, 15th overall, LSU
Dewayne White, 2003, 64th overall, Louisville
Marquis Walker, 2002,  86th overall, Michigan

This group has plenty of studs and duds, and the Buccaneers hope to make the most of their pick this year.

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