2007: Drafting Gaines Adams fourth overall
The 2007 Draft was a pretty loaded group, despite starting with a whimper rather than a bang (sorry JaMarcus Russell). The 2006 Buccaneers were a pretty miserable bunch, hence the fourth overall selection. They had a lot of holes to fill, especially with an aging defense. They signed Jeff Garcia in free agency fresh off of a miraculous playoff run with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he would go onto follow that up by doing the same in Tampa which was obviously unknown at draft time.
There were rumors of the Buccaneers potentially trading up to take Calvin Johnson, which of course never materialized, unfortunately. Instead, the Bucs selected Gaines Adams, in an attempt to rebuild a pass rush not seen since Simeon Rice. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
In 37 games in the Pewter, Adams managed only 13.5 sacks and was traded to the Bears halfway through the 2009 season for a second-round draft pick. A top-five draft pick gone after two and a half seasons. His quick exit is one reason he’s on this list with the other being who the Buccaneers passed on. Patrick Willis or Darrell Revis could have revitalized their aging defense, while Marshawn Lynch or Adrian Peterson could have filled a hole in their run game. In fairness, if the Buccaneers were insistent on improving the defensive line, 2007 was a VERY weak year for that.
Adam’s life would tragically be cut short in 2010 from cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart. It’s a wonder what may have been both on and off the field, which unfortunately didn’t work out in Tampa.