Leading up to this weekend’s draft, many “experts” said that the Buccaneers were vulnerable to a rough draft since they might miss out on some elite prospects they were targeting. Not only were these “experts” wrong, but the Buccaneers drafted as well as any team over the first 2 days.
The Buccaneers entered this year’s draft with one pick in every round except the 4th round. When the Bucs and Mark Dominik moved down from the 5th overall selection to the 7th selection, bypassing Morris Claiborne for Alabama’s Mark Barron and receiving an extra 4th round pick, Bucs fans were furious. Their reaction was not only for passing on a player linked to the Bucs for several weeks, but also the fact that Dominik was only to retrieve one meesly 4th round selection.
That 4th round pick went much further than anyone could have imagined.
Mark Dominik used that 4th round selection to jump back into round 1 to draft Doug Martin as the Buccaneers feature back. In this trade up with the Broncos, the Buccaneers only had to swap positions with the Broncos with that 4th round selection. The Buccaneers jumped in front of the Giants, who were most likely primed to select Doug Martin themselves.
If you thought that 4th round pick could do no more, guess again.
As Round Two and day 2 started, I remembered what Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik told me earlier that day.
“I expect a few positions that we may have a run on early in the 2nd round that will hopefully work in our favor that maybe the right guys can start to fall,” Mark Dominik told me before Friday night. “If we have to go get a guy, then we will go get that guy.”
As the 2nd round started to unfold, we started to see offensive linemen and wide receivers start to fly off the boards. With the Buccaneers having a major need at linebacker, some concern grew when both Mychal Kendricks and Bobby Wagner were drafted, but that’s when Dominik struck again.
As we entered the final portion of round 2, the Buccaneers pulled another trigger on another trade to move up with the Houston Texans and draft the best 4-3 outside linebacker in this draft in Lavonte David. David’s instincts will make him an instant improvement over what the Buccaneers had last year. In this trade up to the Texans 2nd round pick, the Bucs and Mark Dominik of course had to give up their 3rd round selection while also adding that same 4th round selection.
With the Buccaneers having a 5th, 6th, and two 7th round selections to start day 3, this draft could end a very different way than it began for the Buccaneers with the assumption that they simply stole draft picks from teams. The Buccaneers entered this draft with picks in rounds 1,2,3,5,6, and 7, but as of right now, the Buccaneers could end with picks in rounds 1,1,2,5,6,7, and 7.
To move back just two slots in round one and see that drastic of an improvement is simply amazing. Mark Dominik entered this draft “guns blazing,” and has not blinked. I would expect more of the same on day 3.