The last time I checked, there were only a handful of NFL rookies that are worthy of being considered a first-round pick. From the end of the college football season up until draft night, pundits and experts weigh in on all these prospects. In doing so, they all give their analysis on which round each player should fall, or if they’ll go undrafted. There is a science to this, considering a number a factors, playing ability, strength, speed, and even behavior off the field. Experts such as Mel Kiper, Jr. have been doing this for decades, so they usually know what they’re talking about.
NFL teams also do their homework on prospective players coming into the league. I mean, they have to in order to figure out who they should consider drafting. In the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’ve managed to draft a couple of highly touted first-round picks for two straight years. However, there’s a strong belief in the organization that the club has drafted more than one first-round caliber player for two straight years. Per CBS Sports, Bucs GM Jason Licht went on the record to say that they picked up seven players that they got four 1st round players in 2015, and three more this year.
Let’s see here, my math may be wrong, but last I checked, unless there was some wheeling and dealing going on, or there was a punishment of sorts (hello, Patriots), each team gets one pick per each round. Now per the Pewter Report, Tampa Bay drafted seven players that they had graded as a first rounder. For 2015, Jameis Winston, offensive linemen Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith, and linebacker Kwon Alexander were their highly graded prospects; newcomers Vernon Hargreaves III, Noah Spencer, and Roberto Aguayo were the team’s first-round grade picks for this year. This is always opinion based, and I don’t want to call Licht delusional, but comments like his are a bit of a head scratcher.
Now Winston is a no-brainer; after all he was the #1 overall pick last year, making the Bucs more entertaining to watch. Also, Tampa hit the jackpot in landing Kwon Alexander to captain that defense for years to come. But when it comes to the NFL Draft, you never truly know in what round a player is going to be picked up; it really is a roll of the dice. Despite being high on their radar, Alexander wasn’t drafted until the fourth round, and we won’t know how well the rookies this year will be, though the hopes are high. All I’m saying is that even though a team has high regard for whomever they’re watching and analyzing, doesn’t necessarily translate into reality. Give the fans something to look forward to this upcoming season, but add extra expectations with the words you use.
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