See how Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Don Banks predicts Round 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Barring a trade of some sort, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make the ninth pick when the NFL conducts the opening round of its 2016 draft on April 28. If they do indeed stay put it will mark the first time in 41 years of drafting that the Buccaneers will execute pick #9.READ: BUCCANEERS MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP, 8.0
That's a spot that in the last two decades has produced such bona fide stars as Fred Taylor, Brian Urlacher, John Henderson, Kevin Williams, Tyron Smith and Luke Kuechly. On the other hand, the much less memorable likes of Tom Knight, Reggie Williams, Keith Rivers and Dee Milliner have also been nabbed at #9 in the same span of time.
Obviously, the Bucs hope to find a player later this month that belongs with that former group, but there are no sure things at any spot in the draft. Tampa Bay has picked #1 overall five times, for instance, and while the first one (Lee Roy Selmon) and the last one (Jameis Winston) bookend the list quite well it also includes Bo Jackson, Vinny Testaverde and Ricky Bell. Jackson famously chose baseball over playing for the franchise's previous ownership; Testaverde had a long and productive NFL career but never became the long-term QB solution the Bucs had sought; and Bell had a fine but brief career cut short by a terminal illness.
A look at the best prospects entering the 2016 NFL Draft, according to Scout Inc.
The Bucs have also picked three times at #12 and come away with a Hall of Fame defensive tackle (Warren Sapp), a star running back (Warrick Dunn) and another D-linemen who never became a star but did play 10 years in the league. As you'll see below, those combined results are far better than what the 12th pick in the NFL draft has produced on average through the years.
The Bucs can't really say the same thing at pick #6, and pick #7 has produced results at both ends of the spectrum. Yet for some reason, overall pick #83 has been a bright spot for Tampa Bay draft managers as has, believe it or not, #217. Let's take a closer look at where the Buccaneers have done well and not so well through their first 40 years of drafting.
To compare players at different positions and in different eras and situations, we're once again going to fall back on the "Approximate Value" metric calculated by Pro Football Reference. You can read how AV is determined here, but the key is that it produces a single numerical value for each season of a player's career, and that it accumulates season by season. Higher numbers are better; Derrick Brooks is the Buccaneers' all-time leader in AV at 194, which is 13th among all NFL players.
What makes this better is that PFR has calculated the average AV one can expect from each spot in the draft from #1 through #224 (seven rounds of 32 picks). Thus we can compare what the Buccaneers have gotten out of each draft slot to the average and determine where they've done particularly well or poorly, at least through pick #224 (the draft was much longer prior to 1993). Below you'll find comparisons at every pick at which the team has drafted at least three times. In some cases, the Bucs' data will be incomplete because the draft picks are still early in their careers, a la Mike Evans, one of those aforementioned #7 picks.Overall Pick Number:1AV Draft Chart Value:73Buccaneer Picks: 5…QB Jameis Winston* (2015), QB Vinny Testaverde (1987), RB Bo Jackson (1986), RB Ricky Bell (1977), DE Lee Roy Selmon (1976)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:391/166*
- Through one season.*
In terms of the quality of players the Bucs have found at the first overall pick, they've actually done fine, with an average AV of 78.3 that is a bit above the AV chart value of 73. The problem, of course, is that too much of that production came with other teams, particularly in the case of Testaverde (142 total, 41 for Bucs). Jackson got all of his 24 AV with other teams and also had his brilliant career cut very short by injury.
On the other hand, we're including Winston in that average and he simply hasn't had time to rack up much career AV yet. A total of 13 in his first season is very good, however, and a harbinger of much more to come, the Bucs believe. Bell had just 25 AV thanks to his early exit, but Selmon had 87, all for the Buccaneers.Overall Pick Number:4AV Draft Chart Value:56Buccaneer Picks: 3…DE Gaines Adams (2007), LB Keith McCants (1990) T Paul Gruber (1988
Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:119/111
Gruber saves this spot from being a total disaster for the Buccaneers. He's responsible for 78 of that 119 AV total, all for Tampa Bay. Even so, the average for the group is 39.7 AV overall and 37 for the Buccaneers, which is significantly below the draft value average.
Adams not only produced poorly enough to get traded to Chicago during his third season but also tragically passed away due to an undetected heart ailment after finishing the 2009 campaign with the Bears. McCants was drafted for his pass-rush potential but never unlocked that in the NFL and finished with just 23 AV, 16 with the Bucs.Overall Pick Number:6AV Draft Chart Value:5
Buccaneer Picks: 3…LB Broderick Thomas (1989), DE Eric Curry (1993), QB Trent Dilfer (1994
Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:129/89
All of this happened within a five-year period, and it mostly didn't work out. That trio produced an average of 43 career AV, which is below average but not drastically so. However, Dilfer got 17 of his 60 AV with other teams and Thomas picked up 22 of his 49 elsewhere.
It's interesting to note that neither Thomas nor Dilfer are considered particularly great picks by the Buccaneers, but the former nearly hit the draft value average for that spot and Dilfer went over while making a Pro Bowl in Tampa and winning a Super Bowl in Baltimore. Curry got all but one of his AV in a Bucs uniform but topped out at 20.READ: WINSTON'S JERSEY HANGING IN PRO FOOTBALL HOFOverall Pick Number:7AV Draft Chart Value:49Buccaneer Picks: 4…WR Mike Evans* (2014), S Mark Barron (2012), T Charles McRae (1991), LB Hugh Green (1981)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:125/88*
- Through two seasons.*
Another below average spot for Tampa Bay, though in this case it's a bit misleading. Evans has a very fine total of 17 AV through just two seasons and should add to that significantly as a Buccaneer. Barron won't be adding any AV to the Bucs' total but might bump up the overall number by a good bit now that he's found his place as a linebacker.
Right now, that's an average of 31.3 overall and 22 as Buccaneers, which is well below the average AV expected from the #7 spot. Green was above average at 70 AV, but only 40 came with the Bucs; McRae was far below at 19, 18 with the Bucs.Overall Pick Number:12AV Draft Chart Value:42Buccaneer Picks: 3…RB Warrick Dunn (1997), DE Regan Upshaw (1996), DT Warren Sapp (1995)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:314/217
Yes, the Bucs made the 12th overall pick in the draft three years in a row – albeit with some major maneuvering in the '95 and '97 drafts – and they absolutely killed it.
Tampa Bay's three #12 picks returned an average AV of 104.7, which is nearly two-and-a-half times the overall average at that spot. Sapp had 152 AV and is in the Hall of Fame. Dunn likely won't make it to Canton but did finish with 122 AV. Even Upshaw nearly got to the average with 40 AV in his career.
Despite the fact that Dunn got just a little over half of his career AV (66) as a Buccaneer, the average just for their Tampa Bay years for these three players is 72.3, still well above NFL average. Sapp got the last 25 of his 152 as an Oakland Raider.Overall Pick Number:17AV Draft Chart Value:38Buccaneer Picks: 3…QB Josh Freeman* (2009), G Sean Farrell (1982), QB Doug Williams (1978)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:153/116*
- Through seven seasons.*
Because both Farrell and Williams completed their strong NFL careers in other cities, the Buccaneers are only average at pick #17…almost exactly so at a rate of 38.7 AV for these three players in Tampa Bay uniforms. Williams won a Super Bowl with Washington and pushed his career AV from 49 to 63 in that second NFL stint, sandwiched around a run in the USFL. Farrell was a good offensive guard for the Buccaneers who really wanted out after five years in Tampa and got his wish when Ray Perkins traded him to Philly in 1987.
Even Freeman racked up 39 AV for the Buccaneers before his time in Tampa came to an abrupt end. He is not currently on an NFL roster but it's still possible he'll resurface and add to his total.Overall Pick Number:30AV Draft Chart Value:30Buccaneer Picks: 4…RB Reggie Cobb (1990), LB Keith Browner (1984), RB Johnny Davis (1978), RB Jimmy DuBose (1976)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:63/44
The Bucs have picked at #30 a lot, but not for a long time, and perhaps that's for the best. Of course #30 was a second-round pick every time Tampa Bay used it; now it's a late first-rounder, and it would nice to be picking in that range again.
Overall, Tampa Bay's #30 draftees averaged just under 16 AV in their NFL careers and exactly 11 as Buccaneers. That first number is only slightly above half of the average, so it's not particularly flattering. The best of the bunch was Cobb, who got to exactly 30 AV in his career, though the last nine were with other teams.Overall Pick Number:34AV Draft Chart Value:29Buccaneer Picks: 6…T Donovan Smith* (2015), WR Jacquez Green (1998), RB Errict Rhett (1994), LB Demetrious DuBose (1993), RB James Wilder (1981), WR Gordon Jones (1979)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:155/141*
- Through seven seasons.*
Tampa Bay has drafted at #34 more often than any other spot in the draft, and not surprisingly the results have been a mixed bag. Wilder was extremely productive through most of his career and, as the franchise's all-time leading rusher, got all 73 of his AV in a Bucs jersey. Green, Rhett and Jones did some good things, with DuBose the only one ranking as a true bust (5 career AV).
That just leaves Smith, who got eight AV in 2015 to get his career started off quite well, manning left tackle for the entire season. Even with him included in the six-player average, the Bucs are pretty close to hitting the overall league average, with a mark of 25.8. Smith will probably get them over the hump in the years to come. As Bucs, those six have an average mark of 23.5, and again that's something Smith can affect very positively moving forward.POLL: WHAT SHOULD THE BUCS DO AT NO. 9?Overall Pick Number:35AV Draft Chart Value:28Buccaneer Picks: 3…DT Brian Price (2010), G Arron Sears (2007), FB Mike AlstottCombined Career AV/AV with Bucs:76/76
Oh, what could have been. Alstott, who was inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor last season, accounts for most of that 76 AV, with 57 of his own. That's nearly double the league average for spot #35. Unfortunately, both Price and Sears looked promising early only to see their careers come off the rails quickly due mostly to off-field issues.
All of the AV from this group came with the Buccaneers, and thanks to Alstott the team is nearly average at the spot, at 25.3 AV per player.Overall Pick Number:51AV Draft Chart Value:24Buccaneer Picks: 3…DE Da'Quan Bowers* (2011), G Cosey Coleman (2000), RB Don Smith (1987)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:52/37*
- Through five seasons.*
Coleman, who started on the Buccaneers' Super Bowl championship team, produced an above-average total of 39 AV, 28 of which came in Tampa. It's a good thing, because Bowers and Smith didn't add much to the overall total for that draft spot. Bowers could still improve his AV of seven, but he's currently an unsigned free agent. Smith was a miss as a second-round pick, with six total AV, including two in two years with the Buccaneers. This group averaged 17.3 AV overall and 12.3 as Bucs, which doesn't compare well with the overall league rate for #51.
Overall Pick Number:57AV Draft Chart Value:22Buccaneer Picks: 3…WR Mark Carrier (1987), CB Fred Acorn (1984), DE Charley Hannah (1977)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:136/70
In each case, the Bucs' #57-overall picks were the first pick of the third round, back in the days of a 28-team league. It's too bad that Acorn was such a miss because otherwise Tampa Bay has done very well at that spot. The three players picked their averaged 45.3 career AV, including 23.3 as Buccaneers.
So, despite the fact that Acorn got to just one career AV, and despite the fact that Carrier and Hannah both produced roughly half of their totals for other teams, Tampa Bay's own mark is still a bit above average. Both Carrier (76 AV) and Hannah (59 AV) were far above the overall league average in their careers. Hannah got his numbers even after switching from defensive line to offensive tackle.Overall Pick Number:60AV Draft Chart Value:22Buccaneer Picks: 3…WR Lamar Thomas (1993), RB Jerry Eckwood (1979), LB Dewey Selmon (1976)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:69/58
The Bucs settle for average at this spot because Thomas did little in Tampa and Eckwood's run of productivity was brief. Selmon proved above average with 37 career AV, including 36 as a Buccaneer, but Thomas got 10 of his 13 elsewhere. Eckwood was right about average at 19 AV, all with Tampa.Overall Pick Number:64AV Draft Chart Value:21Buccaneer Picks: 3…S Sabby Piscitelli (2007), DE Dewayne White (2003), LB Ervin Randle (1985)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:65/37
Again, the Bucs are right around the average for this draft spot. Piscitelli accounted for just 11 career AV, 10 as a Buccaneer, but White (26 and 14) and Randle (28 and 23) were decent pros. Too much of White's production came after he left for the Lions, though, so Tampa Bay doesn't come too close to getting average production from the spot for their own team.READ: JALEN RAMSEY MOCKED TO THE BUCCANEERSOverall Pick Number:83AV Draft Chart Value:18Buccaneer Picks: 4…G Jeremy Zuttah* (2008), DT Robert Goff (1988), S Craig Swoope (1986), DE John Cannon (1982)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:115/82*
- Through eight seasons.*
Swoope didn't do much in the NFL but the Bucs' other three picks at #83 all enjoyed or are still enjoying lengthy NFL careers. Even with Swoope's total of six AV, this foursome has averaged 28.8 AV per player and Zuttah is likely to push that total a little higher before he's done. Despite Goff getting most of his AV with other teams and Zuttah's most recent additions coming with Baltimore, this group has an average of 20.5 as Buccaneers, which is above the average league value for the spot.Overall Pick Number:84AV Draft Chart Value:17Buccaneer Picks: 3…LB Mason Foster* (2011), CB Dwight Smith (2001), LB Jamie Duncan (1998)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:94/60*
- Through five seasons.*
Tampa Bay hasn't found any superstars at #84, but they've consistently found defenders who developed into starters, and that's apparently enough to perform better than expected at that spot.
Smith hit the highest high of the bunch, setting a Super Bowl record with two interception-return touchdowns in the Bucs' run to the championship, and he also has the highest career AV of these three. He played nickel back on that Super Bowl team but then switched to a starting safety spot the next year, where he stayed for four more seasons in New Orleans, Minnesota and Detroit. In all, Smith racked up 39 career AV, 19 of those coming with the Buccaneers. Foster has 26 AV so far, but 23 of those were with the Buccaneers. Duncan got 29 overall, 18 as a Buc.
Thus, the Bucs have a minimum average of 31.3 overall league AV at pick #84, and an average of 20 AV for their own team.Overall Pick Number:86AV Draft Chart Value:17Buccaneer Picks: 3…WR Marquise Walker (2002), QB Craig Erickson (1992), G John Bruhin (1988)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:32/27
Erickson started just 30 games for the Buccaneers but he saves this group from complete oblivion; he also netted the Buccaneers a first-round pick in a 1995 trade to Indianapolis. He would end up starting six more games over three seasons with the Colts and Dolphins, finishing with 22 AV, 17 as a Buccaneer.
Walker never played an NFL game and the Bucs traded him to Arizona after just one year. That's zero AV. Bruhin made 21 starts on the O-Line over four seasons, all in Tampa. The combined results are an average of 10.7 AV overall and 9.0 as a Buccaneer, which is about half as productive as this spot is supposed to be.Overall Pick Number:90AV Draft Chart Value:17Buccaneer Picks: 3…WR Maurice Stovall (2006), LB Nate Webster (2000), CB Anthony Florence (1989)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:27/14
This has just been a bad stretch for the Buccaneers, but it's actually going to get worse. At least at #90 the team found a reserve linebacker who played on the Super Bowl team and a wide receiver who stuck around for five years and had one fairly productive season. Webster accounts for 22 of the overall AV here, but only nine as a Buccaneer. Stovall had all five of his AV in Tampa. Florence never played a game in the NFL.Overall Pick Number:91AV Draft Chart Value:16Buccaneer Picks: 3…T Chris Colmer (2005), FB Rudy Harris (1993), LB Steve Maughan (1976)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:1/1
And this is draft rock bottom for Tampa Bay. They've tried pick #91 three times and only found one player who even participated in a single regular-season game. Colmer and Maughan never made it onto the field and thus had zero AV between them. Harris played 18 games for the Bucs and started two over his two NFL seasons. Obviously, the Bucs are well below the average of 16 AV for this spot.Overall Pick Number:104AV Draft Chart Value:15Buccaneer Picks: 4…TE Luke Stocker* (2011), C Todd Washington (1998), S Eric Austin (1996), WR Horace Copeland (1993)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:33/25*
- Through five seasons.*
The Bucs have found a couple useful players at this spot but nothing to get their AV totals up to league average. Stocker could bump the total up, but as a tight end who mostly is used for his blocking he's not likely to add to his total enough to get the team average up to par.
Copeland's career was just starting to peak when it was essentially cut short by a knee injury. Austin didn't make it but Washington was a useful reserve for five seasons in Tampa before starting for one year in Houston.READ: 5 PROSPECTS TO WATCH IN THE SECOND ROUNDOverall Pick Number:107AV Draft Chart Value:14Buccaneer Picks: 3…G Dan Buenning (2005), P Monte Robbins (1988), RB Michael Gunter (1984)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:10/9
Buenning got most of his 10 AV in his rookie year, when he started every game at left guard and helped Cadillac Williams have a Rookie of the Year campaign. But he played only one more season in Tampa followed by one in Chicago. At least he stuck around long enough for 10 AV; Robbins never made it and Gunter played all of four games.Overall Pick Number:117AV Draft Chart Value:13Buccaneer Picks: 3…DE Kyle Moore (2009), S John Howell (2001), RB Jamie Lawson (1989)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:16/12
The Bucs briefly thought they had a potential starter in Moore, but it didn't pan out and he finished with eight AV, five in Tampa. Howell was a good special teams player who gave the Bucs seven AV and got eight in his whole career. Lawson played 12 games over two NFL seasons without any stats of note, including AV.Overall Pick Number:141AV Draft Chart Value:11Buccaneer Picks: 3…DE Greg Peterson (2007), S Donte Nicholson (2005), RB Derrick Douglas (1990)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:3/3
Not much to discuss here. Peterson, Nicholson and Douglas combined to play 32 NFL games with no starts and no stats to speak of. Clearly, this spot has not returned good value for the Buccaneers.Overall Pick Number:143AV Draft Chart Value:11Buccaneer Picks: 3…G Kadeem Edwards (2014), CB Clifton Abraham (1995), RB Steve Bartalo (1987)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:0/0
At least spot #141 produced a few points of AV. Not so two picks later, where Edwards has yet to play in a regular season game and the other two got into nine contests apiece. No AV to speak of from this bunch.Overall Pick Number:158AV Draft Chart Value:9Buccaneer Picks: 3…T Ken Kaplan (1983), WR Andre Tyler (1982), S Curtis Jordan (1976)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:52/23
Finally, some good news. All three of these players made it in the league and got at least one point of AV (exactly one for Tyler), and Jordan makes this an above-average group. He started 90 games for the Bucs and Redskins, including 33 in Tampa, and piled up 46 AV all on his own. Kaplan got five, three as a Buc. That's an average of 17.3 for their careers, or nearly twice the league average. As Bucs, they got an average of 7.7, which is close to average.Overall Pick Number:169AV Draft Chart Value:9Buccaneer Picks: 3…CB Al Harris (1997), DT Curt Jarvis (1987), TE Jay Carroll (1984)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:81/15
If you want to give the Bucs' 1997 talent evaluators credit for what these players did in the NFL as a whole, then this has been a good spot for Tampa Bay. Al Harris spent one year on IR in Tampa and then didn't make the 1998 squad, which he used as fuel to mount a very good 15-year career, most of it in Philly and Green Bay. He got 66 AV, though obviously none with the Buccaneers. Jarvis did do his damage in Tampa, with 15 career AV, and that makes him well above average for pick #169.Overall Pick Number:174AV Draft Chart Value: 8Buccaneer Picks: 3…S Keith Tandy* (2012), FB Jameel Cook (2001), LB Calvin Tiggle (1991)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:13/11*
- Through four seasons.*
The Bucs don't hit the pick average here, at 4.3 overall and 3.7 as Bucs, but Tandy could change that in the years to come. Both Cook (4 AV, 2 as a Buc) and Tiggle (3 and 3) did a little bit but not enough to drive this pick over the average.Overall Pick Number:184AV Draft Chart Value: 8Buccaneer Picks: 3…WR Kaelin Clay* (2015), S Shevin Smith (1998), S Ken Swilling (1992)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:0/0*
- Through one season.*
Maybe Clay will still get a shot as a return man somewhere in the NFL, but for the time being this pick is a blank for the Bucs. In truth, the majority of picks at this spot probably work out this way, but the occasional hits drive the overall league average up. Tom Brady probably has more AV at pick #160 than most of the other players ever taken at that spot.Overall Pick Number:185AV Draft Chart Value: 8Buccaneer Picks: 3…WR Robert Herron (2014), RB Weldon Ledbetter (1983), S Tom Morris (1982)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:2/2
Those two points of AV are courtesy of Morris, who managed to play 20 games over two seasons in Tampa.READ: WINSTON WANTS JALEN RAMSEY IN TAMPA BAYOverall Pick Number:200AV Draft Chart Value: 7Buccaneer Picks: 3…C Jim Pyne (1994), FB Anthony McDowell (1992), G Carl Bax (1989)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:41/25
Not only are the Buccaneers well above average at this nice round pick, but they've gotten production out of all three players picked here, which is impressive. Overall, these players averaged 13.7 AV in their NFL careers, with 8.3 as Buccaneers, both numbers exceeding the expected value from this spot.
Pyne is the driving force here, with 31 AV and 15 as a Buccaneer, but McDowell and Bax returned five each, all for Tampa Bay.Overall Pick Number:212AV Draft Chart Value: 6Buccaneer Picks: 5…RB Michael Smith (2012), DE Chance McCarty (1998), G Steve Ingram (1995), LB John Samuelson (1983), LB Kelvin Atkins (1982)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:1/0
Well, Tampa Bay has had lots of practice at #212, at least. Most of these picks are going to miss, but the overall league AV average of six indicates that there is an occasional hit. The Bucs have had five tries, though, and have picked players who combined for 22 regular-season games. Atkins got that lone bit of AV, but it was during his one season with Chicago, not the Bucs.Overall Pick Number:217AV Draft Chart Value: 5Buccaneer Picks: 3…LB Dekoda Watson (2010), CB E.J. Biggers* (2009), DT Gene Sanders (1979)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:49/42*
- Through seven seasons.*
And this is why we're completing this out to the final pick. For some unfathomable reason, the Buccaneers have been wildly successful at pick #217. Now, one might not look at names like Dekoda Watson and E.J. Biggers and think "home run," but both have enjoyed decently long and productive NFL careers. Decades ago, Sanders got drafted very late, switched to the offensive line and stuck in the league for seven years and 40 starts.
All of that represents tremendous value from a pick as late as 217. Those three players averaged 16.3 AV overall and 14.0 as Buccaneers, roughly three times the average league value from that spot. We gave Biggers the continuation asterisk because he signed with the Patriots last week, but it's also possible that Watson could play again in the league.Overall Pick Number:223AV Draft Chart Value: 5Buccaneer Picks: 3…S Than Merrill (2001), P Tommy Barnhardt (1986), WR Willie Taylor (1978)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:29/4
If you hit one out of three picks at the end of the seventh round, you're doing well. The Bucs have done that with Barnhardt, though the long-time NFL punter actually played nine seasons for three other teams before suiting up with the Bucs in 1996. Sure, most of his AV was racked up elsewhere, but he still gives the team an average of 9.7 at that spot through the years.READ: OFFSEASON WORKOUT DATES FOR ALL 32 NFL TEAMSOverall Pick Number:224AV Draft Chart Value: 5Buccaneer Picks: 4…P/K Daron Alcorn (1993), DE Terry Cook (1990), RB Joe Armentrout (1987), LB Byron Hemingway (1977)Combined Career AV/AV with Bucs:0/0
Move along. Nothing to see here.