Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One Buc Mailbag: The Blockbuster Deal

Each week during the offseason, Senior Writer/Editor Scott Smith will dip into the inbox to answer questions from Buccaneer fans.

This week, fan-submitted topics include a suggested trade involving the first overall pick in the draft, throwback uniforms and omissions from the Bucs' All Second-Day Team.1. You did up a whole team of Buccaneers who were taken in the second and third rounds of the draft and you didn't include Vincent Jackson! He wa sa second-round pick in 2005…..near the bottom of the round in fact. I know you have to have Mark Carrier in there, but wouldn't you seriously rather have VJack than Kevin House or Courtney Hawkins? I would. Thanks.

  • D.J. Trainor, via email to tbbsocial@buccaneers.nfl.com

I would love to have Vincent Jackson on any all-star team of Buccaneers I'm making, but that wasn't actually an oversight of my part. The article to which you are referring centered around a team of 27 players who were all drafted by the Buccaneersin the second or third rounds. Vincent Jackson was drafted by the Chargers in the second round in 2005, number 61 overall.

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However, upon reviewing the article, I'll concede that this point was not made clearly enough, D.J.

I made this team in order to emphasize the fact that, beyond the much-discussed first-overall pick in the 2015 draft, the Buccaneers own two very key assets at the top of the second and third rounds, as well. That was the reason I connected it to the Buccaneers' history in those two rounds, but I can definitely see why you thought I meant any player who came into the league in the second or third rounds. That would have been a much bigger undertaking for me, as I would have had to remember or research the way that all the players of note in team history came into the NFL. That's probably more than I would want to bite off, but it would have been nice to get VJax onto the team to pair with Mark Carrier in the starting lineup.

Who knows, maybe I would have found some help at the spots that were weakest on that team: quarterback, tackle and D-Line. The only QBs we had to choose from were Shaun King, Chris Simms or Mike Glennon; perhaps we would have gone with Brian Griese instead. Heck, I'd take Michael Johnson from the current team to help with the edge rush.

There are, to be a completist, 13 players on the Buccaneers' current roster who came into the league as either a second or third-round pick, not all of them originally with Tampa Bay. That included one player I did already have on the team in linebacker Lavonte David. Others include Mason Foster, Major Wright and Josh McCown.

The most common entry method among the 73 players on the Buccaneers' current roster is as an undrafted free agent. Those players account for 33 of the 73-man total at the moment, though that category of player generally occupies a smaller (but still significant) portion of the roster when it is pared to 53 for the regular season. Here is a rundown of the NFL entry methods of the Bucs' current roster, broken down by draft round:

Round

Total

Notable Players

1

7

Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy

2

5

Lavonte David, Vincent Jackson

3

8

Michael Johnson, Josh McCown

4

9

Dashon Goldson, Louis Murphy

5

3

Kadeem Edwards, Kevin Pamphile

6

5

Mike James, Brandon Myers

7

2

Garrett Gilkey, Clinton McDonald

UD

33

Danny Lansanah, Jacquies Smith

  1. Going Back to Throwbacks?

Here's a surprising fact I just learned today: NFL teams place their orders for uniforms for the next season in November of the previous season. Names are added to those uniforms in several stages over the course of the offseason; the names of drafted players, for instance, would obviously not be known until after the draft. (By the way, all NFL on-field uniforms are made in the United States, in either Wisconsin or Oregon.)

That means, during the four seasons that the Buccaneers wore orange and white throwback uniforms (2009-12), those togs were all ordered by the previous November and the design approved before that. Why do I bring this up? Well, I imagine that's obvious by now: The orders for 2015 have already been placed, so we should know if there is going to be a 2015 Throwback Game by the content of that order.

The answer, italianbucs, is no. There were no throwback uniforms ordered in November, and thus we know there will be no Throwback Game next fall.

3. Do you think the Bucs should trade the first pick to the Eagles for [REDACTED] and some other picks if it is made available?  It's no secret Chip wants [REDACTED].
- Jay Wickham, via email to tbbsocial@buccaneers.nfl.com

Let me start by apologizing for that double "REDACTED" thing. As for the second one…until the NFL announces its official list of underclassmen who are eligible for the 2015 draft, teams are not supposed to discuss those underclassmen. I'm probably being overly cautious here, but on the other hand I'm sure all of you can easily figure out the player to whom Jay is referring.

As for the first one, it obviously refers to a player currently on the Eagles' roster. You're reading the Buccaneers' web site, which means we have to be very careful about discussing the possibility of acquiring any players that are currently signed to another team, lest we stumble into tampering territory.

So let's just get to the mechanics of Jay's question, which we certainly can discuss. Fortunately, it's a very specific question, even with those names redacted, so we don't have to consider the endlessly branching scenarios of the more open-ended question, "Should the Bucs trade the first overall pick?"

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Take a look back at the Buccaneers' 27-10 victory over the Eagles in the 2002-2003 NFC Championship game.

Specifically,* the Eagles are sitting at pick #20. Just let that sink in for a minute. Jay asks about a potential Philly trade-up offer that includes a player and "some other picks." Well, for a team to move from #20 to #1, it's going to have to back a Brinks truck up to the other team's offices and start tossing out bags of sequential, unmarked draft picks. I mean to say, in terms of pick and player assets, it's going to cost a fortune.

Exhibit A: The Draft Value Chart. I've discussed that at some length in previous mailbags (as did my long-winded predecessor, the Answer Man), and I'm guessing most of you know what I'm talking about. It's that chart originally devised by the Cowboys in the '90s that puts a number value on every position in the draft, thus providing a set of ready-made variables for any GM (or fantasy GMs like us) to plug into a formula to produce a fair trade. Through the years, the chart has been criticized and tweaked for being awfully arbitrary and not very relative to the actual value of specific picks. On the other hand, (a) teams apparently still use it to some degree, and (b) it still works fine as a quick-and-dirty reference to see how much value teams put on high picks.

[

ProFootballTalk2015-01-15-16-38-51.jpg

](http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/draft/draft-trade-chart/)
Here's that original chart
, if you want to check it out real quick. The first overall pick, currently owned by your Buccaneers, is valued at 3,000 units. The 224th and final pick is valued at two points. The 20th pick is a lot closer to #1 than it is to #224, but value wise, it's significantly closer to the last selection. On this chart, pick #20 is given a value of 850. That means you have to make up a value of 2,150 for the deal to be even, according to this chart.

Now, Jay blurs things by throwing a player into the mix; this chart obviously does not account for the value of a player, and there's really no way that it could. But Jay obviously does not think the Buccaneers or any team would trade the #1 overall pick straight up for the player, as he structures his hypothetical offer to include "some other picks."

Since we can only discuss a hypothetical player, we can't get too specific about his value. But how many times have you seen a very high draft pick traded for one of the league's best players? The Buccaneers did it in 2013 with CB Darrelle Revis and the 13th overall pick and that was enormous news because it was such a rare deal. And that was the 13th pick, which has a 1,150-unit value on the draft chart. Usually when a player is involved in a trade for draft picks, he's a part of the deal but not the biggest part.

For example, in 1998 the San Diego Chargers were sitting at #3 overall but wanted to get to #2 in order to get a shot at either Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf. To swap one spot with the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego sent over that #3 overall along with another first-round pick, a second-round pick and a very good return man in Eric Metcalf. That was the cost for Ryan Leaf, which in retrospect has to hurt even more.

In 2009, the Jets made a bigger move, from #17 up to #5, in order to get QB Mark Sanchez. That one cost them that #17 selection, their second-round pick that year and three players: DE Kenyon Coleman, S Abram Elam and QB Brett Ratliff.

So I think it's fair to say that any proposal from a team trying to move up from #20 to #1, even if it begins with a player, is going to cost a ton in additional draft picks. Look at the last time a team traded up in order to get a highly-coveted prospect: Washington's Robert Griffin III deal in 2012. To move from #6 up to #2, Washington sent that #6 pick to the St. Louis Rams along with its second-round pick that year and its first-round picks in 2013 and 2014. That's an enormous haul, and it's a deal that has since drawn a huge amount of criticism.

Similarly, another massive jump up in the first round in recent years has received its fair share of second guessing despite the fact that the player chosen by the trading-up team is a bona fide NFL star. The trade in question was the Atlanta Falcons incredibly bold move up from #27 to #6 in the 2011 draft, a nearly unprecedented jump. To do it, Atlanta had to send Cleveland that #27 pick plus its second and fourth-round picks that year and its first and second-round picks in 2012. The Falcons have since stood by that deal and you can't blame them, as Jones is one of the NFL's best receivers, the passing attack has been extremely good for the last four years and the Falcons had great success in 2012 and 2013. As that very well-reasoned link above explains, however, the loss of all those picks made it harder for the Falcons to build depth, and that seemed to be a significant issue when a bunch of players – including Jones – became injured in 2013.

Obviously, I'm going on and on and on (who was that I accused of being long-winded) about one part of Jay's question. That would be the "…if it is made available" part. My thought is that it is VERY unlikely that such an offer would become available just because it would have to be such an enormous offer. Surely most teams are reluctant to part with the types of reaching-into-the-future draft hauls like the one Washington shipped to St. Louis, and some are probably even more reluctant after seeing how some of those deals have worked out. The fact of the matter is that there is no sure thing in the draft, even at pick #1, so any team making a deal like that is going to know it's gambling a pick part of its future on a player that may or may not prove worth it.

Do I think the Buccaneers would listen to some enormous offer for the #1 pick? They'd almost have to, wouldn't they? I don't know what Jason Licht and Lovie Smith are thinking – proper draft strategy requires that team officials keep their plans to themselves as long as possible – so realize that this is just my opinion, but I'm guessing the team is very excited about the player it can choose at the #1 overall pick.

So, even without directly discussing the two individuals redacted from Jay's question, I would have to say that I think such a scenario is very unlikely.

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Fans can submit questions for upcoming mailbags via Twitter to @ScottSBucs (#BucsMailbag), through a message on the Buccaneers Official Facebook Page or via email at *tbbsocial@buccaneers.nfl.com.  The One Buc Mailbag runs every Thursday and is not necessarily meant to reflect the opinions of the team's management or coaching staff.

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