The past few weeks, the talk of tanking and how it’s manipulated by bottom tier teams has heated up drastically with the realization that a few (not all) very important draft picks since 2010 were sham jobs. The most sighted picks on the subject, that are consistently being mentioned besides the Jets demolition of their roster BEFORE the season has even started, are 2014’s Jameis Winston pick by the Bucs and 2017’s top pick, Myles Garrett by the Browns. Let me explain before we discuss a lottery.
The reason the Bucs are so heavily included in this discussion was how they acquired the #1 pick for the 2014 draft just 3 seasons ago. I’ve written about this before but I’ll refresh your memory. Last game of the 2014 season with good Ol’ Josh McCown and his wavy blonde hair at QB at the Pirate Ship with a very surprising 20-7 halftime lead, for the then 2-13 Bucs, over our archnemesis New Orleans Saints.
It was never intended to be a tank job season under the highly respected Lovie Smith, but the decision that was made to pull the majority of starters for the 2nd half of that winnable game against a rival cemented the top pick for the Bucs over the Titans. The Bucs gave up 16 unanswered to the Saints and boom, tank job complete.
The Bucs acquired Winston and haven’t looked back since. Hindsight is 20/20, but a draft lottery would’ve prevented that kind of incident for green cash paying fans at the stadium. In retrospect though, it is notable to mention that what Bucs fans left at Ray J for that Saints finale actually cheered the loss for even they knew what had just happened.
The Browns are being highly cited for their acquisitions (or non-acquisitions for that matter) to acquire their #1 overall pick last draft. When they lost their K Patrick Murray in mid-September, it looked like an easy pickup for them by signing vet K Robbie Gould to fill the void with a decent, reputable player. Nope. The Browns swung face and picked up Cody Parkey off the streets to kick for them. 5 missed FG’s and 5 ep’s missed to help contribute to a down trodden 1-15 campaign and voila, tank job complete.