The goal of a successful NFL franchise is to pick at the end of each round, not at the beginning. The draft, created in 1936, slots each team in the reverse order of where they finished the previous season. Picking early in April means the season ended early in January. But used properly, the draft can be a vital rebuilding tool for an NFL team.
With defensive talents like Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Devin White and Quinnen Williams, a team could be thinking long term with a defensive goal in mind. An offensive talent like Kyler Murray dictates who is there when Tampa Bay picks a little after 9pm on Thursday, April 25th. There is also Montez Sweat, who just blew up the combine earlier this month, and Greedy Williams, who had a pretty impressive performance at LSU’s pro day on Friday.
The argument that there is going to be great talent available at the #5 pick hardly seems necessary. There will be picks who can really provide quality performance from day one this upcoming season.
I completely understand the argument that you can build a strong team by trading back and stockpiling draft picks. There is also the argument that locking a talented rookie up to a five-year contract gives a team strength in the short term. Being at the top of the draft doesn’t guarantee success at the next level—it just increases the likelihood. Mamma always said the closer to the top, the sweeter the cream.
Buccaneers fans don’t want the shiniest new toys every April. In a perfect world, Bucs fans have no reason to pay any attention to the top of the class. The goal is to use the 5th pick in 2019 to own the 32nd pick in 2020.