The NFL is in the thick of the draft. Every year almost instantly after the Super Bowl, the league enters draft mode. The initial big draft boards start to come out, and they discuss some of the top prospects of the draft. It is during this time the words generational talent is thrown around some players.
After the Combine in Indianapolis, the big boards start to fixate on a couple guys per team. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers name like Devin White, Nick Bosa, or even Montez Sweat have often been linked to the Bucs. For good reason too. Tampa Bay needs help on defense, and a good amount of it at various positions.
If the Bucs had to choose between those few players, would any of them be worth the 5th overall pick? Or better yet could any of those players that could potentially fall to number 5 be considered a generational talent?
A case could be made to pick any of the prospected top talents at number 5. But if the Bucs decided to pass and trade down to acquire draft capital, would they really be willing to possibly miss out on a once in a lifetime talent?
To answer that question, it would have to be determined how such generational talent is defined. What makes such a special talent, and how do they qualify to be named as such? The fact of the matter is that it’s hard to really define such criteria, and guarantees that they are bonafide stars in the NFL. If the big board experts are honest with themselves they would agree.
Did Scouts Think Rodgers or Brady Were Generational Talents?
Simply put no one really knows if a draft prospect is a generational talent until said player has been put to the test in the pro’s. Future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, for example, fell to 24th overall in 2005 after he was passed by Tampa Bay at number 5 and 22 other teams.
Who did the Bucs select instead? Cadillac Williams. A running back out of Auburn who was ultimately a bust. The Bucs obviously would have been better off with Rodgers services, but obviously had enough faith to stick with Brian Griese and Chris Simms at quarterback. That faith was ultimately misplaced.
Why did Rodgers almost fall out of the first round? It was simply because teams didn’t believe he was a generational talent. One NFL Scout even stated,
“I think [Rodgers] has a good chance of being a bust. Just like every other Tedford-coached quarterback. Thing I struggle with him is he gets sacked a lot. He doesn’t have great ability to change the release of the football. He’s mechanically very rigid.“
After 14 years, the scouting reports from that year couldn’t be anymore wrong.
Another Future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady, was a 6th round pick in the 2000 draft. Coming into that draft absolutely nobody had the words generational talent linked with Brady.
You know who was? DE Courtney Brown out of Penn State. He ended up going first overall to Cleveland, and was supposed to be the building block to help resurrect the franchise. After 6 short seasons his career was over, and did everything but help turn around the Browns organization.
Draft Prospects Are Never Sure Things
Both scenarios are prime examples of how it’s nearly impossible to predict the future of a player based on upon the round he is drafted or what he did leading up to the draft. Could the Bucs miss out on a generational player if they trade down? Sure, but the numbers would prove that the Bucs would be wiser to trade down and acquire more picks in order to give them a better chance of finding that diamond in the rough.