Pieces and Parts
There have been some great players taken in the last 5-7 years like Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Jameis, L. David, and C. Godwin. Just last year, the additions of Vea, ROJO, and Whitehead should make big impacts this year. Vea is going to be a beast, so get ready. I’ve left some out, but you get the idea. It’s been a lil’ here and a lil’ there in putting together the pieces of a puzzle that will get us where we want to be.
The Good Old Days
Looking back, it started the last time with Lynch and Chidi Ahanotu‘s arrival in ’93. Then in ’96 Alstott, Donnie Abraham, and Jason Odom were added. Dunn, Ronde Barber, and Frank Middleton were the selections made in ’97 that were vital. During those 90’s drafts, though, there was one that stood out above, and far beyond, all of the others and may be the best draft year any team has ever had, or at least close to it for sure. The 1995 NFL Draft belonged to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and will forever go down as the year that two sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famers were selected by one of the worst teams in league history. Those two, Sapp and Brooks. They gave something to the Bucs that they hadn’t had since the Super Bowl run in 79-80, in which the Bucs fell short to the Rams at home in the NFC Title Game (I was there, 14-years old, on the 50-yard line). They, along with the other pieces that were there and were to come, brought the Bucs almost instant respect. No longer could the defense of the Buccaneers be an afterthought, and no two players more than they, were the heart and soul, of such a beautiful thing, that was the Tampa Two.
Is history repeating itself?
Jump to 2012, and L. David. Mike Evans in 2014. Winston, D. Smith, and A. Marpet in 2015. O. J. Howard and Chris Godwin in 2017. Vita Vea, Whitehead and ROJO in 2018. Bringing in Cam Brate in 2014 as an unsigned Free Agent was another great move. I feel Hargreaves will play to his potential, now that the scheme is similar to what he excelled in, in college. I’ll let him earn his way onto the list, though.
Then there is the 2019 class. A class that will go down as a special one. The Draft that, like the one in ’95, will bring the respect back. The Rookies in this draft, In my opinion, are of such talent that they will turn this defense around from an average defense to one that will give us all our ‘Ye Olde Pirate Swagger’ back. It’s tough to have been so good on defense at one time, to have pushed people around and taken the ball sometimes at will, you develop that attitude, that air of superiority, that walk, that swagger. When that strength, that identity on defense goes away, It’s hard to feel good about being a Buccaneer. This Class, along with the rest, are going to give all the fans a reason to walk a certain way and talk a little crap around the water cooler again. They are the class, that will put us in another class. They will be the heart and soul of what we do for many years.
I’m not saying there will be two first ballot HOF players come out of this class, like the one in 95 but in my opinion, we have a decent chance of getting a HOF player on some level from this class. I am also not saying that in Arians’ first year that we will be Dungy’s defense, but we will be improved enough to have respect. But I digress, this is all speculation on my part. I do strongly believe it. I am not laying it out as fact, but in my opinion, it is very probable. The respect will return this year. I can’t wait until the fear returns, and it will, eventually. Players on the wrong side of the ball, are going to get shaken up by this group. Hopefully, sooner than later. Go Bucs!!