The main success attributed to the Tony Dungy/Gruden Buccaneers is the ability of the franchise to draft well, not relying on free agency to build a team. Drafting players lets you train them to your teams core belief systems, and provides for generally better team chemistry than a team made up of all free agents. Mind you it can happen (see 1996 Carolina and Jacksonville), but its rare to find a team built with free agents predominantly that succeeds.
The Bucs built with the draft, then augmented those picks with free agents at key spots. This was the blueprint used for the Later Gruden/Morris years, but there was only one problem.; Our drafting stunk up the joint!
Lets go back to 2006…these picks should be the core group of veterans on our team, like Davin Joseph who was picked no.1 that year. Only the top three picks even made the team! The Bucs are getting major production from their 4th round picks these days, like Mike Williams. To only have your top three picks make the team, well thats not good drafting.
There was just a lack of ability to pick talent. Gaines Adams and Arron Sears were one and two the next year, and if anything you could call 2007 the hard luck draft for the Bucs, because we know what happened medically to those two picks. But we also lost 4th rnd Quincy Black to injury, and Tanard Jackson to, well, Pot! The Bucs would take a pick like Aqib Talib 1st, then squander the 2nd pick with WR Dexter Jackson! While Jeremy Zuttah remains the starter from 2008, no one else is left from a draft class that should be entering its prime in a Bucs uniform.
The Raheem Morris years were supposed to change all of that, but Josh Freeman is all that remains from the 2009 draft. Brian Price was a wasted #2 pick, Arrelious Benn is turning out to be another Maurice Stovall, and Cody Grimm is partying it up like its a Prince song out there. Mike Williams (4th) and Erik Lorig (7th) remain big components in the Bucs offense, although Lorig was drafted as a defensive end.
As a result, the Bucs are having to dip into free agency to pick out players like Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks to replace Aaron Sears, Revis to replace Talib and Gholston to replace Piscitelli.
Only time will tell if the Adrian Clayborns, Da'Quan Bowers and such will finally be the stars that Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, and Barber were drafted to be. The Bucs didnt build a team with Simeon Rice and Keyshawn Johnson, they added those players to solidify their rosters. As soon as Bucs current draft picks reach their potential, the team can make less of a splash in March, and more of one in January and February.