Itâ€™s an annual egg hunt amongst all sports fans, the enchantment of a â€˜sleeperâ€™ player. Front offices across the spread had better damn well get their first round picks correct, thatâ€™s a requirement, not an expectation, itâ€™s what personnel directors do in the second day and after the draft and free agency is in the process of roster fillers when they earn their praise and paycheck.
Since taking over as Buccaneersâ€™ general manager Bruce Allen has made a name of himself for finding sleeper players, most notably the ever underrated Chris Hovan. Itâ€™s a given that every off-season Bucsâ€™ fans will make a comment that equates a current project, Ryan Sims for example, as a â€˜Hovanâ€™ like signing. Frankly these signings are overrated, Sims, like Hovan, like Phillip Buchanon, was a first round pick. Players chosen in the first round have tools that stick out, whether the coaching staff can groom those tools, and if the players can mentally adapt to modern day gladiator like abuse is the difference between a bust and a boom.
Shelton Quarles is the textbook example of what great personnel groupings do; find a player who fits your system and fits it well. Quarles was signed after being cut by the Miami Dolphins and spending some time up north in the Canadian Football League, heâ€™d hang around on the Buccaneers until Nate Webster bolted in free agency and the team retooled with Q at mike. He played the spot well alongside Derrick Brooks and numerous strong side linebackers that would come into the system.
In 2005 the Bucs would take a young middle linebacker from Nebraska, Barrett Ruud, NFL genealogy in tact. Quarles would hold the youngster off until 2006 when heâ€™d go down with an assortment of injuries, the rest we know, Quarles has been relieved of his playing duties, and Ruud is the starter at MLB, but thatâ€™s not the point here: the Bucs took a chance on a kid from Vanderbilt and he worked out magnificently for nearly a decade.Read Rest