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July 15, 2011 @ 7:49 am
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Bucs 2004 NFL Draft Review

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


Editor-In-Chief E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Here the Bucs’ 2004 draft class is reviewed. Who could the Bucs have taken instead of Michael Clayton? What late-round gems did the Bucs pass over? Find out right here.
Obviously it is foolish to judge a draft immediately afterwards because nobody knows how the players are going to turn out at the NFL level. With that being the case Pewter Report looks back at the 2004 NFL Draft and how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faired.

Tampa Bay was coming off a 2003 season that featured a third place finish in the NFC South with a 7-9 record. They had the 15th overall pick in the first round. The draft was conducted by then general manager Bruce Allen, head coach Jon Gruden and director of college scouting Ruston Webster. The Buccaneers did not have a second-round pick as part of the 2002 trade for Gruden.

First Round
Bucs pick: wide receiver Michael Clayton– 15th overall

Top Players the Bucs Passed On
Denver LB D.J. Williams- 17th overall
New Orleans DE Will Smith- 18th overall
New England DT Vince Wilfork- 21st overall
St. Louis RB Steven Jackson- 24th overall
Carolina CB Chris Gamble- 28th overall

Other Quality Options
Philadelphia T Shawn Andrews- 16th overall
Arizona LB Karlos Dansby- 33rd overall
New York Giants G Chris Snee- 34th overall
Indianapolis S Bob Sanders- 44th overall
Arizona DT Darnell Dockett- 64th overall
Pittsburgh T Max Starks- 75th overall

Analysis: Clayton started out with a fabulous rookie campaign where he was the runner up for NFL’s Rookie of the Year. After surpassing 1,000 yards as a rookie, he looked like he was on his way to a dynamic career. Clayton allowed himself to be distracted with off the field pursuits and ended up having down seasons in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2008, Clayton finished the season on an upswing and he parlayed that into a lucrative five-year contract with Tampa Bay. Clayton was a massive disappointment in 2009 and was cut before the 2010 season. After his rookie season Clayton struggled regularly with dropped passes. He did not have the speed to be an effective receiver. All of the players listed above had much more productive careers than Clayton.

Third Round
Bucs pick: linebacker Marquis Cooper- 79th overall

Top Players the Bucs Passed On
Washington TE Chris Cooley- 81st overall
Atlanta QB Matt Schaub- 90th overall
San Diego LB Shaun Phillips- 98th overall

Other Quality Options
Seattle T Sean Locklear- 84th overall
Carolina T Travelle Wharton- 94th overall
Cleveland QB Luke McCown- 106th overall
New York Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery- 108th overall
Chicago CB Nathan Vasher- 110th overall

Analysis: Cooper never cracked the lineup with the Buccaneers. He hooked on with a few other teams before tragically passing away in 2009. Cooley has been one of the top tight ends in the NFL while Schaub has become a franchise quarterback. Locklear and Wharton have turned into quality linemen. McCown is a quality backup signal caller and Cotchery has been a solid wide receiver. Vasher started out extremely well with the Bears before injuries derailed his career.

Fourth Round
Bucs pick: safety Will Allen- 111th overall

Top Players the Bucs Passed On
Cincinnati T Stacy Andrews- 123rd overall
Kansas City DE Jared Allen- 126th overall

Other Quality Options
St. Louis OLB Brandon Chillar- 130th overall
New York Giants S Gibril Wilson- 136th overall
New York Jets S Erik Coleman- 143rd overall

Analysis: Will Allen was a starter for the Bucs in parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, but lost his starting spot to Tanard Jackson in 2007. In his Bucs career Allen was a quality backup and special teams player. The Bucs liked Jared Allen, but passed on him due to character concerns. Allen has become one of the best defensive ends in the NFL. Chillar, Wilson and Coleman have all been starters that have bounced around from a few teams. Passing on Allen was a massive mistake despite the character concerns from his years in college.

Fifth Round
Bucs pick: guard Jeb Terry- 146th overall

Top Players the Bucs Passed On
San Diego RB Michael Turner- 154th overall
Green Bay DT Corey Williams- 179th overall

Other Quality Options

Analysis: The Bucs could have had a franchise running back in Michael Turner. Turner has gone on to be one of the league’s best running backs. He has been a leader for the Falcons offense in playoff appearances in two of the past three seasons. Williams has been a good defensive tackle for the Packers, Browns and Lions.

Sixth Round
Bucs pick: tight end Nate Lawrie- 181st overall

Top Players the Bucs Passed On

Other Quality Options

Analysis: Lawrie never had a career with the Buccaneers, but the wasted pick did not come back to bite Tampa Bay as none of the players they passed on before they picked again panned out.

Seventh Round
Bucs pick: wide receiver Mark Jones- 206th overall and running back Casey Cramer- 228th overall

Top Players the Bucs Passed On
New York Jets RB Derrick Ward- 235th overall
Jacksonville DE Bobby McCray- 249th overall

Other Quality Options

Analysis: Jones and Cramer never amounted to much for the Buccaneers. Ward turned into a 1,000 yard back with the New York Giants, but was a massive free agent bust for Tampa Bay in 2009. McCray flashed with a 10 sack season in 2006 but has become journeyman. Still, Ward and McCray have had more productive careers than the Bucs’ choices.

Final Results: The Bucs got an immediate impact from this draft class in Clayton, but he flamed out quickly and was a disappointment for the next five years. None of the other Buccaneers draft picks turned into quality NFL starters.  Tampa Bay passed on some franchise quarterbacks, running backs and defensive ends in the middle rounds. It was the first draft under Allen and Gruden and was the beginning of routine draft mistakes that led to them not lasting in Tampa Bay.


Bucs 2008 NFL Draft Review

Bucs 2007 NFL Draft Review

Bucs 2006 NFL Draft Review

Bucs 2005 NFL Draft Review
Last modified on Friday, 15 July 2011 08:14

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  • avatar

    i think we were alll set to take lee evans and the bills took him one spot ahead of us.
  • avatar

    I think some of you are missing the point of this article. PR isn't going back and evaluating how well the team did from 2004-2008 in terms of wins and losses. They're evaluating how well the team did in choosing the players with the picks they had. If you're talking about wins and losses then yeah who cares because we won the Super Bowl. If you're talking about doing your job and choosing good players when you have good players available like Steven Jackson then Allen and Gruden sucked, plain and simple.
  • avatar

    Pinkstob - Caddy was in his second yr after winning rookie of the yr and you blame Gruden for not drafting Steven Jackson? ok what ever.
  • avatar

    Since I typically only read PR early in the morning I seem to always miss the fray. I'm unfamiliar with PWNASAURUS and I'm not sure what a "nut huger is unless he's referring to Rocky the Squirrel or Dr. Phil. JonnyG is more of a cactus or rattle snake huger out there in AZ (ouch). The Bucs under Richie McKay/Dungy had countless draft and free-agent failures too. It's just that the errors were masked by the Sam Wyche selections of Nickerson, Lynch, Sapp and Brooks who drove the team to defensive greatness. The mistakes of Allen/Gruden were magnified by the team's lack of high draft picks, the releasing of McKay's bad choices and the aging of the former stars and the older veterans brought in by McKay/Gruden to boost the offense enough to win a championship. For me, what the organization did to win the Superbowl was well worth every penny and the disappointment of every up and down seasons that followed. My trip to San Diego to witness the victory in person was priceless. I give Gruden all the credit in the world (as do the players) for doing what it took to get the ring; but he's best with a veteran team and not a great talent evaluator or developer of mid-level young prospects. Clayton showed in 2004 and Cadillac in 2005 that they had ability to be stars so the choices weren't mistakes. Who could predict Clayton's inflated opinion of himself and Caddy's injuries?
  • avatar

    @scubog- I agree 100%
  • avatar

    I couldn't agree more with this article. Gruden was a great Coach but his personel decisions along with Allen were horrible. IT seems that ship has been turned around judging by the last three drafts, however this one needs to get in action so we can see what we have. But all said, This organization has turned around in a big way in just three short yrs. You have to be impressed. If the economy ever comes back, The Stadium should be packed with excited fans for yrs to come.
  • avatar

    I wonder how bad Jon gruden is at fantasy football. Because if he drafts like he does in real life, beating him is like picking cherries.
  • avatar

    You can't really argue about whether Gruden was a good X's and O's coach. It is equally hard to argue that he is a great talent evaluator. There are plenty of great coaches out there who were/are not great talent evaluators. But when you have a coach who isn't a great talent evaluator, you need other folks (like a GM) who are very good. That was the real problem. I agree that looking at one draft in isolation doesn't tell us much. Trouble is, this was part of a persistent pattern. You don't need to get 7 starters out of every draft, but you do need to get 2-3 guys who are starting caliber and few who are solid back-ups or developmental guys. Domink has done remarkably well drafting during his tenure. He may not be able to keep it up, but if he can at least hit on a few guys every draft, this team will continue to be good for the foreseeable future.
  • avatar

    I know we're all suffreing from lockout fatigue, but maybe a bit of levity will lighten things up. Now I've been around for a while and I've heard of the activist groups who want to save the rain forest referred to as "tree huggers". But I must admit I am thoroughly unfamiliar with the type of affection that PWNASAURUS is referring to in his post to jongruden. Maybe some you younger people would care to explain! (LOL)
  • avatar

    I've heard of that type of affliction...oops I mean affection, but I'm not a joiner!
  • avatar

    Jongruden is right on this one. Ive been watching NFL networks americas game, and it shows the bucs 2002 super bowl story. Gruden did a lot for the team we love and when watching it, It made me realize even more how special that team really was. Gruden may have had some poor drafts, but he didnt suck. Hes also was not a very patient person, so he was prolly more focused on getting veterans which is why we started to get old really fast. Clayton did have a huge rookie season and we were all jumping for joy. its not grudens fault that he didnt care as much as he should of when he was younger and when he did start to care again, it was too little to late. Caddy also had a great rookie season, but two severe leg injuries got him. although hes come back, he was never the same back again. Gruden AND Allen overall didnt do a very good job of taking the draft as serious as they should of. relying too much on veterans and drafting developmental players instead of game changers. that was their biggest flaw, and drafting for need, and not drafting for value. we are seeing that now with dominik. he will take the best player available and that is why we are seeing our team transform into a potential power house. The change in head coach was needed,I love him to death though, and one day his name will be enshrined in the ring of honor at RJ.
  • avatar

    This draft was the beginning of the decent that we are just now crawling back out of. I have a suttle lingering fear that Mike Williams is Michael Clayton encarnate. At least Williams wasn't a first round pick and we have a franchise quarterback that he can grow with which Clayton never had.
  • avatar

    Screw you Jon Gruden nut hugger. The trading of those picks is No excuse for blowing the picks they had. Almost Evey pick they made is out of the league and never did CRAP. Either Gruden and Co sucked at talent evaluation or sucked at talent development. Either way they SUCKED!!! Deal with it.
  • avatar

    Yes pwnasaurus or whatever the hell your screen name is admire your superbowl poster because we gave up alot to get it.
  • avatar

    All these Bucs Fans on here make me sick and even PR they want to point out the failure of bad drafts when everyone knows that you can do the same thing with just about every team in the league. What people forget is that this organization mortgaged the future of this team to win a super bowl, let me remind you that we traded two #1's for Keyshawn, two #1's and 2 #2's for Gruden just so we could win the superbowl and you know what it worked we have a ring now so stop complaining about the bad drafts this team has had the past 10 yrs. Would you guys want to be the Eagles who have good drafts every yr and no ring? I thought not so everyone shut up and admire your superbowl poster in your game room.
  • avatar

    Always on Gruden's jock. These are the same arguements you had months ago when you messaged me, attempting to verbally crucify me for mentioning that Gruden and Allen ruined our franchise. You wont find a single Bucs fan who would regret the Super Bowl win, but you will find those that wish we could have done so with a long term plan in mind. You don't see the Patriots and Steelers mortgaging their futures for championships, do you? They do it right and build their teams through the draft with the occasional free agent addition. They do it right like we're starting to now that we've touched rock bottom thanks to your boy Jon's decisions after leading us to our first Super Bowl ring.
  • avatar

    Good info PR. Thank you.
  • avatar

    We suck again........! This draft really did set the Bucs back, you would hope to pick up (at least) two long term starters out of a draft, or at least one starter and a a couple of solid back ups.
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