Last year, when the NFL Draft began on the evening of Thursday, April 26, the Buccaneers were holding picks #5, #36 and #68 in the opening three rounds. By the time Friday night was over however, they had made none of those particular selections, instead choosing at #7, #31 and #58. Obviously, General Manager Mark Dominik spent a lot of time working the team-to-team phone lines in the Bucs’ draft room.
A recent article on NFL.com by analyst Daniel Jeremiah sought to identify the teams that might currently be plotting trades up or down in the first round of this year’s draft, and which players they might be targeting. An entertaining read, it suggests the Dolphins, Vikings and 49ers as the clubs most likely to be looking upward, with some of the most coveted offensive and defensive tackles as their likely targets.
Jeremiah’s choices make sense, as all three of those teams have extra selections to wield, especially San Francisco and its cache of 14 picks. In the end, however, more than three teams (or six, given their necessary partners) will be in on the first-round swap meet, and a majority of the clubs will make at least one move before the seven rounds are over. Last year, exactly half of the 32 first-round picks changed hands at some point (many of them on the night of the draft itself), with 16 teams involved in the maneuverings.
Obviously, the Buccaneers were among those 16 teams, and that was no surprise. Tampa Bay has been one of the league’s most active traders over the last decade, and that has been especially true since Dominik took over as general manager in 2009. In fact, one of Dominik’s first big moves was the trade for former Cleveland tight end Kellen Winslow, who averaged 73 catches over the next three seasons as a Buccaneer. That was officially the NFL’s first trade of the 2009 league year.
Dominik and his crew have been active on draft weekends, as well. In fact, Tampa Bay has executed at least one trade in each of the four drafts since Dominik took over as G.M., with an average of two per year. Here’s a look back at the Bucs’ draft-day trades from 2009-12:
- 2009: Traded a sixth-round pick to Cleveland in order to move up two spots in the first round (19th to 17th) to ensure the selection of QB Josh Freeman.
- 2009: Traded a seventh-round pick to Dallas in order to go up four spots in the fourth round to take DE Kyle Moore.
- 2010: Traded a 5th-round pick to Oakland in order to go up three spots in the second round to take WR Arrelious Benn.
- 2010: Traded a 7th-round pick to Denver in order to obtain a 2011 fifth-round pick.
- 2011: Traded a 2012 4th-round pick to Denver in order to move up 12 spots in the fourth round in 2011 to draft TE Luke Stocker.
- 2012: Acquired a fourth-round pick (#101) from Jacksonville by trading down two spots in the first round (#5 to #7); used the #7 overall pick to take S Mark Barron.
- 2012: Traded second (#36) and fourth-round (#101) picks to Denver to acquire first (#31) and fourth-round (#126) picks in order to select RB Doug Martin.
- 2012: Traded third (#68) and fourth-round (#126) picks to Houston to acquire second (#58) and seventh-round (#233) picks in order to select LB Lavonte David.
Obviously, that wheeling and dealing during the first two days of last year’s draft paid off for the Buccaneers, as they got three targeted players without any net loss in their number of picks. If the careers of Barron, Martin and David continue to develop in the promising manner suggested by their rookie seasons, this could go down as one of the best series of trades in franchise history. For a reminder of some of the best deals the team has ever made, click here.