The Buccaneers made a splash on offense this off-season with the signings of Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Dallas Clark. And in the draft, they selected Boise State running back Doug Martin.
But after Josh Freeman’s extreme dip in play last season at quarterback, will these players become just as irrelevant as any non-Reggie Bush player on the Dolphins?
I see some value in the Bucs, but I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet.
The player being drafted too high on the Bucs is…
Doug Martin. It’s not as though I don’t believe in the running back from Boise State, it’s that his ADP is increasing daily and he’s now being drafted in the fourth round in most leagues. That’s awfully high for a running back that hasn’t played a snap in the NFL, and averaged under 5 yards per carry in the Mountain West Conference last year.
The reason I’m not sold on Martin is history. Yes, from a fantasy perspective, rookie running backs are decently successful. But these rookie backs are more unpredictable than people make them out to be.
Just think about this. The only early round (4th round or higher ADP) rookie running backs that have panned out since 2007 have been Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch. Otherwise, if there’s a rookie that breaks out, he’s usually coming in the late rounds of the draft.
And if you remember, Lynch and AP were both highly regarded out of the draft. Trent Richardson is on their level this year, but Doug Martin? Not nearly as much.
Sure, this is circumstantial, but it also goes to show that predicting rookie success is far more difficult than what ADPs tend to tell us. I’m staying away from Martin because his situation is still iffy, and he’s going before players like Shonn Greene, Beanie Wells or Reggie Bush. There’s still some proven talent in the fourth round.
I don’t think you’ll find a successful late-round quarterback in…
Josh Freeman. I think he can turn things around, but the position is simply too deep in 2012.
I like the players being drafted around him more than I like him this season. Carson Palmer has more of a plus side due to the personnel around him, Matt Schaub has shown that he can be a second-tier thrower, and even Alex Smith seems to have more upside with his new receiving weapons.
Freeman will more than likely be drafted in your league, but I think he should be more of a waiver wire claim. Get someone with a little more upside than someone who has ranked no higher than 7th in his short career.
You could find value with…
Vincent Jackson. I say “could” because I think he’s going – in the middle of round 5 –where he should be going. But there’s definitely a high ceiling for a guy who was nearly a stud in San Diego at times.
If Freeman and Jackson can connect early, they could be a great duo. Watch Jackson during the pre-season and see how he and Freeman mesh. If the things being said out of Tampa Bay are true, Jackson could easily end up as a top 15 wide receiver this year.
The one word to describe the 2012 Buccaneers is…
Unclear. Doug Martin could make or break your draft if you get him due to his uncertainty. Vincent Jackson could continue his high performance at wide receiver. And Josh Freeman, while I don’t see as much upside in him as some other quarterbacks, could still be a late round sleeper.
I’m more than likely staying away from Buccaneers this year, unless a player like Vincent Jackson drops to me in the draft. I can’t blame you if you see upside in a guy like Doug Martin, though.