Buccaneers: Pointing Fingers – Mark Dominik

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been in quite the quandary over the past few seasons – Ineffective coach, bad team, poor attendance, poor drafts, lack of depth, and as fans we like to point fingers.

Last season, although he threw for over 4000 yards, set the franchise records for TD’s and yards thrown the Buccaneer fan base points their fingers squarely at the QB Josh Freeman. Although Freeman’s number’s weren’t terrible – 4065 yards, 27 TD’s and 17 INT’s he was and has been turned into the scapegoat for the Bucs lack of success.

The Buccaneers Success Rides On Dominik's Shoulders

The Buccaneers Success Rides On Dominik’s Shoulders

One person who is just as important as the coach or any of the players on the field is the architect that put this group together. Since 2009, that person for the Bucs has been Mark Dominik. Dominik has been a career member of the Buccaneers front office, starting as a pro personnel assistant in 1995. He became a pro scout in 1998 and the coordinator of pro personnel in 2000. In 2001 Dominik was promoted to the director of pro personnel where he remained until becoming the team’s general manager prior to the 2009 season.

One of the first big moves under Dominik, the Bucs brought in Raheem Morris as the head coach replacing Jon Gruden who was fired after the 2008 season. Morris, who moved up the ranks with the Buccaneers much like Dominik was fired after three up and down years in which the Bucs went 3-13, 10-6 and then 4-12. After letting go of Morris, the Bucs were rumored to have hired Chip Kelly away from the Oregon Ducks program but the deal fell through. The Bucs then hired Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, who went 7-9 in his only season and the Bucs head coach.

Under Morris, Dominik said numerous times that the Bucs were going to “build through the draft,” spending little to no money in free agency. When the Bucs went 10-6 in 2010, they were the first team since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger to start 10 rookies and win 10 games, but after the team came crashing back to reality in 2011 and the draft pick not panning out, the team decided free agency was the new route.

Did the Bucs have to moves towards the free agency route because the draft picks have been that poor? How have those free agency moves worked out for the Bucs? Unfortunately neither has been very good for the Bucs, and we can point the finger squarely at the Bucs front office, starting with mark Dominik. Dominik has been the only constant in the front office, leading to the quandary that the Bucs face now. Since 2009, 9 of the 36 players the Bucs have drafted are starters for the team and 11 of the 36 aren’t with the Bucs anymore.

In 2009, The Bucs had 6 draft picks:

1st Round

Josh Freeman

3rd Round

Roy Miller

4th Round

Kyle Moore

5th Round

Xavier Fulton

7th Round

E.J. Biggers

7th Round

Sammie Stroughter

Out of the 6, Freeman is the only player still with the Bucs.

  • Josh Freeman has been inconsistent at best, and heading into the final year of his contract he is playing for a new deal. Heading into his 5th year as the starter, the jury shouldn’t still be out, but it is.
  • Roy Miller was solid for the Bucs, but was not resigned after the 2012 season, signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • EJ Biggers was very good as the Nickel corner for the duration of his career, but was not resigned after the 2011 season, following Raheem Morris to Washington.
  • Kyle Moore, Xavier Fulton and Sammie Stroughter are not in any NFL camps for the 2013 season.

In the 2010 draft, the Bucs had 9 picks:

1st Round

Gerald McCoy

2nd Round

Brian Price

2nd Round

Arrelious Benn

3rd Round

Myron Lewis

4th Round

Mike Williams

6th Round

Brent Bowden

7th Round

Cody Grimm

7th Round

Dekoda Watson

7th Round

Erik Lorig

 

Out of these nine picks, 5 are with the teams and two are starters.

  • Gerald McCoy made the Pro Bowl, but has battled health issues throughout the first three seasons of his career.
  • Mike Williams is one of the best picks under Dominik, making 193 catches for 2731 yards and 23 TD’s over his 3 year span with the Bucs.
  • Cody Grimm has also battled injuries, tearing an ACL and breaking his leg ending two seasons early and is fighting for a roster spot this season.
  • Dekoda Watson was slated to start at the outside linebacker position but was beat out in camp by free agent Jonathan Casillas.
  • Eric Lorig was drafted as a defensive end but was converted to fullback after Earnest Graham was injured in 2011.
  • Brian Price fought through injuries and off the field issues and was eventually traded to the Bears. Price was signed by the Cowboys but eventually released before the start of the 2013 OTA’s.
  • Arrelious Benn also had multiple injurues and was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the start of the 2013 training camp for a 6th round pick. Benn tore his ACL again and is IR for the Eagles for the 2013 season.
  • Myron Lewis was a bust from day one. He suffered injury after injury and was released the day before training camp in 2013.
  • Brent Bowden never made it out of training camp.

 

In 2011, the Buccaneers had 8 picks

1st Round

Adrian Clayborn

2nd Round

Da’Quan Bowers

3rd Round

Mason Foster

4th Round

Luke Stocker

5th Round

Ahmad Black

6th Round

Allen Bradford

7th Round

Anthony Gaitor

7th Round

Daniel Hardy

 

Out of these 8 picks, 6 are still with the Bucs and two are starters:

  • Adrian Clayborn had a good rookie season in which he totaled 41 tackles and 7 sacks. He showed a lot of promise rushing the passed, displaying a solid bull rush as his best pass rushing maneuver. He missed the majority of the 2012 season after tearing the ACL in his knee. Clayborn has show some of the flash he had in his rookie season, but is still recovering and is sluggish at times so far this preseason. He is slated to start at DE for the Bucs this season.
  • Da’Quan Bowers has dealt with numerous injuries, even before being drafted in the 2nd round by the Bucs. He dropped from the potential overall #1 pick to the Bucs in the 2nd round because of knee issues, then tore his achillies tendon in offseason workouts after signing with the Bucs. Bowers showed enough promise for the Bucs to not resign Michael Bennett, but has already lost the starting job to Daniel Teo-Nesheim after a few preseason games. Bowers is still a big question mark for this team.
  • Mason Foster has developed into a very good middle linebacker after making the switch over from OLB in college. He is a 3-down LB, something the Bucs were in need of heading into the 2011 season.
  • Luke Stocker has been a disappointment. The Bucs moved up to take him in the 4th round, but has yet to remain healthy. He couldn’t beat out an aging Dallas Clark last season, and was beat out for the starting spot by Tom Crabtree this preseason.
  • Ahmad Black has been a serviceable backup and a good special teams player for the Bucs. He hasn’t shown the ability to take over a starting role, and after the Bucs drafted Mark Barron and signed Dashon Goldson, a starting spot isn’t in the near future.
  • Allen Bradford never played for the Bucs. He was cut during training camp and then signed with the Seattle Seahawks, where he was converted from running back to linebacker.
  • Anthony Gaitor is still with the Bucs, but was put on IR after tearing an ACL during the preseason. Gaitor has the ability to play at a high level in the NFL, is he can stay healthy.
  • Daniel Hardy never played for the Bucs. He was signed to the practice squad and released before the 2011 season started.

The Bucs had 7 picks in the 2012 draft, including a pair of first round picks. The first three picks in the draft might be the three best picks of Dominik’s career.

1st Round

Mark Barron

1st Round

Doug Martin

2nd  Round

Lavonte David

5th Round

Najee Goode

6th Round

Keith Tandy

7th Round

Michael Smith

7th Round

Drake Dunsmore

 

  • Mark Barron had a solid rookie season in which he totaled 88 tackles and made one interception. Barron tailed off towards the end of the season, in part due to the difference between a 16 game (plus 4 preseason game) season versus a 12-14 game college season. Barron will be able to play more up in the box with the addition on Dashon Goldson, which is more of his natural position.
  • Doug Martin had a breakout season in his rookie campaign, totaling almost 2000 yards in offense and making the Pro Bowl. If Martin can stay healthy, he will be the feature in the Bucs offense, much like Ray Rice in Baltimore, for many seasons to come.
  • Lavonte David also had a great season last year for the Bucs. He lead the team in tackles with 139 tackles, had two sacks and added one interception. He took over play calling duties from Mason Foster in the first quarter of the season and became one of the leaders on defense. The defense funnels towards David, much like it did with Derrick Brooks and he rarely misses tackles, much like Brooks.
  • Najee Goode was taken in the 5th round, and was primarily a special teams player.
  • Keith Tandy was the 6th round selection and was also primarily used on special teams.
  • Michael Smith was drafted because of his elite speed and was to be used on kickoff returns, but rarely dressed last season and tore an ACL during the preseason this year.
  • Drake Dunsmore was on the practice squad last season and retired after the 2013 draft.

Out of these picks, there are only a handful that have turned out to be “Good” pros. There was a time when the Bucs truly built through the draft – they would draft a player and groom them to be a starter after a year or two as a reserve instead of the trial by fire method that seems to be in effect now.

Because of the lack of success the Bucs have been forced to go out and overspend in free agency on starters and have little to no depth behind them. If Regis Benn works out, the Bucs might not have to go after Vincent Jackson, but Benn was a bust and the Bucs signed Jackson to a $55 million dollar deal. If Myron Lewis is worth anything, the Bucs don’t sign Eric Wright or have to give up a first round pick and spend $16 million a season on Darrelle Revis who is coming off of a knee injury which he is not 100% healed from. The list goes on and on for players the Bucs have drafted and brought in through free agency that have been questionable decisions.

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  • Matt Holden

    Could you possibly be more factually inaccurate in this article? Please stop trying to be a football writer. You can’t even read a depth chart. Go find something you’re more qualified for. At the renaissance festival, there’s a guy who stands in a pot all day and pretends to be a fern. You might be qualified for that, with some training.

    • Dan Sidwell

      Could you help me out with my inaccuracies with an example or two?

      • andre

        We can start with you saying Freeman’s been the starter for 5 years, when it’s only been 3.5 years.

        • Dan Sidwell

          He’s going into his 5th year as the starter.

          • Mike

            This will be is 4th full season as a starter..

          • Dan Sidwell

            Yes. I don’t think anyone counts a half of a season when talking about how long he started. If a player is in the league for 10 years, but he missed a half season with an injury, he wasn’t looked at as a “9 and a half year starter.” He would be looked at as that he started for 10 years.
            Thoughts?

    • Mike

      Matt Holden: Renaissance Festival Expert. . .

      • Mike

        Also the area’s preeminent John Candy look-alike. He’ll come to your Uncle Buck party for 20 bucks and a bag of Cheetos.

        • Jesse Auditore Kirkendall

          Bring that crappy car and power drill while youre at it!

          • Mike

            I feel like I should point out that not everyone looks good with an Evan Longoria mullet. He only get away with because he is bagging a Playmate every night. So unless you have kidnapped Jenny McCarthy, you need to chop that pelt off your head..