Gerald McCoy and the 2010 NFL Draft

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 01: Gerald McCoy #93 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in action against the Carolina Panthers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 17-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will continue to ramp up their preparations for the 2017 NFL Draft, which is April 27. Recent drafts have helped put the Buccaneers in position to make the playoffs in the NFC for the first time since 2007. One draft stands out among the others, and the results reveal why the Buccaneers have taken so long to come back to relevance.

Gerald McCoy And The 2010 NFL Draft

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers missed on all but one of their draft picks. That pick was defensive tackle Gerald McCoy from Oklahoma. McCoy was the third overall selection in the draft and he was one of three players to be drafted out of Oklahoma within the first four picks.

McCoy has been everything the Buccaneers thought he would be. He has started at least 13 games in five of his six seasons in the NFL. In those five seasons, McCoy’s lowest approximate value was six according to Pro Football Reference. He’s had an approximate value of at least 10 in four of the last five seasons. Even when he had a value of eight in 2015, McCoy still had 26 tackles and 8.5 sacks.

For a defensive tackle, McCoy’s strongest asset is his ability to attack the quarterback. He’s had at least five sacks in five consecutive seasons and has 42 career sacks, which is just five fewer than Ndamukong Suh. McCoy’s best season was in 2013 when he started 16 games and had career highs with 9.5 sacks, 35 tackles and 15 assisted tackles and an approximate value of 13. He was a First Team All-Pro and although it was his only time, he’s made the Pro Bowl in five straight seasons.

The Buccaneers missed an opportunity when they sent their second round pick from 2010 to the Oakland Raiders for a 2009 second round pick. That pick was Rob Gronkowski, who the Raiders traded to the New England Patriots for Lamarr Houston. The Buccaneers tried to hit on two wide receivers in that draft in Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams.

Benn was taken in the second round, but in three seasons, produced just 59 catches. After a four-year absence from the NFL, Benn resurfaced in 15 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016.

Williams was a fourth round pick and it seemed like he was really close to becoming a star with three consecutive seasons of at least 60 catches. But after just 22 catches in 2013, Williams went to the Buffalo Bills in 2014 and had just eight catches. He hasn’t been in the league since then.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson, who was a seventh round pick, is still active with the Denver Broncos. Erik Lorig saw five years as a fullback before his career ended in 2014. Brian Price, Myron Lewis and Cody Grimm were three defensive players who never played a game after 2012 and Brent Bowden was a punter who never played at all.

Unfortunately, ’10 was the wrong draft to miss players. The 1983 draft had the star power of John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Jim Kelly, Ken O’Brien, Dan Marino and Darrell Green all in the first round. The draft that took place seven years ago may be the deepest ever.

The Best Players From The 2010 NFL Draft

Rob Gronkowski

Jason Pierre-Paul

Earl Thomas

Antonio Brown

Ndamukong Suh

Geno Atkins

Jimmy Graham

NaVorro Bowman

Dez Bryant

Kam Chancellor

Mike Iupati

Eric Berry

Sean Lee

Demaryius Thomas

Trent Williams

Bryan Bulaga

Maurkice Pouncey

Devin McCourty

Joe Haden

Everson Griffen

Brandon Graham

Golden Tate

Gerald McCoy

Reshad Jones

Linval Joseph

Emmanuel Sanders

Sam Bradford

Ryan Mathews

Russell Okung

Carlos Dunlap

Eric Decker

Other notables: Tim Tebow, Aaron HernandezGreg HardyJoe Hawley

Hawley, who is a currently a center with the Buccaneers, was taken in the fourth round by the Atlanta Falcons.

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