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Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Draft will only spoil all the fun

— Drafts have come a long way since that very first one, when Adam was selected first overall. Frankly, I would have traded down for Eve.

But do we even need to have an NFL draft tonight?

Can’t we roll around in rumors another few days?

The breathtaking idea of the Bucs trading up to No. 2 overall to scoop up Johnny Rumor, I mean Johnny Manziel, is probably just smoke. Or is it? Or are the Bucs trying to get the top receiver in the draft, Sammy Watkins?

It’s all out there right now. True, there could be nothing to any of it. Bucs coach Lovie Smith and Bucs GM Jason Licht might be sitting in a room laughing their draft boards off.

All I know is that it’s fun. The deepest NFL draft in recent memory has rumors to match and the Bucs are in the middle of them, right where bad teams usually find themselves.

Now we’re going to spoil it by having the draft.

Drafts hardly ever live up to the hype. But hype always lives up to the hype.

The idea that it could be a Johnny show for the Bucs tonight, or maybe a Sammy show, a great big dare by Lovie & Licht, well, the mere idea of it makes us positively yawn at the prospect of Mike Evans being selected.

The price to jump to No. 2, taking the Rams’ pick, would be insanely high — at least a future No. 1 pick, maybe two of them if the Rams get snotty.

The Bucs jumping for Johnny might not make sense, since the talk is that the Browns are backing off the idea of drafting Manziel. On the other hand, there’s another rumor: Jacksonville might be interested in Manziel at No. 3.

Yes, all this stuff is nonsense unless the Bucs are serious. You don’t mortgage your future in the name of an outside chance at one.

And the Bucs don’t need any more bad draft history. They need more bad first-round moves like we need more Culpepper/Kurland commercials.

The history of this club trading off first-round picks in the name of something is beyond mixed.

2014 marks the 35th anniversary of the Bucs’ 1979 first-round pick, which did not exist because the team had already traded it to the Bears in 1978 to get Wally Chambers. The Bears used the 1979 first-round pick to choose defensive lineman Dan Hampton, who became a Hall of Famer.

This is the 30th anniversary of the Bucs’ first-round pick in 1984, which also did not exist, having been traded in 1983 to get: Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson, who was supposed to replace Doug Williams.

The Bucs traded two No. 1s for Keyshawn Johnson, then two for Keyshawn’s pal Jon Gruden.

Like we said, mixed results.

And there will always be 1982 and the still reigning heavyweight champion of all botched draft picks, signature Buc infamy, when a Bucs worker bee handed in the wrong card in New York and the club selected Sean Farrell, by accident, instead of Booker Reese, forcing(?) the Bucs to trade their 1983 first-round pick, again to Chicago, to gain a second-round pick to secure Reese, who did nothing for the Bucs before moving on to prison and oblivion. The Bears used their pick from the Bucs on receiver Willie Gault, a weapon on Chicago’s 1985 world championship team. Yowza. Now and forever.

By the way, here’s a 25th anniversary shout-out to the Bucs’ first-round pick in 1989, Broderick “Sandman” Thomas, who began the string of Bucs first-rounders who constitute the franchise’s Four Horsemen of the Draft Apocalypse, with Keith McCants (1990), Charles McRae (1991) and Eric Curry (1993).

And it’s the 10th anniversary of Bucs first-round selection Michael Clayton. And the fifth anniversary of Josh Freeman. Oh, yeah.

On the other hand, the Bucs’ first pick, ever, was Lee Roy. Twenty years ago, the Bucs chose quarterback Trent Dilfer, who helped this franchise get back on its feet. Tuesday, the team introduced its newest Ring of Honor member, a fellow named Brooks, who helped form one of the great daily doubles in draft history — 99 and 55, two Hall of Famers, same first round.

What about this time?

The Bucs will soon be on the clock.

There’s a new rumor every 12 seconds.

It’s a shame they have to hold the actual draft.

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