Leaving a fresh, hot 10-6 season must have been really tough for Raheem Morris and the rest of Tampa Bay. Knowing what they were about to become would have been much worse.
In the 2011 draft, the Buccaneers tried to fill needs at defensive end, tight end and in the secondary, succeeding only at defensive end.
The draft was by no means a failure; it just wasn't particularly successful.
Here are the grades of every individual player chosen by Tampa Bay.
Adrian Clayborn gets to hold the distinction of being the first player that the Bucs selected in the 2011 draft. The Iowa grad was selected in order to bulk up a weak pass rush, an ever important factor in the increasingly quarterback-dominated NFL.
Within 15 games, Clayborn made his way into the backfield often, recording 7.5 sacks. His tackle numbers are impressive as well, as he got 29 solo tackles. For a rookie, these numbers are astounding.
Still, he was relatively ineffective as a run stopper. The Bucs had the 32nd ranked run defense in the league, giving up well over 100 yards a game.
Looking back, Tampa Bay fans can feel more than pleased with Clayborn.
With their second pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay front office once again went with a defensive end. Obviously they did not think very highly of the previous defensive line.
Bowers's stats barely resembled that of Clayborn. He took down the quarterback just 1.5 times, an incredibly low number for a guy who played near 50 percent of his defense's snaps.
The Clemson man has shown flashes of potential, but it is not known as to whether he has the chops to start at DE next season.
Here we come to the ultimate value pick, Mason Foster. The middle linebacker was selected late in the third round, but that didn't stop him from becoming a defensive monster.
The numbers are simply astounding. Foster chalked up 58 solo tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and an interception. One rarely sees a rookie who can do all of that in such a short time.
The future is looking fine for the Washington alum.
One word to describe Luke Stocker's rookie year?
He caught 12 passes and racked up an average 7.7 yards per reception. Those are some seriously small time numbers.
By no means was Luke Stocker bad, it's just that he was not important. The former Tennessee Volunteer was better than the remaining tight ends left on the board and had no expectations.
Four games. Five tackles. One fumble recovery.
He certainly isn't as good as starter Sean Jones, the team's leading tackler, and he is probably the fourth best safety on the team.
However, for a team lacking in defense, any help in the secondary is much welcome.
Especially when the player came from a local college (Florida).
2.6 yards a carry.
One game played.
Yeah, he's not on the team anymore.
The Buccaneers needed a running back to back up LeGarrette Blount, and Bradford did as close to nothing as humanly possible.
No wonder the Bucs had the third worst rushing offense in the NFL.
Hailing from Florida International University, Anthony Gaitor has made himself into an ever potent, superhuman defensive machine, shrugging off his late round status.
That was a joke.
He has five tackles in eight games.
Can't blame the Bucs for trying.