Buccaneers Accused of Breaking 2022 NFL Draft Promise by Lewis Cine, Player Agent

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 11, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 05: Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 5, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At this point, to whom didn't the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pledge they'd select in the first round?

While he didn't name the Bucs specifically, former Georgia safety Lewis Cine said on The Richard Sherman Podcast (via Collin Haalboom of BucsGameday) that Tampa Bay told him he would be the team's target in the first round.

"I had a team at [No.] 27," Cine said (around the 24:30 mark). "They know who they are. I ain't gonna say no names. It was at 27. The whole process—if you there—we're gonna pick you...OK. They move down to the first pick of the second round. I'm like, damn, they did me just so dirty."

The Buccaneers had the 27th overall pick but traded back and out of the first round altogether. The Minnesota Vikings selected Cine at No. 32 overall.

Apparently he may not have been the only player who heard similar things from Tampa Bay. Player agent Whitney Holtzman said one of her clients got the same treatment:

Whitney Holtzman @WHoltzman

They did the same thing to me with one of my clients. You are not alone, <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisCine?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LewisCine</a>!! <a href="https://t.co/5nyvWf0vOc">https://t.co/5nyvWf0vOc</a>

Cine told Sherman how he had already been growing a little nervous after watching so many players selected ahead of him:

Richard Sherman @RSherman_25

I was joined by new Vikings safety <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisCine?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LewisCine</a> on this week’s pod. He shares his draft story. Love his game and think he’s going to be a perfect pairing with Harrison Smith in Minnesota. Check out the full podcast, presented by <a href="https://twitter.com/superdraftdfs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@superdraftdfs</a> <a href="https://t.co/kfd6TUeSv1">https://t.co/kfd6TUeSv1</a> <a href="https://t.co/H6YwvGS4m0">pic.twitter.com/H6YwvGS4m0</a>

The Buccaneers used their first pick in the 2022 draft on Houston defensive end Logan Hall. Head coach Todd Bowles said the team was "very excited to get him at 33" and called Hall "one of the guys we targeted at 27."

"We had four or five guys that we liked at 27, and they were pretty even," Bowles said. "When you have guys like that that are pretty even, and somebody wants to come up, you have to be sure that you’re going to come away with one of them. You don’t want to trade back to the 40th pick or the 45th pick and not be able to get anybody."

Especially when a franchise is on the clock in the back half of the first round, casting a wide net is the obvious approach. Unless the team plans on selecting somebody far higher than the general draft projection, a head coach and general manager can't assume their first or second choices will still be there.

But having multiple candidates to consider is a bit different from actually reaching out to a player and offering something in the way of a promise.

The good news for Cine is he didn't fall much further after Tampa Bay traded out of the first round. It's unclear whether Holtzman's client was as fortunate.