Bucs Central

Bucs On The Cusp Opinions SI Scribe Don Banks

Former Bucs beat writer and current Sports Illustrated NFL scribe, Don Banks penned a very enlightening column pondering the recent draft day success of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and teams of yesteryear and there draft day dominance that propelled them to greatness. Banks is of the opinion the Bucs are truly on that ever elusive cusp, of becoming one of those great teams from the 1970’s (Steelers) , 1980’s (49ers), 1990’s (Cowboys) or even a kindled spirit of the current New England Patriots in the 2000’s.

Dominik, a draft historian of sorts, is well aware that some NFL dynasties have been built on the foundation of three great drafts in a row (think 1972-74 Steelers, 1989-91 Cowboys and the Packers of the early Ron Wolf era). He’s determined to keep building on the momentum the Bucs have created for themselves in 2009-2010. For that reason, he sees the 2011 draft being just as crucial as last year’s, because plenty of holes on the Bucs roster remain.

“It’s not too much different for us, because we’re still really young,” said Dominik, himself only 40, but a 16-year veteran of the Bucs organization. “If I could steal (Packers general manager) Ted Thompson’s words, you’ve got to put three or maybe even four draft classes together to really get the team you want to be at this level. I do feel like we’ve got two good draft classes now back to back, and I’m excited about the way we handle the draft. But I want to continue that, obviously because (Josh) Freeman is so young, and there’s a big window here that I hope is just starting to open up.

“When you have the right quarterback, you want to keep that window open as long as possible, like the Patriots and Colts have done. But this draft class is again very pivotal for us because we have some question marks on this roster that still need to be answered, and I feel like this draft has to do that.”

More then anything, there are quite a few similarities between those multi-winning Superbowl teams of yesteryear and the current Bucs. The first and most important is that the Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys and Patriots all had what many fans and pundits felt was an elite quarterback under center in those era’s. With Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and Tom Brady. The second was that for the most part those teams were built largely through the NFL draft.

Now of course we all know its way too early to be comparing Josh Freeman and the last two draft hauls of the Bucs with any of those quarterbacks or franchise. That built lasting contenders. But it does show a concentrated effort by Dominik to thoroughly search the annuals of history to dissect some of the greatest stretches by franchises to see exactly how they were constructed and to see if that success can be replicated in the modern age of football.

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