years before you can really judge a player Authentic DeSean Jackson Jersey , or a draft class. A better rule is to wait and take the totality of how that player or players performed on their rookie deal(s). But sometimes there are exceptions, such as the moves a team makes, which can tell us how they feel about a player. There’s no time constraint on that. Such is the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2016 Draft class. The Bucs traded down from nine to eleven to select cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III in the first round, then took edge rusher Noah Spence in the second round at 39th overall. Then, infamously, the Bucs used the fourth-round pick they got from trading down in the first round, packaged it with their third-round pick, and moved into the second round to take a kicker, Roberto Aguayo. They followed that by taking cornerback Ryan Smith in the fourth, guard Caleb Benenoch in the fifth, and linebacker Devante Bond and fullback Dan Vitale in the sixth. Just two weeks into this class’ third season there’s enough information to believe this class is a near-total disaster. You can reasonably expect that in general a team will do what’s best for its future. That’s what makes Sunday’s inactive report before the Week 2 game against the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles so disappointing:Setting aside the fact there are five former draft picks on it, the name that really stands out right now is Spence. Spence was a starter last season on what was perhaps the worst defensive line in the NFL, and that was with bona fide All-Pro Gerald McCoy. So as Tampa Bay remade their defensive line around McCoy this off-season, Spence was relegated to a backup. He was also coming off shoulder injuries. The idea was that he could get healthy and the Bucs could work him back slowly. But in the preseason he played with backups that normally get cut, and he logged just four snaps last week in the Bucs’ Week 1 win over the New Orleans Saints. Now he’s inactive. Hargreaves is still technically a starter at nickel; he was recently placed on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury he suffered vs the Saints. But he’s not what Tampa Bay drafted him to be, which was the heir-apparent to Brent Grimes. An athletically limited but so soundly technical, a solid player you could plug and play at cornerback for the next ten years. However, his physical limitations showed up too often, and in the worst ways, as he was regularly torched when he was asked to play outside cornerback against team’s No. 1 and No. 2 receivers, and has been relegated to nickel corner. Now that he’s done, possibly for the season, he will enter the last year of his rookie deal next season coming off an injury. Spence showed tremendous promise and flashed, when healthy; a rare and highly coveted talent who was athletic enough to ‘bend the edge’, but issues with alleged drug abuse in college dropped him in the draft. He was projected as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system but the Bucs liked him as a defensive end in a three-point stance. The problem is he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He recorded 5.5 sacks as a rookie, but a shoulder injury derailed his 2017 season, which was supposed to be his breakout year. He played in just six games Adam Humphries Jersey , and logged one sack. Fans and the team patiently but eagerly awaited this season, which was again supposed to be a breakout year. But instead of fireworks Spence has landed with a soft and disappointing thud, and if this isn’t related to another injury then his release looks all but certain. He looked far from the player he was his rookie year this preseason, and his considerable promise looks like it will go unfulfilled (at least with the Bucs).The Aguayo pick turned the Bucs into the league-laughingstock, and was widely mocked as the worst in NFL history (it wasn’t). But it was certainly a horrible pick the second it was made, regardless of how it turned out. And it turned out a disaster. Aguayo’s unconventional kicking mechanics proved too difficult to sustain with any consistency, and the pressure to live up to his high draft pick compounded his issues. He looked frustrated and broken both physically and mentally, and was cut in just his second training camp with the team. The Bucs have taken their time with Ryan Smith, developing him first at safety and then at cornerback. He got starting opportunities this preseason at outside cornerback due to injuries and depth issues, but the former fourth-rounder looked woefully overmatched, and was repeatedly picked on and burned. He didn’t look like he even belonged on the roster, much less as a starter. But depth and injury issues have allowed him to stay on. Time is running out for him to put it all together. The Bucs have also been patient with Caleb Benenoch, the raw offensive line talent out of UCLA. Benenoch saw limited snaps last season as the Bucs tested him out, and he clearly wasn’t ready. This season, with the release of the injured J.R. Sweezy, Benenoch has gotten his chance. Sort of. He’s been okay, but the Bucs for some reason still have him splitting snaps at right guard with journeyman Evan Smith. Is Benenoch a starter, or isn’t he? Why does the team not trust him to start full time? As for the Bucs’ sixth-round selections in Bond and Vitale, Vitale was cut quickly, and Bond has barely played. He went on injured reserve his rookie year, and in 2017 he played mostly special teams, appearing in fourteen games but logging just twelve tackles. The 2016 draft followed the 2015 one, a cornerstone for this Bucs’ team. They took franchise quarterback Jameis Winston, left tackle Donovan Smith, and guard Ali Marpet all in the first two rounds, and found a gem in linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth. It can’t be understated how badly the Bucs needed to hit on the 2016 class in order to solidify a core of players they could build around for the future. Unfortunately, that looks like it hasn’t happened. While 2015 was about the offensive core Demar Dotson Jersey , 2016 was supposed to be that for the defense. But they didn’t get the No. 1 cornerback they were looking for, or the No. 1 edge rusher capable of double-digit sacks they needed, or the Pro Bowl-caliber reliable kicker for close games they wanted. Now, two years and going on three seasons later, the Bucs are still looking for those players. This is certain to be Grimes’ last season, which will leave Tampa Bay short of two starting-quality outside cornerbacks. They had to trade for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, giving up two potential players with 2018’s third and fourth round picks to do so, and signing a litany of players in free agency. There has been a revolving door at kicker, and the Bucs settled with a lower-tier player in Chandler Catanzaro. The 2016 draft class is a disaster.Hard Count Episode 18-4: Le’Veon Bell, Vita Vea, Colin Kaepernick and Nike The pre-season is in the books, the regular season is about to start and on this coming Sunday - well, Saturday afternoon or evening really - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will storm into New Orleans to take on the Saints!If that wasn’t drama enough, we’ve got some other things happening around the league. So let’s jump right in.OFFSIDES: Le’Veon Bell Not Returning to Steelers ApparentlySuperstar running back Le’Veon Bell has not signed his franchise tag with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has not returned to the team and apparently will not play in Week 1.His entire future is in question, with Bell firmly in the driver’s seat, kind of.This is a sensitive subject. One with three sides. Fans, Franchise and Players.For the fans, they want to see their players on the field. They pay good money to do so, and when they don’t get to see their guys for anything other than an injury it tends to ruffle the collective feathers a bit.Now, some fans are ok with Bell’s holdout. Some are not. Such is life.Bell has maintained that his pursuit of such a large purse for his services isn’t all about him, and is more about his running back brethren. Well, it seems his pursuit of securing better futures for his position-mates is about to impact the futures of his teammates and it isn’t sitting all that well for some of them.I chose this tweet for a very specific reason. As it says in the tweet itself, the comments came from the Steelers’ player representative.There has been much debate over the past few seasons - even further really - about how player contracts, suspensions, treatment, etc are handled within the league. Well Chris Conte Jersey , Foster is the guy chosen to represent the interests and opinions of the Steelers when it comes to discussing matters like this.It’s a leadership position, make no mistake about that. So, for him to come out in anger or disappointment as it might be, is a big deal.Bell’s ‘Robin Hood’ claims always felt a bit shallow. Sure, his receiving a bigger contract sets up future backs, but that’s kind of a residual impact felt across the board by every position. It’s not specific to this one.And if this superstar is going to seriously look out for the interests of a group of peers, it should be his teammates first.It’s hard to balance personal ambitions with teammate responsibilities. Some would argue he has no responsibility to his teammates. I would disagree.His responsibility isn’t to cave on his demands though. It’s to be clear and honest about them. If not to the media and public then to the men who suit up and share in the punishment all NFL players take in the pursuit of football immortality.It would appear he hasn’t done so. The comments coming out of Pittsburgh by his teammates speak to me more as surprised frustration than anything, and if Bell felt like his front office didn’t appreciate him, he’s really feeling unloved now.Photo by Tim Warner/Getty ImagesFALSE START: Vita Vea Not Ready For His Close-UpPro football is a drama. Who will rise and who will fall? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out a tight end throws a touchdown pass to a back-up quarterback to win the Super Bowl despite losing the franchise quarterback and MVP candidate.Well, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no stranger to drama. Last year it was ‘Hard Knocks’, hype-mania, alphabet diets and ‘Chucky’.This year it’s suspensions, emerging young talent and the absence of their first-round draft pick, Vita Vea.James Yarcho and I discussed Vea on Thursday’s episode of the Locked on Bucs Podcast, and in it I addressed the term ‘bust’ being floated around a certain winged social media platform.For me, players who suffer career-ending or altering injuries early on don’t belong in the ‘bust’ pile. Unless the injury was pre-existing and the scouting staff or general manager just didn’t believe the medicine. Even then, it’s a bust on the general manager, not the player.Some aren’t so forgiving. First-round picks should become franchise corner stones immediately, or they suck. *spits in disgust*This thought process is as flawed as it is incorrect. It’s not to say I don’t expect Vea to come back and become a key part of the defensive front strategy. Of course I do. But folks, the man suffered an injury.He’s not lagging behind the playbook, getting busted for drug use and/or possession, beating women, etc, etc, etc. He’s hurt. Normally, this is not a voluntary situation.There’s no measurement a man can make that says: ‘Do this many reps of this exercise and you’ll never suffer this injury.’It would be cool if it did, but it doesn’t work that way. Vea isn’t one regular season game into his rookie year yet. Several players have missed more time than Vea likely will and have gone on to be just fine. Ask Odell Beckham Jr.Will Vea be a bust? He could? But is he before the second week of September in the year he was drafted because he suffered an unfortunate injury? No.Let’s slow down on the bust conversations a bit. At least until he gets to file taxes on his first-round contract first.Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesFREE PLAY: COLIN KAEPERNICK AND NIKEAnd here we go.Name a more polarizing player in the history of the NFL outside of Colin Kaepernick. You can’t.Nike knows this Ryan Smith Jersey , and went all in on his message.There are more wrinkles to this saga than I can even try to accurately iron out in one Bucs Nation posting.But I do have some thoughts, and will share them with those of you who choose to read them here and now.First, racism is very much alive in America. Hell, it’s alive all over the globe. I myself have experienced racism in at least four different languages and on three different continents.I don’t honestly believe racism will ever die. Just last week I was brought back to that reality when I stopped by a local business for some dinner. Let’s just say I was very quickly delivered a message that my presence was not appreciated by the patrons or the staff and owners.Fortunately, it was an experience I hadn’t encountered for quite some time. Unfortunately, it was one which mirrored some other experiences in my life. Simply because my skin tone is a few shades darker than the rest of the people there that evening.No, racism will never die.What can die is the willingness of people to act on such hate. We all have prejudices or make unfair assumptions. My own Wife won’t fly because big metal tubes shouldn’t be able to stay in the air. This hurts nothing but my vehicle lifespan and gas consumption when we go on vacation.It’s not our prejudices alone which harm. It’s the actions we choose to take based on them that deliver the damage. Which brings me to my second thought.Our country was built on standing up for your beliefs. The Bill of Rights is very clearly shaped to ensure our fellow citizens would never be forced into group thought or action, but be free to express their thoughts and beliefs as they see fit as individuals. The key, is not harming others. Violent protests of course are not a part of this. Peaceful protests, are.Whether we agree or disagree with the protest of others, as long as those protests don’t infringe on the rights, property or physical health of another, they are just.Finally, there’s Nike. If there’s one thing which can sour a message, it’s sponsorship. If you have time, watch, “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” by Morgan Spurlock, and you’ll see an example of what I’m talking about.The Sufferage Parade, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech are all examples of successful and impactful protests. None were sponsored.Nike and Kaepernick hid that he was getting paid by them all this time for a marketing plan which would be strategically released at the right time. An advertisement deployment which quite frankly has been dependent on the fact Kaepernick still hasn’t been signed by an NFL franchise.Outside of gifts and parties, we don’t tend to hide things we feel will go over well, now do we?The intended message is a good one. But plastering the word sacrifice onto an ad featuring an NFL quarterback who terminated his own employment and has since had a marketing strategy built around his being - and remaining - unemployed, just doesn’t fit.This fact doesn’t make the racist actions of others justified. It doesn’t make the message any less important. But it does sour the delivery a bit. Bottom line, ‘sacrifice’ was the wrong word here. Sacrifice doesn’t get paid. Sacrifice doesn’t get sponsored. Sacrifice is painful and uncomfortable.I don’t know about you, but a person’s face being plastered on a billboard with a Nike logo is not the image of sacrifice and struggle I’d expect.