TAMPA, Fla. — There's only one certainty each year during the NFL Draft, Commissioner Roger Goddell will get booed when he walks out on stage. After that, it seems like anything goes. There is no script for exactly how it will play out. That's why ESPN analyst Booger McFarland said it's the best reality show on television.
"I guarantee you this draft is going to have some moments where we go, 'wow!'" McFarland, the Buccaneers first round pick in 1999, said via video chat. "Like, we know something exciting is going to come." "I think you get the natural reaction. This is true reality TV. If you like that sort of stuff, there’s no better program and no better entertainment than the NFL Draft."
Tampa Bay's offseason had it's share of reality TV moments. Head coach Bruce Arians stepped aside, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was named head coach. Tom Brady decided he wasn't retiring and came back for at least one more season. McFarland said the Bucs should take the same year-by-year approach as Brady when it comes to drafting and building their roster.
"Be in the moment. Be present. Be where you are," McFarland said. "The salary cap’s gonna go up. Let’s deal with next year, next year. Right now, let’s go try to win in 2022. You can’t live now and five years from now. You have to live now and be where you are."
Bucs general manager Jason Licht is entering his ninth season with Tampa Bay. He's the one who is ultimately making the draft picks, but he'll be talking things over with Bowles instead of Arians before he pulls the trigger.
"What’s gonna be your philosophy? Because I need to build a team that’s going to help support how you want to play," McFarland said. "So, you kinda have to talk to your coach and figure out how you want to do things and how you want to play. There’s no doubt [Todd Bowles] and [Jason Licht] have had those conversations way before now."
The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft begins next Thursday. Rounds two and three get underway on Friday, followed by rounds four through seven Saturday. All the action takes place in the heart of the Las Vegas strip.