Under general manager Jason Licht, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have drafted four underclassmen with four of the team’s first round picks since 2014 – WR Mike Evans (2014), QB Jameis Winston (2015), CB Vernon Hargreaves III (2016) and DT Vita Vea (2018).

PewterReport.com has compiled a list of underclassmen (or players that are forgoing a possible redshirt season) that have declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Players have until January 14 to opt for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Tampa Bay finished the season 5-11 and will have the fifth overall pick in the draft.

Click here for PewterReport.com’s 2019 NFL Draft Underclassmen Tracker, which is featured on PewterReport.com’s Red Board and will be constantly updated between now and January 14.

***THE LATEST UPDATE OCCURRED ON 1/11 AT 3:10 PM

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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

10 COMMENTS

  1. To be honest the Jason could have spent a little more time evaluating underclassmen over his career such as:

    Jr RB Devonta Freeman over 5th yr Sr RB Charles Sims in round 3 in 2014
    Jr DE Yannick Ngakoue over Sr Bowl Participant DE Noah Spence in round 2 in 2016
    Jr S Eddie Jackson over Sr LB Kendall Beckwith in round 3 in 2017
    Jr CB Donte Jackson over Sr CB MJ Stewart in round 2 in 2018

    By no means does an early entry mean NFL success (see Jones, Ronald or Aguayo, Roberto) but there’s often a better chance of growth than from a 5th year senior like Charles Sims who was playing on his second team in college football at the RB position in 2014 when Licht tabbed him over positions of need and a better RB from Florida State.

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  2. I do believe Jason is under average in selecting players. We have had higher draft picks so there should be more production than what we have gotten. I don’t dislike Vita Vea but is he going to be an impact player?
    I think your down votes are probably because of the cherry picking of players. Most players drafted either don’t make it or are JAG. I think your proposition that early entry guys work out better is probably a random guess based upon your cherry picking.

    You made two references to Freeman. Atlanta hit on Jake Matthews and Devonta Freeman in the 2014 draft. The rest were JAG or worse. Carolina’s best hit for that year was an offensive guard, Trai Turner (a solid starter). New Orleans had Brandon Cook (now gone) and no one else from that draft. The only guy left on the Patriots roster is James White. We hit on Mike Evans – I would take him over any of the other guys listed.

    That is common- most years you don’t find a lot of top guys.
    Jason’s best year was 2015 with Jameis, D Smith, Marpet, and Kwon. All 4 of those guys look like they will have at least 7 years as starters in this league. If you did that 6 years in a row – 4 starters – you would not have any depth issue. (Even Benenoch is a depth player and will continue to be).

    Going back to FSU Devonata Freeman and early entry guys, please note that Mario Edwards Jr and P.J. Williams were FSU underclassmen from the 2015 draft and neither of them turned into anything more than JAG. Yet both were more highly touted coming out of college and were also drafted higher than Freeman or Eddie Jackson.

    To our point about Licht, He has not been good enough. Better than Dominick – worse than most. He can correct it with future good drafts. New Orleans did it with 2 years in a row of hits in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

    Go Bucs!

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  3. I made NO statement that early entries are better than seniors because I would’ve backed it up with statistics if I did. My point was that the GM has missed on several seniors while passing on more talented underclassman.

    There are good and bad early entries and I selected 4 seniors who were taken ahead of underclassman often at the same exact position. I’m not shooting at random things here. Freeman and Sims played the same position both were available in round 3 and Licht is chose Charles Sims. Take it for what it’s worth.

    Mark Dominik also traded up for Arrelious Benn rather than take a free falling Golden Tate. Would it be cherry picking when that selection was brought up at Dominik’s post draft press conference asking him why he made the move to give up a his 2nd and 5th when Tate was falling and he replied that since Tate fell further he was vindicated in that the NFL didn’t see him as highly as the public did? It’s a Bucs life.

    Mike Evans is Jason Licht’s best selection in the draft. It was his first. If you rate his draft classes Evans by himself makes it his 3rd best class out of 5. Nothing wrong with getting a potential all-time WR, but it doesn’t help to miss on everything else because when you miss on all of your other picks you lose depth and have to fill it with things like massively overpaying mediocre and flag-prone centers from the Ravens.

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  4. I agree with a lot you have to say. Overpaying on Jenkins clearly one of the bad decisions. Plus most of his contract is guaranteed for next year so you have to overpay him again next year. Ugh.

    All teams miss a lot in the draft. One of my favorite things was watching All or Nothing Arizona Cardinals from a few years back. The GM Steve Keim and Arians were together day of the draft and were doing back flips about getting ready to pick up Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska. They almost cried when Detroit picked him two picks before their pick in the 2nd round.

    Then the 3rd round comes and they say we still need a running back and start talking about David Johnson of Northern Iowa. Not excited but that he has speed and might make a good kickoff return guy. What a difference. If only they had gotten Abdullah hey would have never drafted Johnson. There is clearly luck. Watch it on Amazon Prime if you get a chance. I think it is the very 1st episode of that series.

    Either Jason better have some luck soon or he should be moved out.

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    • You’re absolutely right in that there is no such thing as a sure thing. No one can perfectly predict the future. You can draft Cadillac Williams, watch him win ROY then subsequently tear the petellar tendons in both knees and become a marginal back to end his career with Aaron Rodgers who you passed on becomes a first ballot hall of famer and wins a super bowl.

      That said I encourage anyone to check Wikipedia lists of players selected in any given draft. You’ll see those highlighted that go to the Pro Bowl/HOF and you see the vast majority are taken in round 1. Talent has long been seen and understood in the NFL even if it gets messy at the margins.

      To your point, the Arizona Cardinals have the number one overall pick in the draft because they were the worst team in professional football last year. The Abdullah/Johnson selection may have been as much a symptom of their poor personnel evaluations in recent years, coupled with the fact that running backs(and linebackers) are more fungible through the draft compared to QB’s, LT’s and pass rushers.

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  5. I have a feeling Bruce Arians will have a big say on who they draft with the first pick Jason will have some good advice for the first time in a while I’m positive Bruce made it clear he was going to be making a lot of the decisions here or he wouldn’t have came

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    • Believe you are totally right and would hope that the assembly of the “draft board” will be heavily influenced by the coaching staff along with the pending free agent class.

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  6. This is the first time in three years or longer that I have felt that the Bucs are not going to be Ran by A Ship of Fools I’m very positive and have high hopes for what Bruce Arians can do here in Tampa

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  7. I’ve been critical of Licht’s drafts, but with college guys it really can be hit or miss. I’m still not convinced he’s even an average talent evaluator, but I can get that the draft is draft if fraught with peril.

    My bigger concern is how badly he’s done with free agents, signing guys that are collecting big pay checks and spending way too much time at the beach.

    Really hoping BA can mitigate the Glazer’s decision to keep Licht in evaluating and building the roster.

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  8. Funny, I just heard Bruce Arians call Jason Licht “a great evaluator” during an interview with Casey Phillips.

    Arians seems to have a lot of confidence in the overall talent that he is inheriting. He has indicated that he creates his offense and defense around his personnel. He does not start with detailed schemes and then spend a lot of time (over several seasons) searching for all of the players he needs to perfectly fit his schemes. He is going to “retool” not tear down and rebuild like Gruden is doing out there in Oakland

    I, like most fans I suspect, have been getting an intense education about what kind of coach Arians will be for the past week or so. If and when this team and this regime hoists the Lombardi Trophy a very few years from now I am sure Licht will get his share of accolades along with Arians, Winston, etc., etc.. Football in all facets remains a team game.
    ____________
    Go Bucs!!!

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