When it comes to player acquisition, the Bucs have a type. Finding good culture fits is a clear priority for general manager Jason Licht and vice president of player personnel John Spytek. Their 2022 NFL Draft class exemplifies this mindset perfectly.

Speaking with the media on Saturday in his post-draft press conference, Spytek kept coming back to the theme of Tampa Bay’s class having “great kids.”

“I’m a broken record with the ‘great kid’ right now,” Spytek said, under three minutes into his press conference. To that point, he had only talked about three of the team’s draft picks. That only goes to show the level of character that these newcomers have.

So, how do Licht, Spytek and their scouts go about assembling such a high-character draft class? While the on-field traits will always remain important, the Bucs’ approach to scouting goes beyond college production.

“The tape is certainly a big part of it,” Spytek said. “But we’ve kind of fallen in love with the process of understanding the person, too. Each person has their own story.”

Great Stories In 2022 Class Exhibit Hard Work, Passion For Football

When you dig into each rookie’s story, it’s easy to pick out the traits that the Bucs’ brass liked about them. Second-rounder Logan Hall comes from a military family, while fourth-round selection Cade Otton grew up in a family of football coaches. Fifth-round pick Zyon McCollum and sixth-rounder Ko Kieft were both team captains in college.

Second-round pick Luke Goedeke went from Division III walk-on at tight end to a full scholarship at Central Michigan. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he then developed into a Day 2 draft pick. It takes a certain level of passion for the game to persevere through a journey like that.

“He’s all about football,” Licht said. “And when you have smart guys that are as passionate as he is – all of our picks that we had (Friday) are like that – you’ve got a really good chance to hit on a good player.”

Bucs RB Rachaad White

Bucs RB Rachaad White – Photo courtesy of Arizona State

Third-rounder Rachaad White followed a similar path to Goedeke’s, going from Division II to junior college prior to breaking out at Arizona State. The road less traveled isn’t always an easy one, but White is proving that taking it can pay off.

“The adversity that he’s gone through to get there, a lot of people – quite frankly in life – would kind of quit and be like ‘this isn’t for me,’” Spytek said about White’s journey to the NFL. “He just refused to do that.”

During the pre-draft process, it’s clear that both Goedeke and White wowed Licht with their love of the game.

“(White’s) willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever he can. He walked into our building here when we had him on a top 30 visit holding a football,” Licht said. “I said ‘why do you hold that football?’ He said ‘it’s just my comfort level. I just like to have a football with me.’”

When it comes to Goedeke, Licht said the Wisconsin native’s hobbies are limited.

“He’s all football. I think his hobbies are weightlifting,” Licht said. “And it stops there. Maybe driving tractors.”

The process of finding the right culture fits for Tampa Bay isn’t new this year, but it hasn’t always been this way.

Arians’ Arrival Key In Bucs’ Culture Change

The Glazer family with Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Glazer family with Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

When Bruce Arians arrived in Tampa Bay in 2019, he was tasked with turning the Bucs around. That didn’t just mean turning losses to wins on the field – it meant transforming the locker room. He and his coaching staff laid the foundation in year one. By the end of his second season, Tampa Bay was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on its home field.

That’s why it didn’t come as a surprise when Bucs owner/co-chairman Joel Glazer spoke glowingly about Arians’ impact at his retirement press conference in March.

“There is no doubt it was Bruce’s incredible leadership that led us to the top of the mountain,” Glazer said. “Off the field, Bruce created a culture within our organization that had been sorely missing throughout the last several years.”

The shift that the Bucs experienced during Arians’ tenure as head coach is just one part of the legacy that he left. Now, in his front office role and with Todd Bowles as his hand-picked successor, that legacy looks to be carrying forward in the way the Bucs build their roster.

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About the Author: Bailey Adams

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drdneast
drdneast
1 month ago

I loved it when Arians benhed and cut Hargreaves.He he had had enough of his BS and loafing and just said goodbye to the former No. 1 pick. He had run out of patience with his immaturity the same way he did with Winston’s. He had reached the point of rather losing wihout him than winning with him. When it comes to that point with a coach, it’s time to go, whoever you are.

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
1 month ago

The Glazers always wanted to build a sustainable organization structure for players, coaches, scouts, FO personnel and other staff similar to the Steelers franchise. Now, the Buccaneers are very close to that vision and I am intrigued to see what they have learned from the processes and structure that Bruce Arians has brought and what will become pillars of the organization for a long time. Regardless of future coaches and future GMs it feels like a new foundational structure has been laid for the organization due to Bruce Arians and his staffs arrival.

Buc76
Buc76
1 month ago

Wake up. The only reason things changed is because Tom Brady came here. That’s why it all came together. When he leaves if we don’t have a high caliber starting quarterback Bowles will be no different than when he was with the Jets. I like Arians but he got lucky and so did we.

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  Buc76
1 month ago

Agreed. And there is no heir apparent to Brady after two years now the third

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

It’s an insult to the other 52 men on the roster, the front office and coaching staff when “fans” like you, Buc76 and a few others on this board, spew this mindset that, without Brady, the team will quickly turn back into the Yucs at midnight. There’s no doubt that the presence of TB12 helped to elevate the culture, but it’s not the sole reason. The team would have had a lot of success with the arrival of Bruce Arians had Jameis Winston not continually been nearly the sole reason for the team’s failures by his never-ending turnovers. Each one… Read more »

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

Your points are well made. Was TB a big reason why the Bucs went from 7-9 to 11-5 and won the SB? Yes. But the foundation had already been laid for the team to achieve that lofty goal. Brady saw that and it was the main reason he came here. You didn’t see him signing with the Falcons or the Panthers did you? The Bucs also realized it was time to move on from their former immature No. 1 pick. His agent demanding upwards of $25 million to sign him was another sign of his immaturity after throwing 30 INT’s.

SenileSenior
SenileSenior
1 month ago

I recall the story of last year’s “Mr. Irrelevant”. You know the madman on specail teams with the flowing hair. What’s his name again? Oh yeah, Grant Stuard, LB.
There are people who scoff at intangibles and character issues and only focus on raw talent and what they have you done lately that is spectacular. As much as they worship TB as the GOAT they never note his intangilbes which, if measurable, would be “off the charts”.

destinjohnny
destinjohnny
1 month ago

Some truth with B/A flushing out some bad draft picks and shaking things up.
but let’s be real, no TB12 no super bowl and Jason is somewhere else