If the team didn’t land Brady, then would the Bucs garner so much notoriety? I don’t think so.
When GM Licht actually addresses a starting position, then it pays off, usually. In 2015, the Bucs drafted LT Smith and RG Marpet because GM Licht was terrible in personnel for 2014 (technically, it was Lovie Smith who was in charge of the 53-man roster). We had a great run game in 2015. When LG Mankins retired, Licht didn’t address the starting RG position in 2016 because he gambled on Pamphile after he discovered FA Sweezy had back problems before the draft. In 2017, Licht still didn’t address the starting LG position. In 2018, Licht address the starting RG position with late rounder OT Cappa. Cappa was red-shirted because he just wasn’t ready. 2019, we didn’t address the OLine. 2020, we landed RT Wirfs because we moved on from RT Dotson.
PFF is a snapshot of the four years, but it is missing a tremendous amount of information.
3rd Rd WR Godwin: Godwin was sheltered behind Evans and Djax. Also, he had great coaching. Under Koetter, we had a plethora of receivers rising above their draft stations. TE Brate and WR Humphries were undrafted free agent that have flourished.
Unlucky: OJ Howard, LB Beckwith and S Evans due to injuries.
I liked the 2017 class until consistent injuries kept recurring. It was also the year that Koetter transformed the offense from a basic traditional offense to a vertical offense. This was huge! Why? Because Koetter had a feeling that Licht wouldn’t address the OLine. Koetter can mask pass blocking with chipping from an RB, TE, or WR. Koetter couldn’t mask run blocking because you need talent for that.
It’s because of Koetter than made Tampa a very likely place for Brady.
We got a payday here by trading down from 7th to 12th and picking up two second round picks, 53 and 56. Why did we trade down? Because we lost out on LG Quenton Nelson. This is an important fact because we had a gaping hole at starting RG and Nelson would have filled it.
12. DT Vea
38. RB Rojo
53. slot CB MJ Stewart
63. CB Davis
94. OT Cappa
117. S Whitehead
With Rd 1 and Rd 2 players, you expect to get starters. With that criteria for 2018, we failed with RB Rojo and CB Stewart. In fact, we drafted a run only RB for a vertical offense? That doesn’t make sense. We traded down from 56 to 63. We got lucky in landing Davis at 63! I was wondering what we were doing drafting Stewart ahead of Davis because we needed to start grooming an outside CB due to old man Grimes. In 2017, we had slot CB McClain, but Licht wanted to get younger? Our secondary got freaking wrecked! Again, we got freaking lucky to land Davis as we passed him up twice at 53 and 56!
Cappa would end up being a RG for us, but that’s a project OT! Remember, we were all set to draft LG Nelson at 7th overall, but we waited for the bottom of the 3rd round to address a starting RG position?! Cappa was worse than Benenoch and Benenoch was worse than a turnstile.
GM Licht did not address a starting position with 4 picks in the first two rounds. That’s an epic fail as our offense was exposed after the third game. Both Fitz and Winston were seeing ghosts all season long.
Licht cost the team the 2018 season offensively.
Licht gets lucky in the draft as well as relies on injured players dropping.
Beckwith dropped due to injury.
Davis was drafted AFTER Stewart.
Dean was drafted AFTER SMB.
AWJ dropped due to injury.
Can you imagine if Licht didn’t draft AWJ and decided to draft a RB instead in the 2nd round? Welp, that’s what Licht did in 2018 by neglecting to draft a starting RG in the top two rounds. LoL
Yet, this article is only about drafting and doesn’t have connections to the salary cap.
Of their 29 draft selections since 2017, eight land in the 90th percentile of outcomes: Chris Godwin, Jamel Dean, Antoine Winfield Jr., Carlton Davis, Jordan Whitehead, Scotty Miller, Mike Edwards and Tristan Wirfs. That’s more than any other team. And most notably, Miller is the only pick among these who came late in the draft.
Additionally, they had only one notable bust over the same time frame: M.J. Stewart in the second round in 2017. Drafting valuable positions and going on a lucky run in terms of draft success is exactly how Super Bowl teams are built around the quarterback.
This excerpt from PFF reveals we had only one trench player denoted. ONE. We won the Super Bowl because we dominated KC on both sides of the trench! With so many video breakdowns showing the pass rush got to Mahomes so soon that he couldn’t see a route breaking open. Our pass blocking did well enough to buy Brady time, considering that KC had only one true pass rusher. We had Barrett, JPP, Suh, Vea, and Gholston. Barrett, JPP, and Suh are all FA’s. Vea was drafted in 2018 for Mike Smith’s defense (Koetter regime). Gholston was drafted before Licht.
We are hitting on positional values in the last four drafts because the trenches were addressed in other means, including a QB that improves the OLine because of quick reads or gets rid of the ball sooner.
Anyhow, cap crunching time now. Licht loves LT Smith and C Jensen. Smith is owed $14.25 mil next year. Jensen is owed $10 mil next year.
This is how terrible an evaluator Licht is to want to keep both Smith and Jensen. Don’t we want improvements at LT and C? At least replace C Jensen and save $10 mil! That way we can keep a WR Godwin, OLB Barrett, or DT Suh.
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