Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht - Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
The day was only partially about safety Justin Evans, and only partially what you think of him.
The day was only somewhat about receiver Chris Godwin, and only somewhat about what you think of him.
This day, of all days, was about Jason Licht. This day, of all days, was about whether you have any trust in the Bucs’ general manager or not.
Bucs S Justin Evans – Photo by: Brad Marquardt
Did he pick the right safety? We’ll see.
Did he really need another receiver? We’ll see.
Should he have traded up for an injured linebacker? We’ll see.
Let’s face it. Friday was tougher for a Bucs’ fan. Thursday was easy, what with falling stars and new talent. But Evans and Godwin are sure to test your faith.
An uninspiring safety? A marginal receiver? Sure, you’d love to believe, but there are all of these mock drafts out there. It is easy to doubt, is it not?
Oh, it could have been easier. If the point was to impress the national writers, and the mockers, then there was a way to do it. The Bucs could have merely bypassed Evans and taken UConn’s Obi Melifonwu. The mockers would have driven to One Buc to pound Licht on the back. After all, Melifonwu would have represented the second straight player the team had taken after a dramatic fall. A’s all around!
Then there is this: The Bucs liked Evans better. Period. Already, Sports Illustrated gave the Raiders’ pick of Melifonwu (six slots later) an A-; Evans got a B. But the Bucs felt Evans was the better fit.
There is this, too. The third-round selection of Chris Godwin was given a grade of B+. But the selection of Toledo running back Kareem Hunt two slots later earned an A.
Why? I’d say it’s because of the previous perceptions of the two players. You didn’t hear nearly as much about Evans as Melifonwu. Hunt was a sexier pick than Godwin. And the grades reflected it.
Then there was injured linebacker Kendell Beckwith. Was he worth the risk? We’ll see.
That’s where trust comes in with Licht.
Bucs DT Chris Baker, GM Jason Licht, WR DeSean Jackson & HC Dirk Koetter – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
Over his time in Tampa Bay, Licht has had his misses in free agency, but he’s done fairly well in the draft, a trade-up for a kicker notwithstanding. He’s drafted three stars (Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and Kwon Alexander). He’s drafted a near-star in Ali Marpet. He’s drafted a better-than-you-think-he-is tackle in Donovan Smith. He’s got two hopefuls in Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence.
Look, this is the draft. Who knows what you will think of Evans a year from now? Who knows whether Godwin can make the Bucs’ offense even scarier? There are misses in the draft, of course. There always are.
But sometimes, you have believe that the general manager of the team, with all of his scouts and all of his reports, just might be in better shape to make a call than some mock draft guy who is copying the paper of another mock draft guy.
Sometimes, you need to let things play out; you get to criticize later if Evans turns out to be Sabby Piscatelli and if Godwin turns out to be Dexter Jackson – the non-Super Bowl MVP.
Remember that when you scan the team’s draft grades today. The point isn’t to make Mel Kiper and his 4,000 cousins applaud your pick. The purpose is to win games.
In concept, we will all agree that the Bucs needed safety help. The early part of last year, there were too many plays where Tampa Bay played chase. There simply weren’t enough plays until the second half of the season.
Maybe Evans, a big hitter by reputation, will be the guy to fill that. Maybe he won’t be an upgrade over Bradley McDougald.
“You look at yourself,” Evans said. “You always think very highly of yourself. Obviously, I would think I’d be a first-rounder. But first round, second round or further, skip to the third or fourth round. I’m going to have make the same plays than if I went in the first, second, third, four or fifth.”
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Godwin is at least intriguing. He still has to get more precise in his routes, but flanked by Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, he’s got a chance. Again, it gives Dirk Koetter more weapons, and more ways to get to the end zone. Remember all the waiver wire guys who played for Tampa Bay last season? That won’t be the case this year.
In the end, you will remember he didn’t draft a running back on Day 2, and you will grade Evans, and you will grade Godwin and you will grade Beckwith. As you do, you’re passing a final grade onto Licht, too.
His team. His draft. His grades.
How much do you trust your G.M.?
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Uhh…if you did not know who Evans or Godwin are, then are not doing your homework.
I like all the picks so far. Most people who comment on here get their information from Todd Mcshay and he’s an idiot.
The defensive picks were straight up bad.
Situational players with huge flaws. You can tolerate some flaws in 2nd and 3rd round picks but these two defensive players have flaws that don’t translate well into the pro game.
Bucs picks on offense though were home runs as both are NFL caliber prospects. Godwins size/speed along with Howard’s size and speed are both to be excited about.
Excellent article Gary! I agree, trust the guys that are supposed to know. How many experts get all the picks right? How many have you seen put players in articles that are not on your team or not even as valued as the local beat writers are telling you? Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are nice guys and I’m sure they watch plenty of tape, but ever year they get players wrong? Where did they have JaMarkus Russell pegged? How about Kwon Alexander? Did anyone really foresee Dak Prescott becoming what he did last year? I was watching the 2015 draft and the analysts were all excited about Johnny Manziel – how did that work out?
Most of the fans didn’t know about Ali Marpet, few fans knew about Kwon Alexander (even SR admitted it was a head scratcher if I remember correctly).
If the coaching staff and the scouting staff are happy with their picks, then I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Yes, mistakes like picking a kicker in round two (and trading up for him no less!), make giving that trust a bit harder this year … but overall, he’s had a good record in the draft.
I still trust my G.M.
How can you call the LSU LB bad? Dude was an absolute stud till he broke himself. Time to heal and he’s gonna make a hell of a LB wall with Kwon and David. My only issue there is trading up for a part time player (SAM). But still, we only gave up a 6th to slide back into the 3rd, and most 6ths don’t see the field, so Its a wash.
Have to agree offense picks look good. Defense is head scratcher. Could be brilliant. Could be two more wasted picks. Only time will tell. Do I trust Licht? Yea I’d say he’s done pretty good overall. Aguayo was idiotic and hopefully IMO. The defensive picks today seem dumb too but who thehell knows….
Hopefully learned something I meant on Aguayo….
In Licht I trust, there were names I liked more, but this is his job. For me it’s my hobby and love to watch the Bucs. I like the picks, I think the LSU linebacker I think will turn out to be real good. David, Kwon and him I think will work real nice.
Don’t forget Noah Spence in that group.
I totally agree with you, David. I believe Jason Licht has earned the benefit of the doubt with the way he has built the roster over the past few drafts. He’s had misses, but even the almighty New England Patriots have drafted their share of busts. Justin Evans flaws can be coached away; Beckwith’s part-time labeling can be erased with some play on special teams and the ability to spell Kwon in a pinch. He didn’t pick the players I would have, but I am not “plugged in” to the team or process like he is. I definitely trust him.
I think it’s more like having confidence in Licht and the scouting staff, than just trust. I see nothing wrong with the picks; they filled needs for depth and the future potential. The LB will probably be considered a steal after this season is over. I like Justin Evans because of his fire and he seems to make things happen. Godwin was a good pick as he’s much better than Sheppard from last season. We’re always going to have injuries, so maybe one of these picks is going to step up and might have a chance to beat someone out of a starting job? Nothing wrong with competition. Go Bucs!
I am NO scout, but like a lot of you. I watch a ton of college football during the year and after the season is over. Besides Howard falling in to their laps. this draft has been a complete bust. Here’s why Evans is Bradley McDougal Godwin is a solid pick but could have waited for guy’s with similar grades still out there. and the lb pick was just a waste. I’m really starting to doubt the Bucs brass and their decision making.
No player is another player. Every player is himself. Why do fans idiotically insist on saying dumb things like “Player A is really Player B”.
I think fans just like to spout and pretend they are experts, with zero skin in the game.
Licht is going to continue to be judged on his performance in building a winner at the Bucs. So far he has succeeded – first winning season since 2010. Until he fails, people need to stop pretending that just because they watch college football on TV it makes them NFL GM material … guess what dudes, it doesn’t.
EXACTLY! Call it like it most definitely is. Year after year you hear from these message board GM’s complaining over picks they have not seen, interviewed, done background vetting on or even looked beyond what a Todd Mcshay said on ESPN. It’s ASININE!
And when that is pointed out, year after year, you get the defensive argument that they’re tired of hearing it. That calling them out as rank amateurs who have ZERO experience in drafting or rating players is not the point. That THEIR point is that a Jason Licht has NO idea what he is doing.
It might be funny but the same joke every year? It’s just pathetic.
Oh and BTW? NO GM has EVER had a perfect draft! You have to look at their sum total of hits and misses. I’d type the Jason Licht is doing a damn good job by that measure. Yes Gary, I DO trust Jason Licht. Even more than the drunk guy puking his beer after moving up to draft a LB. (hypothetically)
I am not a lawyer, but I spend a lot of time working with lawyers (yeah, pity me!) … one of the more common sayings I hear from lawyers who are confronted with other lawyers who want to get into unproductive asinine arguments over nothing is the following:
“This lawyer just wants to make it a d*ck measuring contest” (i.e., to prove to others that they’re right even if makes no difference to the matter at hand).
Caveat: Sorry, ladies, for referencing a sexist male saying (I suppose maybe the ladies have their own version of this?).
But anyway, that’s what I perceive to be a lot of the silly internet commentary about the draft in general, not just this draft or these specific draft picks made or not made. Every year it’s the same. The chest pounders and the d*ck-measurers come out in droves to proclaim why some GM or some pick they made is the world’s worst abuse of the NFL ever seen. Or why the guy they wanted is obviously superior to the guy taken.
But then we play the games.
And that’s why I actually really hate the draft, and love the games. The bottom line is the W-L record, and whether a team is making progress, is stuck in a rut, or is falling backwards. Everything else is just talk.
I trust Licht, period. In every post I sign off with “in Licht we trust”. He is a very good scout with good life experiences.
He has drafted pretty damn well since has been here. Sure he’ll miss some, but he has hit on more than misses. These are people we are talking about, how many of you posters hire people in your work life? How is your average, what is your turnover rate? How that stay turnout to be superstars or just solid employees?
He has done good work, period. The BUCS are another 1-2 good drafts away from being a complete team, and it’s not going to happen with this draft.
I have my personal options on these players on day 2, and 1 of them I think was a reach. In Licht I trust. Can’t judge a draft until yr 3, so we’ll see.
Maybe Roberto recaptures his collegiate form in 17 & 18, if so I think idiot pick turns into completely justified. No risk it no biscuit
In Licht we trust, go BUCS
Everything ive seen and have read about evans, goodwin, and Beckwith have all been solid. Godwin tore up usc in the rose bowl and is a huge reason y psu is getting back to being solid. The guy can play and he pushes humphries to continue getting better. Evans missed some tackles but he can tackle and just needs to work on being more consistent with it. He can hit and he has speed. His got great ball skills too. And Beckwith. ..you all do realize that we have a certain lb from lsu on our team now that’s a top 5 mlb easily, right? Beckwith is a stud. He will make statements with his hits and can devolp his coverage skills. We gave up peanuts to get him. Had he not been injured he would’ve prolly gone higher. Lsu produces elite talent and no one knows about them bc of how poorly their coaching staff coaches them. I trust licht, and Tampa bay is getting better in this draft, with Howard being the guy. Shelton always writes dumb stupid articles and I have avoided his opinion for years now. This is a great draft again for Tampa. Licht is doing big things. I don’t have to worry about our team. Sure we still have some needs at rb, De, another corner wouldn’t hurt, but forcing the matter doeant do anything other than set your team back. All these guys are tough physical playmaking ball players and those are the guys I want on my team.
But that’s just it, another one or two drafts away. Why do we have to wait some more on the word I hate the most when it comes to players. Potential. I’m trying my hardest to keep the faith but they are not making it any easier after a draft like this.
Oh come on – Give it a break. Last season – first winning record in like forever.
Fans confuse having an opinion on a given player with thinking that that somehow in their universe makes them a better General Manager than the one the Bucs actually have – Jason Licht.
Get a clue, guys. You’re no GM. You’re a fan, an internet commenter, a guy with an opinion, nothing more.
Jason Licht is the GM, and he alone knows far more about the Bucs, the coaches, the schemes, the philosophies of building a better Bucs team than any ten thousand self proclaimed “draft experts” (i.e., guys who get paid to guess and spout off on TV and the internet) put together … let alone any collection of anonymous internet commenters who are all legends in their own minds.
Jason has proved he can build a winner .. because he built a winner. Including picking the coaches and players who coached us and played us into being a winner last season.
First winning season since 2010 last year, and I believe we are going to have a better team this year. I strongly believe we are now well set up, barring catastrophic injuries to key guys, to make the playoffs for the first time since January 2008. Quite plausibly our first playoff win since January 2003.
^5! Thumbs UP. Obviously.
Good points Naples.
But, always a but, we are more the fans. We are the CUSTOMERS of the NFL. We are the people that fork out our dough on tickets gear and every other thing the NFL HITS US WITH.
Advertising their network etc…
So our opinions matter.
But that aside we should be able to b***h if we want to.
Me I think it was the second best draft we ever had.
I don’t, not yet anyway. I’m giving him one more season for the Bucs to make the playoffs.
Or what? You’ll fire him? LOL But I do agree the Buccaneers should make the playoffs this season. Largely because of the players Jason Licht has drafted since arriving in Tampa.
If we don’t make the playoffs after this season I will give up on the idea that we can win the Super Bowl with Licht. Since my standard is set at a team capable of winning the Super Bowl I will start campaigning for Licht to be fired every chance I get. Four years is plenty of time to at least make the playoffs if you know what you’re doing. He even hand picked the HC this time.
I sure don’t want another regime change…………..again! Gee whiz Pink, do you not think this team was much improved last season; especially the 6 dash 2 second half? Don’t you see the defeatist attitude fading? Are you still not sold on Jameis? (This is the year you come down with your ruling) In my view the roster has been much more solidified. Hey, he got rid of those skinny-legged CB’s. What more do you want?
To win the Super Bowl. Nothing else will do. For me the threshold for whether that will ever happen with this GM is making the playoffs this year since this is Year 4 for him. I believe that those that support Licht but won’t give him a deadline to make the playoffs fear waking up the day after that deadline (no matter how far in the future they set the deadline) and realizing they were wrong. They fear that day for the reason you said, no one wants start over with a new regime. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but if it does the first indication will be not making the playoffs after this season. Then it’s up to us and the media to pressure the owners to do something about it and not wait additional years for the team to get more mired in mediocrity.
Stuff happens,including injury. I am pretty convinced we would have made the playoffs last year, with the roster and coaches we had then, if the injury bug had not hit particularly hard on the Bucs last season. There are no guarantees on injuries, and the same bug can hit hard, even worse, this year.
Two teams on the verge of the playoffs last year – Tennessee and Oakland – got squashed by season-ending injuries on their most important players, the quarterbacks. One of them managed to still make the playoffs due to accumulated wins, the other barely missed out (as did our Bucs).
Even solid teams like the Patriots cannot guarantee a Super Bowl ring every year – the most accomplished Super Bowl Winning franchise of all time – the Patriots – still only win a Super Bowl four times out of 16 times with their current regime and current All Pro quarterback.
So setting up hard limits – playoffs or fire everybody – is dumb when the obvious improvement is still there. Football – both within individual games, and accumulated throughout an entire season – is a game of percentages, of probabilities, with factors beyond competence weighing in. The team we have built this year is, in my opinion, however little it is worth, is one that will make the playoffs more often than it doesn’t. But even so, we may not make the playoffs this season anyway.
It’s only dumb if you are just satisfied with improvement. I am not. I will say I am factoring in last season as a positive. Normally I only give a GM 3 years to make the playoffs. I’m giving Licht 4 years due to a new HC and a 9-7 record last year. Injuries or not, I am setting the threshold at 4 years for the Bucs to make the playoffs. Injuries are part of the game, but some players are more susceptible to injuries than others. That has to be part of the evaluation when you bring a player to the team so that goes into my evaluation of Licht as a GM.
I trust Licht to pick players that keep the coaches happy. I trust him to pick players that fit into the grand scheme of things. I trust him to build the roster with longevity and continuity in mind. I trust him to let others around him perform their jobs and if a player was on their board that was too good of a value to pass up, then go and get him.
It’s not Madden.
There are people involved at every level…the scouts, the positional coaches, the coordinators, the head coach, the executives, the capologist, the owners, the players who start, players who lead, players who are like family, veteran players, young players, and bubble players.
Then there are the fans. Armchair GM’s who never take into account the running of an organization. Picking players in a vacuum based on a 10 minute highlight reel.
I trust Licht to pick players that fit.
When he arrived we had very few impact players. Adding Evans and Winston established what the system was to be for the future and thank God they put both players in a system where they could excel rather than shoehorning them into an offense that was better suited for other types of players.
I bet he wish he had that brain fart that led to picking our idiot kicker back, though – big time. Unless whats his name has a phenomenal preseason he won’t be on the team come first real game.
According to your misguided logic, dictated by the reactions from all you armchair draft pundits, all 31 GM’s would have been fired for not selecting Tom Brady.
As per usual, anyone calling players a bust or a whole draft a bust before day three is even over is a complete and utter moron. The end. And btw, just because people are entitled to have an opinion doesnt mean their opinion isnt utter nonsense.
Licht has brought us Mike Evans, Winston, Marpet, and Alexander within 3 years. Sure he’s missed on a few late rounders but other than the Aguayo fiasco he hasn’t had any really big misses. I count 4 hits and 1 miss so I’d say that’s pretty damn good. Jury’s still out on VH3 but he looks like another hit to me.
Truth is, nobody knows how well a player will do in the NFL. There’s a general idea of potential but until the player gets out there and plays a year or 2, there’s no clear answer. Calling it a “bad pick” the day after the draft is just foolish. As is believing you know more about the situation that the crew of scouts and GM who do this for a living.
Armchair GMs criticizing the guy who brought us from 2 wins to playoff contention within 3 years smdh
More like how much do you trust Shelton.
Check me if I’m wrong, but I thought Justin Evans skill set fits more at free safety, not SS. That would mean, to get on the field, he needs to beat out Tandy & Conte, and is not a replacement for McDougald (Wilcox is the McDougald replacement).
Still, I guess he has the size to make a decent SS, and is supposed to be a good hitter. Not sure about shoring up his tackling skills, though. I’ve read NFL coaches complaining about how the CBA (limitations on # of padded practices) leaves them without any real time to devote to basics like tackling, anymore. Coaches say that since 2011, if a defender doesn’t have those skills BEFORE he gets to the NFL, he’s likely not going to develop them.
I don’t think Wilcox, Conte, Tandy, Johnson or Evans are guaranteed anything except a chance to compete. I suspect a couple more Safety prospects will be brought to camp.
Bad defensive picks. Licht listened to some terrible scouts.
Naples, to be honest here I did take classes at sports management worldwide online. So I kinda do have a little more idea about how to evaluate players. Does that make me a Bucs or draft expect, no. But I do know who I like. And I trust what I see in them. Now go head and bash my post. I will state this again, I HOPE I’m dead wrong about these kids. To me the tape doesn’t lie.
Even if you are a bona fide talent picker – you still don’t have the insight into the kind of team, and on a longer term basis, the kind of franchise that Jason Licht has. He knows precisely what kinds of players he wants for the kind of team we’re building. No other person on this planet has that insight.
Is is possible that the kind of team Jason Licht wants is not a winner? I suppose that’s possible -but given that he just delivered the first winner in 7 seasons last year, we have to give him the benefit of any doubt until he proves capable only producing losers, and/or is moving the team in the wrong direction.
I vote for Jason Licht. He’s the man.
I have been a BIG SUPPORTER of J L . But lately last year after making a great move to move up in 2nd. and draft a good FOOTBALL PLAYER well we know the story. IMO he thought he would look like a Genius but ended up looking like a I will be nice here and say non genius. After that PICK the rest are head scratchers.
And how many games have the Bucs lost because of whatever Jason Licht decided this week?
I rest my case.
More than I trust Gary Shelton…
WTH: I just saw we lost a 4 & 6 rd. Picks I can accept losing a 6 but a 4 in this draft?????
We didn’t lose a 4th, we used the 6th to turn the 4th into another 3rd. Started with 7 picks total, ended with 6.
IMO the move was unnecessary
I’m not a Licht fan. Yes he is the best GM since McKay but that is like a parent saying their child is smart because the C- student comes from a family of D & F students.
You cannot give him credit for Winston & Evans (nor OJ Howard). They fell into lap his lap. Yes, he gets credit for Alexander and Marpet.
What I do not like about Licht, is he has no appreciation of value. That is what makes the special teams special. I had hoped he learned that from his days in New England.
Here are the ways I feel he fails.
1. He constantly reaches for players.
2. He does not trade down to accumulate assets
3. He constantly trades up giving away assets.
4. He wastes picks on low value players (ie FB, PK, KR).
5. His contract of Doug Martin shows me he will overpay for players.
Do you think if Tom Brady wanted to be the highest paid QB in the NFL, that he would still be a Patriot? Brady has been never paid as a top 10 QB. That means he is a value. Patriots dump players before their big pay days because it is not about the best players; It is about the most valuable. Or they trade them when they still have value before their big decline.
Garv, you are killing me with your common sense.
We were one injury away from with Evans or our new WR to being in the same boat as we were last year so why is the third round pick of a fast WR with 4.4 speed a bad pick.
The Bucs have confidence in Martin so why did we need another RB in the third round.
As far as the Evans pick, I read plenty of stuff about that other kid about how he missed tackles as well.
The whole draft is a crap shoot anyway and except for Arroyo, I haven’t seen any real bonehead picks or moves by Licht unlike the previous administration.
Hell last year two teams selected players who had injury problems and they were lauded for how great the picks were. The Cowboys were celebrating because thiers had moved his toes upwards or something silly along those lines/
As it is, first round picks in the NFL have a 50-50 chance of being successful or being considered a bust.
So fat Licht has done a pretty good job with his past three and the fourth looks pretty good as well.
I don’t always agree with you Dr.D, but on this point we are in lockstep. Folks need to compare Licht’s Draft record with the other 31 GM’s and not some unattainable standard of perfection. The acquisition of players and development of the roster must be judged in the entirety, not cherry-picked (Roberto Aguayo, ASJ) to make a point to suit one’s agenda.
Here’s what I know. Under Jason Licht the team was a tie-breaker away from the play-offs last season. The team was 6 dash 2 in the second half of the season and a Demar Dotson injury away from defeating the Jerry Jones’ Cowboys. The defeatist attitude has all but disappeared by Licht ridding the roster of that type of player and replacing them with ones with an edge.
Anyone paying attention should see the players with a bit of ‘tude in this Draft class.
I’m not about to give Licht credit for picking up Evans, Winston, or Howard those are no-brainers. The trade up to Marpet was great and so was the Kwon pick.
I do know this: Although he may be no Rich McKay he certainly isn’t a Bruce Allen or Mark Dominik and I will take that. I’m sure the good fans of Chicago would too right about now.
I do believe his Free Agent side of management is adequate and he and Greenberg will steer the team through contract cycles. While drafting is probably the most important GM trait he is at least good enough to afford this team some much-needed stability. THAT is what has been lacking the last decade; and I just feel this team is on the Launchpad ready for liftoff.
I have purposely waited until this was over to comment. I can’t believe that OJ fell to us.
So that’s all about him.
Every other player except Godwin was totally off my radar.
Here is my take on the rest of the haul.
After reading about them it seems that they are good players. Evans instead of Obi, scratched my head over that. But after researching Evans maybe Licht is right.
McNichols, never heard of him before the pick. Same thing after checking him out, could be us full. Maybe keep Doug on the straight and narrow also.
Our new linebacker could be a steal. Kwon was jumping up and down when they picked him. Those LSU boys can play linebacker I’ll say that.
Now for the last pick. That’s one big ass human being. I think every team should be required to have at least 1 Samoan on their squad. I hope he teaches the BUCS the Samoan war chant to scare the bejezzes out everyone. HooHaw.
You should give Licht credit for all his picks, in all his drafts.
He could have chosen differently – such as, say, Manziel instead of Mike Evans. Or Dalvin Cook instead of OJ Howard.
Or Jason Licht could have chosen the same players, but because he lost his nerve and was so fallen in love with his picks, he traded up to get the same guys he could have taken at the Bucs’ assigned draft position.
But he didn’t.
Every single pick has alternatives. Bad GMs pick against their own long term interests. Good GMs don’t. Simple as that.
Time will tell but IMO lost out on some good players.
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