After a few days of reflection – and reasoned research – I’ve come up with my analysis of Tampa Bay’s 2019 draft, which was predictable and excellent on Day 1, curious and unexpected, yet solid on Day 2, and simply uninspiring (again) on Day 3.

White Must Pan Out For This Draft To Be Successful

There has been so much commotion about Bucs general manager Jason Licht using a fifth-round pick on kicker Matt Gay that it seems like many have forgotten about the fact that Tampa Bay’s draft started with a bang with LSU inside linebacker Devin White. Because of Licht’s second kicker drafted in four year, the selection of White somehow got overshadowed, which is wrong.

I guess that because Day 3 of the draft is the most recent, Licht’s uninspiring Day 3 picks this year are top of mind, but they shouldn’t sour fans on the 2019 draft class as a whole because White is a bona fide star, and upon reflection, I like what the Bucs did on Day 2 with the selections of speedy cornerbacks Sean Bunting and Jamel Dean and safety Mike Edwards.

If you were expecting Licht to draft four studs on Day 3 you were dreaming. The percentages of Day 3 draft picks making NFL teams after two years is very low. In my 24 years of covering the Bucs and witnessing Tampa Bay’s 119 Day 3 picks, here are my Top 5 selections.

Bucs’ Top 5 Day 3 Picks Since 1995

2015 MLB Kwon Alexander – Round 4
1999 FS Dexter Jackson – Round 4
2002 FS Jermaine Phillips – Round 5
2010 WR Mike Williams – Round 4
2013 DE Will Gholston – Round 4

Kind of underwhelming, huh? One Pro Bowler in Alexander, a Super Bowl MVP in Jackson and three decent players in Phillips, Williams and Gholston.

Fifth-round picks and Day 3 players don’t make or break GMs. NFL general managers are typically measured by the success or failure of their first-round picks. With that in mind, here are Licht’s six first-round picks in Tampa Bay.

Licht’s First-Round Picks

2014 WR Mike Evans
2015 QB Jameis Winston
2016 CB Vernon Hargreaves III
2017 TE O.J. Howard
2018 DT Vita Vea
2019 ILB Devin White

Evans is one of the game’s best wide receivers and is coming off a Pro Bowl season. And he’s already Tampa Bay’s best all-time receiver at age 25.

Winston has his supporters and detractors, but he’s been to one Pro Bowl and smashed a great number of Tampa Bay passing records at age 25. Can Bruce Arians take Winston’s game to the next level?

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, TE O.J. Howard, G.M. Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, TE O.J. Howard, G.M. Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Hargreaves has been misused in Mike Smith’s defense and should thrive in Todd Bowles’ press man coverage style of defense. Can Hargreaves stay healthy to live up to his potential?

Howard has the tools to become one of the league’s elite tight ends. He was a steal with the 19th overall pick and will become a Pro Bowler if he can stay healthy for 16 games.

It takes defensive linemen a while to develop, although Vea had the same number of sacks Warren Sapp and Gerald McCoy had as rookies. Vea should pick up where he left off at the end of his rookie season, and is back playing in a 3-4 defense like he did in college.

While some fans would have preferred Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen instead of White, he bring speed and playmaking ability to the Bucs, in addition to culture-changing leadership. I would be shocked if White isn’t a perennial Pro Bowler.

Compare Licht’s first-rounders with those of the three previous Bucs general managers.

McKay’s First-Round Picks

1994 QB Trent Dilfer
1995 DT Warren Sapp
1995 LB Derrick Brooks
1996 DE Regan Upshaw
1996 DT Marcus Jones
1997 RB Warrick Dunn
1997 WR Reidel Anthony
1999 DT Booger McFarland
2001 OT Kenyatta Walker

Allen’s First-Round Picks

2004 WR Michael Clayton
2005 RB Cadillac Williams
2006 G Davin Joseph
2007 DE Gaines Adams
2008 CB Aqib Talib

Dominik’s First-Round Picks

2009 QB Josh Freeman
2010 DT Gerald McCoy
2011 DE Adrian Clayborn
2012 SS Mark Barron

Four of McKay’s nine first-round picks made the Pro Bowl, with Sapp and Brooks winding up as two of the greatest draft selections in team history as members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Allen drafted just one Pro Bowler in his five years in Tampa Bay, which was Joseph. Talib went on to be a more successful player after he left the Bucs via a trade. Dominik also drafted just one Pro Bowler in his four drafts with that being McCoy.

So far, Licht’s first-round track record is better than that of Allen’s and Dominik’s, and time will tell if Evans or another one of Licht’s first-rounders winds up in Canton. But so far his first-round can be considered “good” as long as his picks continue to progress and White turns into the elite player the team expects him to be.

Wake Up Call Issued To Bucs Secondary

Licht has drafted nine defensive backs since 2016, and with the selection of cornerbacks Sean Bunting and Jamel Dean, in addition to safety Mike Edwards this year, he essentially put the first six DBs he drafted on notice. And with how Tampa Bay’s secondary has played over the last several years, that’s a good thing.

Two injury-riddled seasons have prevented us from seeing what Hargreaves can become, and this is a big year for him. It’s acceptable that Ryan Smith has not developed into a starting-caliber cornerback because that’s not the norm for a fourth-round pick, especially one coming from a small school like North Carolina Central.

Bucs FS Justin Evans
Bucs FS Justin Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs free safety Justin Evans, the team’s second-round pick in 2017, had a promising rookie year and then succumbed to Mike Smith’s awful defense and injuries have kept him sidelined him since last November. He needs to take his game to the next level ASAP.

Licht’s draft class of second-round cornerbacks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis and fourth-round safety wasn’t particularly good upon their initial impression. Stewart was over-drafted, as he was a fourth-round talent that lacks the speed and athleticism to start either at cornerback or safety. Whitehead was a fourth-round pick for a reason, and not an ideal starter.

Davis has shown the most promise out of the three DBs from last year’s draft class, and the hope is that a return to the press-man coverage style of play from his days at Auburn will help him take the next step. But Davis needs to do a better job of picking off passes after having zero as a rookie. Dean and Bunting will challenge both he and Hargreaves for he right to start.

The secondary needed to be flooded with talent this year the way Licht flooded the defensive line last year to improve the team’s sack total from a league-low 20 in 2017 to 38 in ’18.

Uproar Over The Bucs Drafting (Another) Kicker

Licht is getting crucified for drafting another kicker after the Roberto Aguayo debacle in the second round in 2016, and that’s understandable. He literally scarred the fan base – and hurt the team – with the Aguayo pick, which was a waste of a second-rounder. Yet if Licht didn’t draft Aguayo, and Matt Gay was his first-ever drafted kicker, there would be far less uproar.

Perhaps some raised eyebrows would have been over spending a draft pick on a kicker if Gay were the first kicker Licht drafted, but not the moaning and groaning we’ve heard since Sunday since he was actually the second. Generally speaking, it’s better to find a kicker in undrafted free agency, but the reality is that we’re talking about a fifth-round draft pick.

Utah K Matt Gay
Utah K Matt Gay – Photo courtesy of Utah

Fifth-round picks generally have less than 17 percent chance of making the roster two to three years after they are selected. Whether it’s an offensive lineman, a linebacker or a wide receiver, fifth-round picks are typically back-ups. If Gay winds up as Tampa Bay’s kicker, beating out Cairo Santos, and ends up being a competent kicker in the Michael Husted-Connor Barth realm, the Bucs would be getting a starter in fifth round.

If Gay pans out that would represent tremendous value to the Bucs. If Gay winds up as a credible starting kicker, he could wind up being the best fifth-round pick since I’ve covered Tampa Bay. Here’s the list.

Bucs’ Fifth-Round Picks Since 1995

1995 CB Clifton Abraham
1996 DT Jason Maniecki
1997 TE Patrick Hape
1999 DE John McLaughlin
2000 TE James Whalen
2001 G Russ Hochstein
2002 S Jermaine Phillips
2003 G Sean Mahan
2004 G Jeb Terry
2005 WR Larry Brackins
2006 DL Julian Jenkins
2007 DE Greg Peterson
2008 QB Josh Johnson
2009 OT Xavier Fulton
2011 FS Ahmad Black
2012 LB Najee Goode
2013 DE Steven Means
2014 G Kadeem Edwards
2014 OT Kevin Pamphile
2015 WR Kenny Bell
2016 OT Caleb Benenoch
2017 RB Jeremy McNichols
2018 WR Justin Watson
2019 K Matt Gay

As you can see by the list of fifth-rounders in Tampa Bay spanning the last four general managers that there are far more misses and underwhelming picks than picks that could actually play. Out of Bucs’ 24 fifth-rounders since 1995, only Phillips really stands out to me.

Personally, I would have rather seen Maryland defensive tackle Byron Cowart, Texas A&M defensive tackle Daylon Mack or Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph taken instead of Gay, but we’ll have to see how it all shakes out. History shows us that fifth-round picks rarely stick beyond two years – let alone become starters. And Tampa Bay’s fifth-round history is actually a who’s who of failed draft choices.

Evaluation Of Bucs’ 2019 Draft Class

I don’t believe in draft class grades following a draft, which is why PewterReport.com doesn’t do them. Who knows which players will pan out?

It’s kind of like picking wins and losses and making predictions immediately after the NFL schedule comes out and before the draft, training camp and preseason injuries occur. It’s pointless and we don’t do that either.

LSU LB Kwon Alexander ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash - Photo courtesy of LSU
Kwon Alexander – Photo by Getty Images

I’ve been excited about a Day 3 guy before like Northwestern’s Danny Vitale, a seventh-round tight end, and he didn’t even make the team after getting beaten out by undrafted free agent Alan Cross. I didn’t think former LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander, a fourth-rounder, was a good pick at the time. His production at LSU was spotty because he was playing strongside linebacker, and his highlight reel was awfully short.

In the end, Alexander has been Tampa Bay’s best Day 3 pick since I began covering the team, and likely the team’s best Day 3 selection over the past quarter century.

Just because I’ve never heard of Bowling Green receiver Scotty Miller before or am not too familiar with Missouri defensive tackle Terry Beckner, Jr. doesn’t automatically mean they are bad picks. And just because Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting isn’t the household name that LSU’s Greedy Williams is doesn’t mean he’s the lesser player.

Could both Miller and Beckner been signed as undrafted free agents? Sure, and it’s quite curious that Licht has a better track record with undrafted free agents – tight end Cameron Brate, receiver Adam Humphries, running back Peyton Barber and tight end Antony Auclair – than he does on Day 3.

I am a huge fan of the Devin White selection. I think this guy is a perennial Pro Bowler – ultimately a better version of Lavonte David. This is an absolute home run for Tampa Bay, although Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen, who went No. 7 overall to Jacksonville, is a fine player, too.

I’ll admit that this Bucs draft class is a bit puzzling to figure out. But instead of assigning grades to each player or Licht’s 2019 draft class, I’ll rank the draft picks in order of best to worst.

1. LSU ILB Devin White – Round 1
White is special both as a play-making athletic linebacker and a leader. He’s a foundational player on the defense for the next decade as the starting Mike linebacker and change the losing culture in Tampa Bay.

2. Central Michigan CB Sean Bunting – Round 2
Bunting adds size, speed, aggressiveness and ball-hawking skills to a Tampa Bay secondary that needs all that. He has a chance to start as a rookie and will push Carlton Davis and Vernon Hargreaves III.

3A. Iowa DE Anthony Nelson – Round 4
Although I think third-round safety Mike Edwards is the better player, this is a great value pick in the fourth-round. Nelson is a cross between Carl Nassib and Will Gholston and has good tools to develop.

3B. Kentucky SS Mike Edwards – Round 3
Edwards has a chance to start opposite Justin Evans as a rookie due to his speed, striking ability and knack for interceptions. Edwards also brings leadership qualities to the secondary.

Auburn CB Jamel Dean
Auburn CB Jamel Dean – Photo courtesy of Auburn

5. Auburn CB Jamel Dean – Round 3
Dean is blazing fast and physical, but might need a year to develop into a contender for a starting spot. He’ll star on special teams in the meantime.

6. Bowling Green WR Scotty Miller – Round 6
Miller has superb acceleration and sub 4.4 speed. His lack of size – he’s 20 pounds lighter than Adam Humphries – is a concern.

7. Missouri DT Terry Beckner, Jr. – Round 7
Beckner has a chance to develop into a reserve three-technique defensive tackle. The Bucs are thin at this position if Gerald McCoy doesn’t return.

8. Utah K Matt Gay – Round 5
It’s not a great idea to draft a kicker and I don’t condone the move. Yet if Gay pans out and can be a competent kicker, the reality is the Bucs get a starter in the fifth round.

More Bucs Draft Analysis

In case you missed some of my other analysis and editorial during Bucs draft weekend with the avalanche of stories about Tampa Bay’s eight new draft picks, here are links to stories you shouldn’t miss.

Arians Vigorously Defends Bucs’ Selection Of White

Bucs LB White Puts NFC South QBs On Notice

Trying To Make Sense Of Bucs’ Day 2 Picks

Why White Is The Right Pick For The Bucs

Previous articleBucs Waive Six Players
Next articleReport: Browns Interested In Trading For McCoy
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]

36 COMMENTS

  1. I would rank Dean a lot lower and Gay higher. The theme with this draft was the Bucs went with their board clearly because from outside observers some picks were very good value while others were players drafted one round too early.

    From my view the point of the draft is to create salary cap leverage which is why teams load up on positions that are deep with talent (eg DT) or hard to find in free agency (eg pass rushers).

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  2. The only real issue I have with our draft (aside from taking a kicker in the 5th), is why the heck did we pass on Risner in the 2nd round? He’s a versatile guy who plays the right side and would have been a great fit.

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  3. Like the approach of just ranking the picks and agree with most of your impressions and evaluations.

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  4. Licht drafts need before best available talent no matter what he claims. You can never judge players before they actually start playing, but overall I think Licht tends to reach for players he could have later in the draft. And I think you can make that case with every pick in this last draft. That said, White will be a stud. So will Bunting. But if Bucs fail to have a winning Season this year, and Josh Allen and Greedy Williams go on to be stars, things will get really ugly in Tampa especially now that Tickets start at 40.00

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  5. Jason cant hold his water. He gets worked up for a player then he spazzes out and over drafts them time and time and time again.
    I think every play he picked he could have gotten much later with the exception of Dev.
    There is zero rhyme or reason to anything he does. He is in over his head to a level that Is beyond belief.
    He just cant read his rosters weakness. This guys really thinks we have a good O line and D line to the point that basically drafts nobody. are you kidding me>?
    One case in point.Last year If you know that your secondary is the worst in the NFL why pass on the best Safety to come in 10 years. You passed on him twice. You had just signed 24 defensive lineman free agents because you cant and wont draft one. 6-10

    Guys at some stage this year you have to call for his job man. Look we all like him personally but its like having Alfalfa fronting a Sinatra cover band.

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  6. You missed some important context there Scott.
    Licht has drafted 9 DB’s in the FIRST 4 ROUNDS since 2016…figure this is incredibly important to note since you say earlier in the column that picks in Rd. 5-7 are incredible crapshoots.
    He has spent 9 of his 19 “premium” picks on defensive backs in 4 years….and the secondary still isn’t good. That’s incredible and not in a good way

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  7. Scott, your article showing results of our drafts since 94 is great. Just what we needed around here for the “post draft depression”.

    I don’t care if the ‘home run” or “diamond in the rough” comes from the draft or the UDFA pool either.
    ________________________
    The Kicker Thing:

    All of the uproar over the fifth round pick is sorta stupid. The fact is that we still have not guaranteed that our kicking woes are over with Santos. (I laughed when Licht mentioned during his presser that he had even looked for a kicker in Sweden.) I haven’t seen him make one over 45 yards out yet. Nor have I seen him make a game winning clutch kick for us yet.

    Licht did say that Gay could hit the long ones at sea level as well as at altitude.

    Gay said something that caught my attention during a telephone interview that I heard. He said something to the effect that he does not have to put anything extra into his 50+ yard attempts. He does not strain his muscles or require any special exertion. I don’t have the exact quote but that is how I took what he said.

    If he he does beat out the competition and becomes our guy it should be be fun to watch his progression, with a little bit of anxiety early on, this season.
    __________

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  8. Scott, so are you saying it was all about the past coaching? So many players you listed as misses went on to play for other teams/coaches, pre Licht. Since Licht has come on board his misses are bad enough most teams aren’t interested in taking many of those misses?

    How does Gholston get an above average rating (I guess it was his huge ridiculous contract?).

    So… am I to understand we don’t have a DL issue? Okay Scott I’ll except your analysis; now, are we going to get out of the cellar in the NFC South this season?

    Finally, Hargreaves can’t stay healthy enough to say he was or wasn’t a good pick.; that bothers me as he is going into his 4th season.

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  9. At the time of the picks, Devin White and Anthony Nelson were the only two I was happy about. Now that time has passed and I really look at the draft, I can’t say I’m unhappy. I’d like to think Jason and Bruce know a lot more than I do plus all these kids are Bucs now and there is no turning back. I’m rooting for all of them.

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  10. Listen…. I’m just a guy who casually follows the Bucs. That being said, I can see the influence that Arians and his staff have had on this draft. Some people seem to be pinning all of this on Licht. The reason why so many defensive players were drafted seems to be more of the evaluation of talent by Bowles and the assistant coaches than Licht. Overall, as GM he’s ultimately responsible and will be out of a job next year unless there is marked improvement this year. Unless he knows a guy that will insist he stays…. hmm

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  11. I would be more interested in a comparison with GM’s in our division, than with the losers that have kept this team out of the playoffs since 07. I think most of us on this board could hit on a good percent of 1st rounders if your usually picking in the top 15. Flooding the Defensive backfield two years in a row is just dumb. Obviously Licht doesn’t think that you build a team from the front to the back. Why not trade a 2nd or 3rd round pick for a proven veteran corner? You know why the Bucs are up against the cap, because they can’t draft worth a crap, and they pay average guys like they are in the top five at the position. Sorry but If you can’t draft solid players that get better with NFL coaching after the 1st round, and you miss on 75% of your free agents, you are not a good GM. Just a Wild guess but maybe the reason the undrafted guys work out more often than the later picks is because Licht doesn’t pick those guys. Fan since 76 and I’m numb to the losing. Hopefully this is Lichts’ last year. We can do better, but I don’t think the Glazer boys should be in charge of the search. Go Bucs.

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  12. Not a huge fan of the kicker pick, but understand the reasoning behind it. Doubtful we’d find a starter at OT/OG/DT there in the 5th, hopefully we have one in Gay. Worse case is he doesn’t pan out like so many other guys picked in that range.

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  13. What about the scouts? Are they the same? Because we can Evaluate players very good at all imo…….

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  14. Good lord, Scott. Lots of words, rationalizing and equivocating to not criticize Licht. I think White has Pro Bowl potential. Not going to argue with that pick. But what other player stands out – obvious answer is none.

    How about asking why we did nothing to address the O line. Why no question about not adding a tackle to backfill for GMC. Why no more LB help given the prospect of Beckwith not coming back. How about criticizing Licht for selecting developmental players in each round other than White.

    Other than White, there’s not an impact player in this draft to help us this season. We are the same team in the trenches as we have been the last two years going 5-11. You don’t win games with DB’s and developmental players.

    And then drafting a kicker – AGAIN – is just icing on the cake. How about calling them out, Scott. Can tell you season ticket sales just go tougher.

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  15. This draft has a loud message. It is: “We really don’t like last years DB’s. We were willing to ignore needs at Offensive line and running back to fix what we didn’t fix last year.”

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  16. New Buc coaching staff saw on film with their own eyes how slow our DB’s were. And they set out to fix this. I’ve said all along Our D was slow as molasses. Bunting and Edwards may just turn out to be steals. They are both playmakers and ballhawks. Quick to the ball, the tackle and always making plays. I scratch my head over Dean though. He had multiple injury (knee) problems at Auburn. And at this level? Well,,good luck. And licht and his kicking deal. He could have waited til rd 7 to pick this guy. White will be immediate impact.And his speed and toughness will influence our current group of LB’s. Were it not for a couple of snaffu’s. I ‘d give us a B rating. But we had a solid C+ draft.

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  17. I think it was Rick Stroud on the PR draft live stream that said it best- the reason the Bucs haven’t been any good over the past decade is the turnover in coaches- a new offensive / defensive scheme every 2-3 years does not spell success. Lack of a 2nd contract for a drafted QB is either bad luck or … you know. If Licht is gone so what? Is there some savior GM that’s going to step in and “turn this franchise around”? I’d rather look on the bright side and hope that we can at least improve this year and compete for the division (which the Bucs are given about 5% chance of doing so atm).

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  18. 1) Ryan Smith was the Bucs best corner in 2018. Grimes was a mess and Davis was okay but clearly a rookie. While Smith took some lumps, his play in the second half of the season was better than every other CB on the roster. He’s actually been a very good pick by Licht.

    2) SR’s right that the 1st round matters a lot. But so does the rest of the draft as you need to find NFL calibre starters there. Licht has done a terrible job after the 1st round.

    3) I roll my eyes when people say Winston “is a Pro Bowler”. I think every selected QB that year declined their invitation. Being like the 4th alternate is not making the Pro Bowl…

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  19. Before the draft, Thomas Bassinger of the St. Pete Times did an article talking about how successful the Patriots were because of the plethora of defensive backs they continued to draft. He is Mr. Analytical over at the Times and used all the date to back up his theory.
    Everyone has to remember that BA was in that draft room as well giving his input to Licht and I don’t remember any fistfights developing when Licht was taking all those DBs when shown on their war room cam.
    In fact, after the kicker selection, I saw a lot of high fives being delivered.
    BA watched a lot of film last year and one thing he said was very telling.
    He stated one way the Bucs were going to cut down on Winston’s turnovers was not to have him keep coming back from 20 points down.
    That confirmed what some of us have been saying out here for some time.
    The defense keeps putting Winston in terrible situations where he always has to bail the team out after the defense allows the opposition to score on thier first three possessions, especially on away games.
    The Bucs have been getting chewed up for years by QBs who take 3 step drops and get rid of the ball in under 3 seconds.
    The only way to beat that is to play press defense and for the DL to get thier hands up in the paasing lanes, a drill we saw them working on during the voluntary camp.

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    • Nailed it!

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  20. drdneast, Bravo! By Jove, I think you have really got it there!

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  21. P.S. The Kicker Thing

    No matter whether Gay become our kicker two things are different now (1) There will be a competition for the kicking job. (2) There is an actual kicking coach on staff now.

    P.S.S. Aguayo had neither 1 nor 2 when he came here.

    A lesson learned from experience and post situation review?
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    Go Bucs!!!!

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  22. “Allen drafted just one Pro Bowler in his five years in Tampa Bay, which was Joseph. Talib went on to be a more successful player after he left the Bucs via a trade. ”

    Scott managed to ding Bruce Allen’s selection of Aquib Talib because Greg Schiano/Dominik came in and gifted him to Belichick for a 4th round pick. As far as I know you don’t ding the player a GM drafts because subsequent coaches want ‘Schiano men’ and get rid of them for pennies on the dollar.

    Aquib Talib is a 5x Pro Bowler, 1st and 2nd Team All-Pro and SB Champion. Those 5 Pro Bowls by Talib are more than Jason Licht’s entire career of 5 full draft classes have produced (4). Unlike McCoy Talib wasn’t a top 5 pick, unlike Evans he wasn’t a top 10 pick. Talib was taken 20th overall and was the 3rd corner taken in that draft. Like Davin Joseph, Talib was taken in the 20’s because the team was winning. It’s far easier to find a Pro Bowler in the top 10 where Jason Licht is commonly drafting than it is at the back end of the first round.

    Sometimes Scott spins so much for Jason you have to literally let the record state the obvious because Scott so wants to defend his friend that he parses a Buccaneer’s career because he was sent packing to an NFL dynasty and it makes Jason look better if you just don’t count it.

    Scott has also caught on to the misguided “Jason Licht does well in UDFA” theme I’ve heard from some posters. It sounds good doesn’t it? You’ve got Cam Brate, Adam Humphries, Peyton Barber and even 3rd string TE Antony Auclair! Who could beat such a record of success?! Mark Dominik could.

    Maybe Scott forgot about his old roommate and correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Mark Dominik specifically push for Donald Penn to be signed as the Director of Pro Personnel in 2006? Didn’t Dominik also sign LeGarrette Blount as a rookie after the Titans cut him in preseason? Didn’t Mark Dominik sign Michael Bennett as a rookie too?

    Ok Bucs fans, which group of Rookie UDFA would you rather have? Brate, Humphries, Barber and Auclair or Donald Penn (3x Pro Bowl), Blount (3x SB Champ 6,306 yds rushing 53 Rush TD’s) and Bennett(3x Pro Bowl)? Last I checked Licht’s UDFA’s haven’t made any Pro Bowls 🤔

    The misnomer about UDFA is that they are purely roster filler. That’s true if you look at each one individually. But you are literally talking about dozens of college players who go to rookie camps each year and then those who perform well get their shot at preseason etc. Every Draft there are a few Pro Bowl UDFA’s. Not anyone Licht has signed, but they happen. I encourage everyone to wiki each draft and scroll to the bottom if you’d like to see who went undrafted and made a pro bowl. It almost always more than any round in Day 3. Basically it’s a truism not about Jason Licht but the NFL in general.

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  23. Interesting piece here Scott. One thing that really has stood out to me over the years is how many of our draft picks go on to be much more successful elsewhere. I believe the coaching has been our Achilles heel and we will see marked improvement now that we finally have a “real” coaching staff.

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  24. The article was an interesting read along as it was a different take from the Day 2 and 3 reporting. That Day 3 videocast was like attending a wake – I had to cut out periodically to see if the real world still existed. I will just say that I’m not a particular fan of the draft (from a watching / analyzing standpoint) because I don’t follow college football very much (outside of some Gator football) and couldn’t tell most of the these guys from a ham sandwich. Are they good?…are they bad?…Hell, I don’t know. Licht and Arians just have to (or better) get it right or they’re gone. With that said…
    When does training camp start?!?!? I’m pumped!!! Go Bucs!!!

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  25. So we were all understandably pumped when BA AND Todd Bowles came to Tampa.
    Nobody can challenge either one of their track records.

    What we have is Competition at every position.
    Whether it be coaching or bad picks, time will tell.
    of those 9 DBs we need 4 starters.
    I’ll wager we have the 4 best on the field come game 1.

    Scott Miller will compete with Justin Watkins for Slot.
    Gay will compete with Cairo.

    If it does turn out coaching was the major problem (I’m in this group from a Press Corner standpoint alone),
    this team just got way better in a hurry!!!!

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  26. @drdneast

    You are correct that the Patriots invest heavily on their back end of their defense. They rely on their front seven to generate pressure with blitzes and different looks. This is why the have no problem with players like Flowers or Chandler Jones going elsewhere.

    But I think the missing ingredient for the Bucs is that they don’t have the experience on the back end yet to do what the Patriots do on defense. Time will tell if all these young guys drafted in the secondary can gain experience and help force some coverage sacks.

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  27. I just can’t understand the RB situation. I’m willing to withhold judgement on the ‘flood’ approach and the whole rest of the draft, but RB and offensive line are just in poor shape with a QB who needs some protection and the benefit of hand offs. I hope that what I don’t know is that Koetter’s staff was bad at coaching RoJo up and too worried about the O-Line to let him play because of poor blocking and that Arians and staff KNOW they can fix it. But that’s a faint hope is what that is.

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  28. Shreb, and plopes808…perfectly said. Couldn’t agree more!

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  29. Time to move on from the draft talk. The fans on this board are much like the Mock Draft “experts.” Some see the Bucs Draft as highly successful; some interpret it as a disaster. Nobody loves Licht, but some absolutely despise him. We are beyond objectively because we can’t agree on the criteria by which to judge him. This is a year that will answer many questions for us and for the other teams in the NFC South. Atlanta made huge gambles by reaching for two offensive lineman. New Orleans made a bet on Davenport last year and he showed little considering what they gave up for him. Carolina raised a lot of eyebrows by drafting a quarterback perhaps signaling uncertainty about Cam Newton after two shoulder surgeries. Would love to see some analysis of these other teams strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I don’t see Carolina and Atlanta as having significantly better rosters than ours and I believe our draft was predicated on competing better within the division. Finally, I don’t really get the love for Alexander. He was a passionate player for us, but he missed a lot of tackles; was suspended once; injured too often; and a very average middle linebacker. No way is he worth what the 49ers spent to get him.

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  30. Oh @buddah Jason Licht at 27-53 has 5 seasons of an average record of 5-11. How is a GM’s record not a good metric to judge them by? What other metric would you prefer, Scott’s sampling of first round picks where he conveniently ignores the actual career of said first round picks because it didn’t happen in a Bucs uniform purely to advantage the guy he vouches for weekly?

    I despise my favorite team losing and missing the playoffs for 11 straight seasons. I despise incompetence from the ownership to the front office. I also dislike when writers have an agenda to push and are giving bad faith arguments purely to benefit their personal interests.

    You are welcome to believe that year 6 for Licht will be the year. That it was only the coaches that Licht hired previously that made the team fail and not his roster construction or failures in free agency that has left a team with two straight 5-11 seasons cap strapped and unable to sign reinforcements at DB which then necessitate the GM to spend 3 of his first 4 selections on the position in the draft. But I ask what is more objective, the person who points the total sum of a person’s career or record, or the person who cherry picks and makes an argument in a vacuum so that it sounds better to defend them?

    If a Kicker is statistically the worst in the league over 5 seasons with little hope of a turnaround would you side with the person who pulls out the statistics to their missed kicks and the rationale of why you shouldn’t expect a turnaround or would you side with the one who parses a kick here or there where they made one and rationalizes why they shouldn’t be replaced?

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  31. Quite frankly, I think comparing the history of our GMs’ drafts is like comparing a youtube video of car crashes to see which one was the best/worst.

    BUT Scott, if you’re going to compare our GMs’ drafting in the first round, you need to at least be fair to all of them.

    a) McKay chose: 6th, 12th, 28th, 12th, 22nd, 12th, 16th, 15th and 14th for an average position of 15th.
    b) Allen chose: 15th, 5th, 23rd, 4th and 20th for an average position of 13th.
    c) Dom chose 17th, 3rd, 20th, 7th and 31st for an average position of 16th.
    d) Licht chose: 7th, 1st, 11th, 19th, 12th and 5th for an average position of 9th.

    If you don’t think there is a HUGE difference between selecting on average at 9 (inside the top-10 on average!) versus in the teens, then you haven’t been paying attention. And if Licht hadn’t traded away two of those picks that were in the top-10 for ones outside of it, his true-average refelction of how bad our teams have been would be an average position of closer to 7th….that’s over a 6-year tenure, his average starting draft position is 7th!!!!!!! That’s horrible!

    So, yes his selections are likely to appear better than his predecessors (again that’s a very low bar you have set), but his was picking on average between 4 and 7 slots higher every year too.

    Just think the facts should all be presented.

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  32. 100% correct @eastendboy and it’s more relevant what Licht started with than where he selected. In 2016 Licht dropped 2 spots to 11 and picked up an extra 4th round selection which he foolishly used to trade up for Aguayo. In 2018 Licht traded from 7 (his effective yearly starting position) to 12 and picked up TWO second round picks that he burned on MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis. That’s real value as the current GM was starting with a top 10 pick because he builds awful rosters.

    Rich McKay was rewarded with his consistently winning team by picking later in the draft. The 16th overall selection in 1997 that he used on Reidel Anthony was from trading a mid 2nd round pick the year before to the Chargers, which in terms of draft value was wonderful even if the player didn’t turn out to be so great. That said the 10 selections after Anthony only yielded 1 Pro Bowler in Tarik Glenn, meaning it was an relatively weak first round as drafts go.

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  33. If we are going to compare other GM’s in the division:

    I think Dimitroff and Loomis are better than Licht currently. Loomis used to be really, really bad in the draft…like a solid decade bad. Dimitroff is the cream of the crop of GMs in the NFCS. Hurney in his younger days was a top five GM. Right now I would give Licht the edge but Hurney may end up the best in the NFCS within another year surpassing Licht, Loomis and Dimotroff. Hurney in the past has struggled with controlling the salary cap. But Hurney is always on point when it comes to selecting players in the draft.

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  34. I find it curious that Scott and Licht apologists credit Licht with a great first round pick … that resulted in merely a replacement player for a multi-year starter that Licht let get away in free agency … the same guy that Scott labels the very best Day 3 draft pick in Bucs draft history.

    Letting Hump and Kwon walk, while keeping Winston … and taking no DLs on Day 1 or 2 in a DL-rich draft… the logic simply does not exist.

    Also some funny kind of thinking when some Bucs fans here in this thread, straining to credit Licht with something besides his incredible draft of another kicker, stating that “well, you may think Licht’s draft sucks, but its only because Bruce Arians made him do it”.

    ????

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  35. What a horrible stance on the bucs draft. Jason Licht should be ashamed of himself. 3/4 of is draft are the same exact players from last years draft. He has wasted more resources than any other gm that we have had. You are have poor coverage of the bucs and never hold them accountable. You constantly make excuses for their inept decisions. Keep kissing the asses so that they keep giving you access. How can any good gm neglect the offensive line and the defensive line early in the drafts. Donavan Smith sucks. All the other o line members suck. He was lucky to get up and other than mcoy and David everyone else sucks on defense. I gave up my season tickets and you people at pewter report do nothing to invoke real football knowledge and question what did we give up to settle for a mediocre pick. You guys are full of useless information. If your a bucs fan and your happy with anything we’ve done the past 10 years your a loser!! We have not made the playoffs and we failed!

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