Bucs general manager Jason Licht believes in flooding certain positions in the NFL Draft with multiple picks. Since his first draft in Tampa Bay in 2014, Licht has doubled up at the same position a total of nine times in eight drafts.
That year starting with Mike Evans, the seventh overall pick, he drafted two wide receivers and also two offensive linemen. Most recently, Licht doubled up on inside linebackers last year, drafting K.J. Britt in the fifth round and Grant Stuard with the final pick in the seventh round.
Could he double up again at a certain position this year? It’s quite possible.
Before we reveal which position Tampa Bay might flood with multiple picks, here is a list of all the times Licht has selected two players from the same position since 2014.
2014: Mike Evans – first round
2014: Robert Herron – sixth round
2015: Kenny Bell – fifth round
2015: Kaelin Clay – sixth round
2014: Kadeem Edwards – fifth round
2014: Kevin Pamphile – fifth round
2015: Donovan Smith – second round
2015: Ali Marpet – second round
2016: Vernon Hargreaves III – first round
2016: Ryan Smith – fourth round
2018: M.J. Stewart – second round
2018: Carlton Davis III – second round
2019: Sean Murphy-Bunting – second round
2019: Jamel Dean – third round
2020: Ke’Shawn Vaughn – third round
2020: Raymond Calais – seventh round
2021: K.J. Britt – fifth round
2021: Grant Stuard – seventh round
So which position could use two or more players in this year’s draft? Look no further than tight end.
The Bucs only have two on their roster in Cameron Brate and Codey McElroy. Brate turns 31 in July and the 29-year old McElroy has been on the practice squad for years. He’s not a lock to make the team by any means.
Bucs TEs Rob Gronkowski and Cam Brate – Photo: Cliff Welch/PR
The belief is that Rob Gronkowski might re-sign with the Bucs prior to training camp, but so far he’s been non-committal about returning to football. Injuries have taken their toll on the 33-year old’s body over the years, and he already retired for one season in 2019. Gronkowski came out of retirement to help Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl in 2020, but then missed five games last year with broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Even if Gronkowski returns, it will likely only be for one more season. There is a good chance that none of the existing tight ends on the Bucs return in 2023.
Look for Tampa Bay to draft a tight end in rounds 2-4 and then possibly come back and grab another one with one of its two seventh-round picks.
The Bucs like Colorado State’s Trey McBride, who could be drafted in the second round. Tampa Bay had him in as a Top 30 pre-draft visit, in addition to Washington’s Cade Otton. The Bucs have also shown interest in Virginia’s Jelani Woods, who has had multiple Zoom calls with the team. Otton and Woods will likely be third-rounders.
If the Bucs wanted to grab another tight end in the seventh round after selecting one in the middle rounds, there will be plenty of options. Nebraska’s Austin Allen, Iowa State’s Chase Allen, Pittsburgh’s Lucas Krull and San Jose State’s Derrick Deese, Jr. could be possibilities in the seventh round.