Jason Licht’s draft record as Buccaneer GM

 

Jason Licht takes a lot of abuse for his draft record with the Buccaneers. Some of that is well deserved. Below,  we break down every draft class in the Jason Licht era and give it a grade. This will be Jason Licht’s seventh draft as GM of the Buccaneers

His best selection up to this point was his first selection when the Bucs chose wide receiver Mike Evans from Texas A@M in 2014.

Evans has become the all-time Bucs leading receiver in yards and touchdowns. He is one of two receivers in NFL history to have over 1,000 receiving yards his first six seasons in the NFL.

The Hall Of Fame receiver Randy Moss is the other receiver that started his career with six consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.

Evans is well on his way to a place in the Bucs Ring of Honor and also a spot in the Hall Of Fame.

Austin Sefarian Jenkins, Charles Sims, and Kevin Pamphile were the other players selected in that 2014 draft that managed to play a few years with the Bucs.

All three are currently looking for work. Pamphile was on the Tennessee Titans roster last season, Jenkins last played with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018, and Charles Sims has not played in the NFL the last couple of seasons.

Kadeem Edwards and Robert Herron were the other players the Bucs drafted that year.

Overall lets give Licht a grade of B for this class as Evans is the only pick still playing in the NFL and is one of the top three receivers in the NFL.

In 2015 Licht chose the Heisman winner and fan favorite from Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the number one pick.

We all know how that relationship worked out. Winston started for five years and was a turnover machine throwing 88 interceptions in those five seasons costing the Bucs a few wins along the way.

Winston did become the all time career passing leader for the Bucs with 19,737 yards passing and 121 touchdown passes.

Winston was not offered a contract with the Bucs this off season and is still looking for work.

The Bucs also picked two starting offensive linemen in this draft in Ali Marpet, and Donavan Smith.

Marpet drafted as a center has moved to guard, and Smith is the starting left tackle.

The Bucs also drafted linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth round. Alexander was “the heart and soul of the defense” according to former head coach Dirk Koetter, But was signed by San Francisco in the off-season.

The Bucs also drafted Kenny Bell, Kaelin Clay, and Joey Iosefa in the 2015 draft.

Lets give this draft class a grade of B.

The Bucs drafted four starters in this draft and although Alexander and Winston are no longer with the Bucs this was a pretty solid draft for Jason Licht.

In 2016 the Bucs went defense early drafting defensive back Vernon Hargreaves with the 11th pick in the first round and defensive end Noah Spence in the second round.

This was also the draft where the Bucs drafted kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round who ended playing one year in Tampa, and just could never seem to master the NFL kicking game from a mental standpoint and was cut the following the year.

Hargreaves was a huge disappointment caused by his poor work ethic and was cut midway through the 2019 season.

Spence was given every opportunity to be a key player on the defense primarily at linebacker, but could never master the intricacies of the Mike Smith defense.

Spence is currently on the New Orleans Saints roster.

Defensive back Ryan Smith was taken in the fourth round and has become a very important part of the Bucs special teams.

The Bucs also drafted Caleb Bennenoch, Devante Bond, and Danny Vitale in this draft class.

Let’s give this draft class a grade of D as Smith is the only member of this class still on the Bucs roster.

2017 will go down as an above average draft  for the Bucs. Tight end OJ Howard, safety Justin Evans, and wide receiver Chris Godwin all made their way to Tampa and have had different degrees of success.

Godwin is well on his way to having a very good career as he had his first 1,000 yard season in 2019. Howard had two pretty good years before ending up in Bruce Arians doghouse last season and not playing a whole lot.

Evans has all the potential in the world, but has to stay healthy. This upcoming season will be a very important season for Justin Evans.

Kendall Beckwith, Jeremy McNichols, and Stevie Tu’ikolovatu were also drafted in 2017.

Beckwith has not played the last two seasons as he has been recovering from a broken foot suffered in a car accident and may never play again.

Another above average draft for Jason Licht as he gets a B grade for the 2017 draft class.

Everyone from the 2018 draft is still on this Bucs team with five starters.

Defensive tackle Vita Vea, running back Ronald Jones, corner backs Carlton Davis and MJ Stewart, and tackle Alex Cappa who has been shifted to guard all started for the Bucs during the 2019 season.

Jordan Whitehead, Justin Watson, and  Jack Cichy were also part of this class and were all contributors on the team in some capacity last season.

You really need about three years to give an honest grade for a draft class, bit this looks like it could be another very good draft class for Jason Licht.

In 2019 the Bucs drafted linebacker Devin White in the first round and he quickly became a starter. Then the Bucs went defense in  the next three rounds taking Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, Mike Edwards and Anthony Nelson.

Kicker Matt Gay was taken in the fifth round and had a pretty good first year in the NFL. Scotty Miller and Terry Beckner Jr. came on board in the latter rounds.

If White continues to improve his game like he showed in his first season, this will go down as another very goos draft class for Jason Licht.

Licht has a better track record in the draft than he does in free agency. Of course the Tom Brady signing, should that work out could really improve Licht’s grade on free agent signings.

Let’s give Jason Licht an overall grade of B for his draft picks since he took over as GM in 2014.

Check out these two articles on who the Bucs could possibly take with heir first two picks in this years NFL draft.

https://tampabayprosports.com/2020/04/08/bucs-should-look-for-offensive-line-help-in-the-first-round/

https://tampabayprosports.com/2020/04/14/bucs-should-take-a-running-back-with-their-2nd-pick/