January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts against the Denver Broncos in the second half of the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

How Tom Brady and Jason Licht Could Hurt the Tampa Bay Buccaneers This Offseason

He doesn’t bring it up every chance he gets, but in the right situation, you’ll hear Jason Licht talk about how he was a part of the team that drafted Tom Brady in the sixth round. Licht was a member of the scouting team in New England when every team, including the Patriots, passed on the skinny, seemingly unimpressive Brady for five rounds before the Pats finally took him in the sixth.

Brady’s career speaks for itself, and he remains the defense in any argument for why a quarterback doesn’t need to be taken in the first round. Any analyst or fan who likes a late-round prospect points to Brady as the reason why they could be right.

But as Sander at Bucs Nation pointed out not so long ago using statistical data, there’s a very. very clear connection between how early a quarterback is taken, and how successful he turns out to be. Tom Brady and Russell Wilson are anomalies, while Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and others were all first-rounders for a reason.

Will that be enough to deter Jason Licht from going on a goose chase to find the next Tom Brady? It might not be.

Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds relays a comment from Licht, who told 98.7 The Fan that “I see franchise quarterbacks in this draft, but likely not the ones you’re thinking of.” He may be speaking ambiguously because it’s that time of year, or he could honestly think that he has the eye for talent to point out which of the later round quarterbacks have franchise potential.

Licht arrived in Arizona in 2009, and during his time with the team, the Cardinals selected fifth-rounder John Skelton and sixth-rounder Ryan Lindley. Previously, during his time in Philadelphia, the Eagles selected sixth-rounder Andy Hall and second-rounder Kevin Kolb. If Licht had anything to do with these decisions, hopefully he’s just putting up a smokescreen by thinking he has the ability to find franchise signal callers later in drafts.

But if Licht truly believes that he can wait on a quarterback and find a franchise guy for the Bucs via the draft, it could seriously set the franchise back. Tom Brady is a once-in-a-lifetime player who won’t come around again, and if the Bucs try to wait for lightning to strike a second time with a late-round passer, they’re going to do so for a short period of time before the GM and coach are fired yet again.

Lovie Smith was booted from Chicago because his offenses couldn’t win football games. He now arrives in Tampa and finds a roster with an offense that couldn’t win football games. He’ll need to exercise his control over the roster and convince his GM to not mess around when it comes to finding a franchise quarterback, or he’ll find himself with a very good defense and a bad offense yet again, and that’s not going to cut it if Smith wants to lift the Lombardi Trophy as the coach of the Buccaneers.

There are four first-round guys in the 2014 draft who have the potential to be above-average at the QB position, and the Buccaneers will almost certainly have the chance to land one with the seventh pick. Passing on that opportunity, with no other glaring needs on the roster, to fish for a speculative player later in the draft could only come back to haunt the Bucs further down the road.

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  • Jayson Kaplan

    “Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and others were all first-rounders for a reason.”

    So were Blaine Gabbert and Tim Tebow and JaMarcus Russell and Akili Smith and on and on. Someone is going to make Johnny Manziel a first round pick in this draft. Draft position means nothing. Want the perfect example? Mike Glennon is a 3rd round pick because one single coach had a hard-on for him. Otherwise there’s no way Glennon is 3rd round talent (if he gets drafted at all) but that will be the label he always carries.

    They’re all prospects. I happen to agree with Licht that there are promising prospects deeper in this draft than the names the “experts” are bandying about. Those experts all loved Blaine Gabbert too. Only time and coaching will tell who becomes what.

    • LeoTPP

      The link from Bucs Nation proves that the earlier a QB was taken, the better he is. There are exceptions to every rule. There’s no sure thing. But there are more Blaine Gabbert-level players in the sixth and seventh than there are in the first. Draft position means something. That’s why higher picks are more coveted.

  • 65yt

    Not having a franchise QB is not going to ruin TB. They NEVER had a decent Franchise QB, ever. They still won a superbowl and a bunch of playoff games with the likes of Brad Johnson and Sean King.

  • 65yt

    Plus Glennon at 3rd round, did better then all the QBs picked before him in the draft last season. So the Best QBs are not ness. The best always.

    • Tom Weissmann

      Last year was a horrible year for QBs, more so than any draft since 2000 (time reference not that draft in particular). One QB was selected in the first and only two in the second. Saying Glennon was the best QB of the draft class is like saying you got the best piece of pizza out of a dumpster. He was the only one who started more than ten games and that was because Manuel got hurt for stretches and he was doing far better than Glennon.

  • Earl

    Totally disagree with you. “NONE” of the so-called top quarterbacks in this years draft should excite anyone! Here are some names for you; Brett Smith, Conner Shaw, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger. All can sit a year or two and would not be forced to start right away behind McCown and Glennon. Yes, Glennon will get a shot and learn from Tedford and will be a servicable QB. I enjoyed reading your article about why the Bucs annoited McCown over Glennon. Very insightful and well written. But, given what he had to work with last year, not only talent wise, but coaching, He was fortunate to come out of it alive. There’s is no way the Bucs will draft a quarterback in the first round. You heard it here first!

    • LeoTPP

      Have any reasons why those other QBs should be considered better options than the top four? That’s a very strong take.

      • Earl

        1) They can be taken in later rounds 2) They will sit regardless if taken in the first or fifth round by the Bucs 3) None of the top four are considered franchise quarterbacks (but then again, only a select few are) 4) We can use the top pick on a possible difference maker now! Maybe Mack, Watkins, Matthews, Evans, Donald or Mosely. The Bucs are in win mode now! 5) It has been said by the new GM, “we do not want to wait for our quarterback to catch up with the team” ie enter McCown over Glennon. 6) Both McCown and Glennon have game time experience. No quarterback they pick up in the first round will trump that. (Although Russell Wilson blew that theory out the water) 7) It would be a waste of a first round pick!

        • LeoTPP

          “None of the top four are considered franchise quarterbacks” according to who? Not only are there quite a few media members and analysts who think they are, but I think so as well. That’s the strong take I wanted you to defend. What makes them not franchise QBs?

          Also, even if they’re not franchise QBs, they’re better than the guys you listed. Just like Philip Rivers is better than Ryan Lindley. A guy you take in the first is more likely to be good than a guy you take in the sixth.

          And a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2002 isn’t in “win now” mode anymore than any other team in the league. Every coach and GM need to win. Passing on a QB doesn’t help the team win.

          What makes Teddy, Blake, Carr and Manziel “wastes” but these low-round prospects so special? They’re projected to go later for a reason…

          • Earl

            Merle Hodge from ESPN stated that he believes Johnny Football will be a “bust”. Ron Jaworski has stated that the top four QBs need a lot of work and if this was a year if they were coming out with Luck and Griffin, they would be 3-4th round picks. Supply and demand. For the Bucs, this would be a wasted pick. Manziel has quick feet but small frame and average arm. Bortles has good size, average arm and a little faster than Manziel, as per their 40 times. Bridgewater, slight frame, average arm and Carr average arm and speed. We have these qualities in McCown and Glennon. (Glennon has played more games in the NFL than any of these players and have a better arm.) The other players I mentioned, you don’t have to rush them on the field like the supposed first round picks. These top QBs may be projected to go in the first because of supply and demand! Raiders will go with Schaub, Texans with Fitzgerald, Bucs with McCown, Jets with Vick, Cardinals with Palmer. All could use a younger QBs but “may” go in a different direction in the first! If that’s the case the top four QBs will be sitting as well.

          • LeoTPP

            Glennon doesn’t have a good arm.

          • Steve Batchelor

            Neither does any of the QB’s projected to go in the 1st round other than Carr and he plays with the deer in the headlights syndrome while facing pressure…I understand your opinion Leo about getting a QB that we can look to as “THE GUY” but none of the top 4 are even close to a top 10 pick except maybe Bortles and I have my doubts about him as well. While it would be nice to get a QB for the future I just don’t see it this year unless we get lucky with one of the guys in the 3rd round.

          • LeoTPP

            And Carr has anything but an average arm. Your opinion on these QBs underrates them all. That’s fine. That’s where we disagree. But 14 of the 20 best starting QBs last year were picked within the first 36 picks of the draft. You get a better QB when you take one early. Just a fact.

          • Earl

            Let’s see, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick to name a few against Akilee Smith, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, Cade McNown, Josh Freeman and Jamarcus Russell. For every first rounder, I can come back with a second or later round quarterback just as successfull. Point is, it’s a crap shoot. BTW, Glennon has a stronger, better, not more accurate, but stronger arm than the proposed top for quarterbacks! Just a fact!

          • LeoTPP

            You can name a few exceptions for every star, but the overall trend is that you get good quarterbacks in the first. 14 of the top 20 in 2013 were taken with the first 36 picks (I’ll repeat that). And if you really think Andy Dalton is good…

            Also, why does everyone think teams can’t help but take busts? What if they just scouted better? What if they did their job better and took the RIGHT QB? Or brought their QB into a better situation and coached him better? No one is saying “just take a QB in the first and he’ll be good” but there are more good QBs in the first than there are later. I’ve provided two different examples that show that to be 100% true.

            And no, Glennon does not have a strong arm. His ball velocity is among the lowest in the past decade, alongside players who have already left the league because they’re not good enough. Glennon is not special in any way. I don’t know where you’re getting this idea from.

          • Tom Weissmann

            For every first round bust of a QB you name, there are at least 10 per mention for later round picked ones that don’t turn out. Just to let you know that naming Kaepernick you helped Leo’s side, not your own.

            Past six SB winning QBs and draft selection:

            Russell Wilson (75th)
            Joe Flacco (18th)
            Eli Manning (1st)
            Aaron Rodgers (24th)
            Drew Brees (32nd)
            Ben Roethlisbereger (11th)

            The anomaly Leo was talking about. I’ll take a QB in the first if it gives the Bucs a better shot at a SB. Say Freeman all you want but there’s a reason why his last two coaches and the guy who picked him don’t have a job. He couldn’t carry a team, didn’t have the mental toughness, the work ethic to get better and the attitude of 12 year old. He wasn’t reached for at 17 that year although they traded up two spots for him. Most of the busts come from reaching (Ponder, Sanchez, Gabbert) while others come from work ethic or close to/already reached mental or physical ceilings (Bradford, A. Smith). Guys drafted after 36 picks have all those traits and must work incredibly hard to improve them. Brady used his draft position as motivation and is already ridiculously talented while Wilson would’ve been a first if not for his height, not his abilities. I’ll take a more sure thing right away than someone who could get tossed aside by September.

          • Steve Batchelor

            The problem with your thinking is there are NO sure things at QB in this draft…NONE… So we could be picking a QB at 7 that could be out of the league come September or a life long pine rider…I wouldn’t be willing to take that chance and I don’t think Lovie is either…At least I hope not.

          • Tom Weissmann

            There’s no chance EVER of a first round pick being out of the league by kickoff weekend unless it’s a freak accident, death or jail. I never said take a QB for the hell of it. Tampa is in position for the first time in a while to go BPA rather than straight up need and there is such a thing as the best player being a QB. Shocker?! I know! I’ll take a chance on QB who needs less polishing than Glennon (don’t know why I have to say this again but the coaches and Licht DO NOT LIKE HIM) to lead this team. You can love him all you want but the general consensus is that Glennon isn’t good and there are far better options in the draft or next year’s.

            If I was in Licht’s position, “my thinking” would not lead me to select that horrible of a player in the first. Do some quick homework for me: Google every draft for the past 15 years and and tell me how many first rounders were cut by kick off of that same year for anything else but the reasons I stated above. I can tell you right now that it’s zero.

          • Steve Batchelor

            I was exaggerating Tom by paraphrasing what you said. I know no 1st round pick is going anywhere but maybe to ride the bench at the worst.

            I don’t “love” Glennon…Never have but I don’t see anything out of the big 4 in this draft that proves to me that any of them are going to be better…Next season is an option but with any luck Lovie will have the team winning so they will be picking in the latter half of the 2015 draft which pushes the drafting of a “franchise QB” no likely. If you really look at the drafting of a “franchise QB” it is mostly luck that enables you to do so. Even drafting first doesn’t do it because in that year if there isn’t that franchise guy you’re out of luck. How many real franchise QB’s are there…Manning,Brady, Brees,Rothlisberger,Wilson…Depends on what you label a as franchise QB…So out of 32 teams we are talking about way less then half the teams. Out of those I mentioned Brees wasn’t even drafted by his team…QB is the hardest position to fill in any sport with “that guy” because there are so few of them that can take a team on their back and will the team to wins.

            Got a question for ya…Out of all the QB’s now playing how many of them were deemed to be “franchise QB’s when they were drafted and went on to glory year in and year out and how many were deemed to be franchise QB’s and got drafted in the first round and have just been so so?

            Luck is the defining factor in getting a franchise QB…Brady and Wilson are 2 prime examples of 1 way and Manning and Luck are 2 prime examples of being crappy at the right time for the other. I just think the former is what Lovie has to hope for because going all in this year in the first round at QB is pretty damn dumb if you ask me.

          • Tom Weissmann

            I agree it is very hard to find a franchise signal caller but above average ones will even get a super bowl title (Flacco). The main one I see as close this year is Bortles but he’s very raw with his talents meaning he won’t do wonders in his first year. Bridgewater would be next but he has a lower ceiling than Bortles and may have already peaked. After that, Manziel could be a Michael Vick type QB and if he improves his decision making, trusts his protection and his accuracy, he could become another Wilson. Carr isn’t really worth a first rounder IMO and could be deemed a project right off the bat.

            Leo is going off of the first 36 picks and those are the type of guys worth taking a shot at. Only two come to mind that were drafted after that which are Wilson and Brady that are game changers. There are a few that manage to become starters but aren’t starter quality and aren’t relied upon to be “the guy.” Yes there are a lot of first round misses but there are far more guys drafted after that you don’t hear about because simply they were never good enough to get the job or even keep it if they got it. The last few busts (Weeden, Freeman, Sanchez, Ponder) were either reaches or lacked the motivation to stay good if they performed well.

            You have to think that the position needs that were recently filled were the main selections Tampa was supposed to use the seventh pick with. Now there are no glaring needs but they do need to look to the future at some spots and the main one at that is QB. I seriously doubt Mack or Watkins will be there at seven anymore and they would’ve helped out immensely. At WR and OLB, there are no other players at those positions worth taking that high. QB is the next reasonable pick. After that would be trading down. As of right now, however, if one of the top three falls to seven, Licht would have a very tough time passing (no pun intended) on them.

          • Steve Batchelor

            I agree with most of your assessment. If Bortles is there at 7 it wouldn’t piss me off but he’s going #1 to Houston…Pretty much a done deal. My biggest worry for the Bucs and Lovie is that the offense is one dimensional…By that I mean they haven’t the speed to open up the offense…Vjac has lost a few steps and Mike Williams with putting himself into stupid situations is putting the Bucs into a pretty pinch in the passing game. Watkins would solve those problems perfectly but I agree that he probably isn’t going to be there at 7. My surprise pick at 7 is Ebron…I know it’s a little high for a TE but the more I read about him the more I get excited. There are a couple of NFL people that have even stated the he’s going to be better than Graham. He reminds me more of Davis on SF though. With the guard situation after the trade of Zuttah, Lovie almost has to pick up a guard in the 2nd or 3rd which precludes us getting a starting WR . Pinning his hopes on Nicks coming back is rather risky but even if he comes back we still need another starting G. The offense has to be the focal point of the draft…No questions asked…

          • Tom Weissmann

            That’s the thing about the Bucs: they have a horrible season but not bad enough to get the better/best player. I could see them trading back to the 20s or almost 30s to get the best guard. Take a look at Cooks from Oregon State. He’s been compared to Tavon Austin with his speed and explosiveness in the open field after the catch. He’s very underrated. Another route I could see is going with Mike Evans or even Kelvin Benjamin (trading back of course) to supplement the doyen field attack and both are deceptively fast. The Bucs have lots of options and really can’t go wrong unless it’s reaching.

  • skullphucker

    I actually think the Bucs defense is going to become mighty once again. I think McCown can win games for a few years and Glennon can continue to win after that. I’m in favor of upgrading the position with a true franchise QB, but not if it’s a reach, and not at the expense of bolstering other positions. I don’t think there’s any slam dunk franchise QBs of the big 3. There are significant questions about all of them. There are no Andrew Lucks this year. With that in mind, I don’t think they’ll draft a QB in round 1. I hope they trade down, add more picks, and draft the best defensive player on the board.

    • LeoTPP

      The concern is, will Glennon be better by sitting around on the bench under McCown? Or do you need someone to take over for him again? McCown is good for a couple of years, but they need a long-term plan. Glennon can’t be assumed to be that guy.

      • Steve Batchelor

        Sure Glennon can’t be assumed to be that guy but neither can any of the QB’s in this draft besides maybe Bortles and even he has questions marks. I figure the questions about Glennon will be answered somewhat at the minicamp before the draft. My question is why take any chances on the QB’s figuring to go in the first round when they all have myriad question marks when we can draft a game changer at 7 and take a chance on a QB later, like in the third round. With us trading Zuttah and with the question marks surrounding Mike Williams it would make a lot more sense to draft those 2 positions early seeing as how out long-term plans at those positions are up in the air at the moment.

  • Rich Schatz

    get the F outta here none of the top 3 should excite. so many douchebags that think that they are experts go work in the field then you FN couch coaches pfft pathetic

    • Centrale

      Seriously dude? How about you get back on your meds and then realize that people enjoy talking and sometimes arguing about their opinions on sports teams. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet. You think there should only be coaches allowed in the comments section or what? It’s not like we’re working on saving the world here, lighten up.

  • James P. Taylor

    Leo…I think it’s a good insight that looking for the next Tom Brady would involve a lot of whiffs. However, there have been several first round busts from Cade McNown, Andre Ware, Joey Harrington, Jim Drunckenmiller, and on and on. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t look good in his pro day and Johnny Manziel might not have the game for the pros. He doesn’t have the height or great arm strength. Bortles looks like a franchise quarterback but he’ll probably be gone by the 7th pick. Personally I am hoping that Clowney, Mack, or Watkins slide to us.

  • Centrale

    The only one of these coveted QB prospects that the Bucs might have a shot at getting is Bridgewater now that his ‘stock’ has dropped following a poor showing at his pro day. I don’t think the Bucs should be pursuing a franchise QB at this time. In the times that the Buccaneers have been contenders, it has always been built on outstanding defense. Get an elite defense established first and it’s going to keep us in every game. Then get a solid O line built and any QB is going to have something to work with.

  • Tony Viscardi

    Mike Glennon should get a shot to start. He made mistakes as young quarterbacks do but the kid has a huge arm and is pretty accurate with his throws. I see potential.

  • Tom Weissmann

    I really don’t understand why people are so hung up on Glennon. He had okay stats last year. Whoop dee doo! He’s inaccurate and inconsistent the majority of the time and takes unnecessary risks in crucial parts of the game. Why keep him when there are three, possibly four quarterbacks at least twice as good and in reachable distance for the Bucs to get? Think about who is going to be coaching the QBs this year. Tedford who was Rodgers’ college coach. Drafting a QB early means they have most of their talent in place and it just needs to be molded to become a lot better. Drafting Murray, Metzenberger, Smith or whoever else later just means they’ll take longer to develop if they even do. Most teams ahead of Tampa now are set at the moment for QB. Cleveland, Jacksonville and possibly Oakland might take one but it’s looking more and more likely they won’t. It won’t be a reach because the projected first rounders (minus Manziel) are where they should be and falling to 7 would be a blessing in disguise.

    • Steve Batchelor

      Your thinking is not really too bright…What Glennon did last year is pretty damn commendable seeing as how he had nothing to work with and a coaching staff that had their heads up their ass 100% of the time. You state that Tedford can take one of the 3 or 4 top QB’s from this draft and mold him into becoming our franchise guy.If that’s the case then he ought to be able to do the same with Glennon if he’s so good. I state that Glennon is as good or better then anything they would likely be looking at in the first round at the QB position. Bortles seems like he might make it but probably won’t be there at 7. Bridgewater…Who knows after his pro day washout…Seems like it’s all getting to his head and we have already gone through that with Freeman…Manziel…never mind…Carr could be the best of the bunch if he showed even an iota of getting it done in the face of pressure which he really hasn’t. Why draft a QB in the first round that is a MAYBE when we can draft a difference maker at a premium position? I think drafting a QB at 7 this year is a BIG cluster#%$ just waiting to happen…Much rather see us wait until the 3rd and draft Garappalo, Mettenberger or Murray.