Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jason Licht continues to impress
By James Yarcho
Coming off another draft weekend, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ general manager Jason Licht continues to impress with his maneuverability.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off what they hope to be another successful draft class. We can give you all the way-too-early grades and analysis we want, but the truth of the matter is that you can’t honestly judge these picks for a few years. With that in mind, it’s incredible to see another year where Jason Licht makes impressive move after impressive move.
We all had our favorite players heading into draft weekend. Whether that was Saquon Barkley, Derwin James, Sony Michel, Derrius Guice, or new Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea, there isn’t a single person out there that got every player he or she wanted from the fan perspective. That doesn’t mean the players Licht picked are bad, will be busts, or won’t live up to what players X, Y, or Z will do.
It doesn’t matter who a fan believes was a better choice, the draft picks are in and done. It doesn’t give any angry fan the right to what this guy did and send Licht death threats because he didn’t pick who the fan wanted. In this case, it was the pick of Vita Vea over Derwin James.
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- Mel Kiper Jr. hands out his official Buccaneers draft grade
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers undrafted free agents tracker 2023
News Flash: The Buccaneers do NOT have to select a Florida State player every single year and not every Florida State player is better than every other draft prospect, despite what the extremely vocal minority – or at least I assume it’s the minority – of Noles fans think.
What Jason Licht did was take three picks in the top 100 and turn them into Jason Pierre-Paul, Vita Vea, Ronald Jones II, M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis, and Alex Cappa. Yes. That is six players – five of them drafted in the top 100 – from three picks. He addressed needs with every one of them and improved the overall roster.
For all the whining and crying fans have done over the better part of the last decade regarding the inability to produce a pass rush, Jason Licht went out and got two entire starting lines to rotate throughout the game. He got the first proven and legitimate edge rusher since Simeon Rice in JPP. He added beef, talent, and nastiness on the inside to help Gerald McCoy with Beau Allen and Vita Vea. Noah Spence will hopefully bounce back from injury and develop into the rusher they’d hoped he’d be.
Then on the back end, he brought in not one but two guys to not only provide depth at corner, but to compete for the outside corner spot opposite Brent Grimes. Davis could very well develop into that player, allowing Vernon Hargreaves to slide inside to slot corner where he was dominant before his injury last season. Yes, it’s disappointing the Buccaneers used a first round pick on a slot corner two years ago, but with as many three receiver sets as they do, having a shutdown guy on the inside certainly isn’t a bad thing.
He upgraded the running game with Ronald Jones II, Ryan Jensen at center, Ali Marpet back at guard, and potentially Alex Cappa taking over for the disappointing J.R. Sweezy. It was a glaring hole on this team last season and it was addressed from the trenches as well as the ball carrier.
It doesn’t matter if the names that were called weren’t the ones you were hoping for. Truly, it doesn’t. No, NFL teams don’t always get it right. If they did, we would never hear the term “bust”. However, they do this for a living. They do this all day, every day to improve a football team. You get it wrong enough times and you’re out of a job. They picked the players that fit what the Buccaneers are going to do moving forward.
Next: Ronald Jones II Set To Spark Offense
And for that, Jason Licht, we thank you.