4. Jameis Winston (2015)
This is one of the picks that will define Licht’s legacy. In just his second draft with the Bucs, he faced a crucial decision with the No. 1 overall pick. Tampa Bay had gone its entire history without a franchise quarterback. He ultimately decided on Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota, a choice that will be debated forever.
From a talent and production perspective, Winston has lived up to the hype. He has the NFL record for most touchdown passes before turning 24 (69) and is the second-youngest player to pass for 10,000 yards. In 2016, he became the first player in NFL history to throw for two consecutive 4,000-yard seasons to start a career.
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The wins haven’t piled up, sure, but there have been more issues with Tampa Bay. With improvements along the offensive line, in the backfield and on defense, the team is in a good spot to win with Winston under center.
The biggest concerns with this pick, of course, are the off-field questions. Licht spent a ton of time vetting Winston before the 2015 draft.
The young quarterback had some issues at Florida State (some minor troubles and a serious allegation), but he came to Tampa and endeared himself to the community very quickly. That is, until November of 2017. That’s when the allegation came out from an Uber driver that he inappropriately touched her back in March of 2016. He was investigated by the NFL for it and eventually given a three-game suspension to start this season.
No. 3 is likely on his last strike with the organization, but if he remains clear of trouble for the rest of his career and starts to pile up wins on top of his strong numbers, this pick will look better and better.