Buccaneers: Ranking Jason Licht’s 1st round picks for Tampa

Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Jason Licht’s career with the Buccaneers began in 2014 and during this time he has made six first round picks in the draft. Here are their rankings.

It’s fair to say that overall, Jason Licht has done a pretty good job with first round picks since he started at One Buc Place. At the Pewter Plank we’ve ranked his first round draft selections from worst to best below:

#6 – Pick 11 in the 2016 draft – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida.

Bringing up the rear is Vernon Hargreaves. Hargreaves was selected back in 2016 with the view that he would be a dominant corner in the NFL for years to come. Although undersized, Hargreaves showcased outstanding movement and a perfect tackling technique in college.

Although these qualities were evident as a Gator, they certainly didn’t translate when he became a Buccaneer. Hargreaves was torched often and didn’t live up to the first round hype. He’s now in Houston looking to revive his career.

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#5 – Pick 19 in the 2017 draft – OJ Howard, TE, Alabama.

As the first tight end selected in the 2017 draft, the expectations for OJ Howard, coming from a pro offense style at Alabama, were understandably high.

Howard is the ideal tight end on paper at 6’6, 250 pounds, but he has struggled with his hands-unable to be the safety blanket that fellow TE Cameron Brate has proven to be. The Alabama standout is still young and will certainly improve, but it’s been a pretty slow start as a Buc and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him traded this offseason.

#4 – Pick 1 in the 2015 draft – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State.

Jameis has been a mixed bag since being drafted number one overall in 2015. This was perfectly summed up last season when breaking franchise records for both yards and interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Winston’s future in Tampa is still up in the air, but many Bucs fans will hope he is still the man under center next year. He’s certainly better than the 2009 1st round pick, right? (PS – It was Josh Freeman!).

#3 – Pick 5 in the 2019 draft – Devin White, LB, LSU. 

I have a feeling we may come back to this in a few years and laugh when White becomes one of the best Buccaneers of all time. He really does have that potential.

Initially drafted as a replacement for Kwon Alexander, the LSU product has exceeded all expectations. Although Bucs fans have only enjoyed him for a year, White has proven to be an elite linebacker who can lead this defense for years to come.

I’ve put him at number 3 on this list mainly due to his short career so far in Tampa, but Devin is only going to get better and better and is a consistent All-Pro in the making.

#2 – Pick 12 in the 2018 draft – Vita Vea, DT, Washington.

Many fans were frustrated with this pick when projected selection Derwin James was still on the board back in 2018. Vea has proven every critic wrong this year, becoming a dominant force on the defensive line and stuffing any runner that comes his way.

VV is coming off a wonderful season which included getting himself a receiving touchdown too. This is Licht’s best defensive pick so far, especially having the guts to pass up on a much needed safety.

#1 – Pick 7 in the 2014 draft – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M.

Licht’s best draft pick was his very first one for Tampa Bay – M1k3 Evans.

Consistently in the top 5 (probably even top 3) receivers in the league every year, Evans is a beast,  the best player on this football team, and the best receiver the Buccaneers have ever had.

Tampa finally has a genuine threat opposite Evans in Chris Godwin and these two should be able to take the Buccaneers offense to the next level.

Pick 14 in the 2020 draft – ???

It’s really impossible to predict where the Buccaneers will go in the first round this year. Every projection has us taking someone different and there isn’t even a pattern to whether we are likely to go offense or defense.

Licht has drafted 3 offensive and 3 defensive players in his tenure. I personally see offense as more of a need at this stage, but a lot depends on decisions made at the QB position.

Next. 5 reasons Tampa Bay Buccaneers should re-sign QB Jameis Winston. dark

We can be confident that Licht and his team are working hard to find the perfect guy at pick 14 and all we can do is sit back and hope it’s the right selection.

BUCS FANS – Do you agree with these rankings? Has Licht done a good job with his first round picks overall? Let us know!