Will Licht Fill The Slot?

February 19th, 2016
Sterling Shepard could be the next attempt

Sterling Shepard could be the next attempt

As Bucs general manager Jason Licht approaches his third Tampa Bay draft, Joe is looking back to Licht’s first draft, when he was all fired up to select Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron with the ninth pick of the sixth round.

Licht thought Herron was a steal there and said Herron was a surprise to be available with his 4.31 speed, per the Bucs’ official clocking.

It wasn’t just Licht. Scouting godfather Gil Brandt labeled Herron one of 20 “third-day gems” in the draft. Bucky Brooks a former NFL player and scout who now works for NFL.com, also was on the Herron bandwagon, praising his route running at the Senior Bowl and projecting him as a mid-round pick.

But there was one problem with Herron. He couldn’t hold on to the football.

Oh, Herron got open. His standout speed showed up. But those hands. Ugly. The Bucs cut him after the 2015 preseason. He lived on the Dolphins’ practice squad most of last year.

So Licht didn’t get his quick slot receiver in 2014. Wide receiver Kenny Bell, selected in the fifth-round last year? His hands failed him, too, in limited preseason work, as did his hamstring.

Joe is aching for Licht to improve his receiving corps and not rely on Bell, or Louis Murphy to come back from November ACL surgery — and not expect Vincent Jackson to earn his $10 million paycheck much longer.

One guy Joe plans to talk to at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week is Oklahoma receiver Sterling Shepard. Think Herron with more experience (233 catches at Oklahoma), much more polish and much better hands. Per NFL.com, Shepard only dropped eight balls in college, through all those receptions. Perhaps he could influence Mike Evans?

Shepard’s dad was an NFL receiver, and his older brothers played at Oklahoma. Joe likes those legacy guys. They’re usually fundamentally sound.

Shepard could be a guy the Bucs make a trade-up play for in the third round. Or Joe would have no problem if they just flat out drafted him with their own pick at the end of Day 2.

23 Responses to “Will Licht Fill The Slot?”

  1. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I like Shepard too! Would be a great slot receiver to compliment Evans and V-Jax. He might be the missing weapon Jameis needs to really take this off season to the next level.

  2. bucs4life86 Says:

    WR is Def a position that needs to be upgraded, this will be V Jax last year so we need to find his replacement. I think we need to spend our fist 3 picks on defense (unless a player drops that we just can’t pass up) but spend maybe a 4th or 5th on a speedy receiver. There is a couple go wide outs available in FA. T.Benjamin would be my choice. But it does seem Licht has a knack for finding talented wide outs late in the draft so we’ll see what happens.

  3. Dave Says:

    I got no problem getting a good speed guy in Rd 2. I suggest the ND WR if there.
    They can snag a DB in Rd 3 because it is deep with DBs from Rd 2-4.

  4. biff barker Says:

    Aim high. BPA at WR. Ditto at DE/CB and Safety.

    If we get lucky, VJax can play the slot.

  5. macabee Says:

    You want the best, get the best! Two ways to skin this cat – In Free Agency, sign Travis Benjamin/Browns or Rishard Matthews/Dolphins or in the 2nd round draft Tyler Boyd/Pitt or Braxton Miller/OSU.

    The first question that should be asked before any transaction is made is “How does this transaction help # 3”? If yes, pull the trigger!

  6. LargoBuc Says:

    Im beyond ready to fill the slot…of the hooters girl XD good choice Joe!

  7. LargoBuc Says:

    No for real, this offense looks set. But it would definitely benefit to add some speed, especially at receiver.

  8. Tampa Tony Says:

    This offense doesn’t look set, not even close. They looked awfully average without VJAX.

    Need more weapons and to re sign Martin. A young QB without a running game? Not a recipe for success against a tough schedule

  9. CaptainStagger Says:

    Draft Hollwood Higgins in the 3rd/4th


  10. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Man that Tyler Boydd dose look hella good.

  11. Ken Says:

    I hope the Bucs use V jax in a similar way as Arizona did with Fitzgerald this year. Move him in the slot in 3wr sets. Mismatch him on smaller slot cb’s or slower Lb’s. It could also extend his career. I agree they need more SPEED at WR. But I wouldn’t sacrifice the D to get it.

  12. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    I would still like to see what Kenny can do before giving up on him.


    I know we need DE and DB’s more, but, if Myles Jack is available, you take him. Lavonte, Kwon, and Jack would be brutal on offenses for years to come.

  13. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Any pick after the 4th round that pans out is gravy, for any 5th, 6th or 7th rounder that makes a roster there are 100 that don’t, with the exception of pk,punter and special teams ace.

  14. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    It looks like we’re heading towards a modified BPA draft.

    BPA available as long as he’s a DE, DB, in the first and DE,DB, WR from then on.

    If a steal of an OL shows up in rounds 2 or later they may go that route as well.

    I’ve only been to two mock drafts so far…one of them has us taking Noah Spence and the other has us taking Vernon Hargreaves. I lean towards Spence but I wouldn’t be upset at all with Hargreaves.

    I’m still curious about a couple of things. Where will Roberto Aguayo go? I think he’s a generational kicker like Janikowski or Vinateri and could steal some games for us. FG kickers have long careers if you can get the right one and if the team is truly ready for the playoffs a GREAT FG Kicker…not just adequate would be essential.

    Then there is the MG8 question. Wonder how Licht and Koetter plan to use him
    As draft day bait for a trade up..or as an actual backup to #3?

  15. tmaxcon Says:

    I like to see them get Winston and Evans some experienced help… I like bell but he can’t be counted on until he proves otherwise. I’d like to see Kearse or Sanu brought in so WHEN not IF Vjax misses some games next year Winston and Evans have some help and are not relying on rookies and projects. I also hope Koetter roles with 6 receivers versus the 5 Lovie went with. Too many games last year bucs were left short handed receiver wise.

    I’d like to see Evans, Vjax, (sanu or kearse), Humphries, Bell and either draft pick or sheppard for special teams.

  16. Greg Says:

    Shepard would be an awesome pickup, the guy catches everything thrown his way! I’d love this pick!

  17. Buc1987 Says:

    Will Fuller Notre Dame in round 2.

  18. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    You know…if you pronounce Licht’s name with a short “i”…that headline takes on a whole new meaning…

  19. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    I would love a long term, great kicker for a change.

  20. Hunter Says:

    Tyler Boyd !!

  21. 1sparkybuc Says:

    I will always believe poor coaching was the major issue with our defense. The Bucs need an elite OT as a long term solution for the OL. They won’t be drafting in the top 10 ever again with Winston at QB. This will be their last shot at a premium OT. Upgrade the with the rest of the draft and free agency. Protecting Winston should always be the highest priority, and maybe the Bucs get their first 2000 yard rusher in the bargain.

  22. bucs4life86 Says:

    I think K.Bell is a sleeper this year, if he can stay healthy and hang on to the ball, Jameis showed he was building chemistry with him early on in camp and preseason. He could be the deep threat this team has sorely lacked since the great Joey Galloway.

  23. MadMax Says:

    If, and I mean a BIG if, Pharoh is still there at the bottom of the 2nd, I say trade up for him like we did for Marpet last year. I doubt he makes it to the 3rd round.

    Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 208.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
    Projected Round: 2-3