Licht Likes His “Rarity” Find

May 29th, 2016

jason licht 0224bFor those unaware, Bucs general manager Jason Licht played offensive line for Nebraska.

So Licht was an interesting pairing with Lovie Smith, who couldn’t build a solid O-line in Chicago. Licht once even joked at a Bucs press conference that Lovie didn’t sit up at attention when reviewing film on prospective O-linemen.

As a result, Licht had a very heavy hand in revamping the Bucs’ O-line into a top-tier unit in the NFL. The Donald Penn-Anthony Collins disaster aside, the Bucs have done a hell of a job drafting and selecting offensive linemen, a task NFL personnel executives say is increasingly difficult because college spread offenses are making it hard to evaluate their skills.

Also, recent NFL labor laws heavily restrict contact-permissible practices. And it’s tough to develop linemen without hitting.

Chatting with Dan Lucas of WFLA-TV, Channel 8, after this year’s draft, Licht talked about what a rare find 21-year-old fifth-round pick Caleb Benenoch was out of UCLA.

“To be able to be able to play tackle and guard, that’s something that’s kind of hard to find now. We find the center/guards, but the guys that can play tackle and guard are a little bit tougher to find,” Licht said. “He’s an underclassmen but yet he’s started 35 games, which is also a rarity. He’s a tough guy. He’s athletic, and he’s young. He still has tremendous upside. … He can sit back and we can develop him.”

Offensive line coach George Warhop did a heck of a job last year preparing rookies Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet, who was a left tackle for Division-III Hobart but transitioned immediately to right guard.

Benenoch won’t have that pressure, just like 2014 fifth-round pick Kevin Pamphile got time to learn the ropes. If Benenoch proves to be a solid NFL player, then look for NFL teams to start studying why the Bucs are nailing their O-line choices.

18 Responses to “Licht Likes His “Rarity” Find”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:


    are we going to get a hint what the “special summer series” stories after OTA’s??? Like how old Bucs are helping kids and giving back or how dominik finished his coloring book and built a sand castle!!!!

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

    I guess their really is something to the old adage “takes one to know one”..

  3. 1sparkybuc Says:

    We have starting quality depth. Still, I hope our starters stay healthy.

  4. Buccaneers Says:

    Licht has done a nice job with the O-Line. Even Kevin Phamphile has been a good blocker every time he was on the field.

    I swear, if Mr Licht and staff has fixed our D-Line as much as they did for the O every one of us fans will be leaping in joy!

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

    Hope you got some good shock absorbers Buccaneers..

  6. LakeLandBuc Says:

    The Bucs are very, very high on OT Leonard Wester and Dominique Robertson who can play tackle and guard. They both are UDFA’S, Robertson is the nephew of George Warhop.

  7. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I don’t know if I would call him a “rare” find. I saw him in the 3rd round in a few mocks. Maybe his versatility is rare, but he was not an unknown player.

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    “look for NFL teams to start studying why the Bucs are nailing their O-line choices”

    Its hard to duplicate good evaluation processes that involve things like the eyeball test and “gut feel”. Jason Licht seems to have this process down and has obviously assembled a very talented staff of scouts and directors – and has a good system in place where everyone feels like they play an important part in the process and everyone’s opinions are valued.

    The Bucs are succeeding on all levels with their young player evaluations and damn near every draft pick they have made the last 2 years has been excellent “value”. D. Smith, Marpet and Kwon Alexander (along w/ JW of course) were ALL rated as 1st round talents by Licht and Co. last year. Hargreaves, Spence and Aguayo all carried 1st round grades on the Bucs draft board this year as well.

    Um – I’m no math wizard – but SEVEN 1st round draft picks in the last 2 years sounds like a pretty good way to build a talented team in a hurry.

    I’m not sure where the Bucs had Caleb Benenoch on their draft board – but I know he was widely considered coming out to have a 3rd round grade and played a lot of snaps at UCLA. So on paper he looks like yet another draft steal by GM Licht.

    The transformation upfront is amazing really considering what terrible shape the Oline was in at the end of 2014 and how strong of a unit it is now – just 1 1/2 years later

  9. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Through the the years a number O Lineman have been recognized for their intelligence. looks like we got the merlin olsen of GM’s .

  10. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Brain fart, Merlin played D-Line

  11. Jbeachbuc Says:

    Man … If we truly grow this year into one of leagues best , if not THE BEST , OL’s….
    Well then, It makes growing to the explosive offense many of us believe them to become that much easier …. After that anything is possible this year!

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We have great quality depth on the Oline with Smith, Pamphile, Cherilus & Benenoch…..

    If Kenny Bell works out….then Licht would have found 5 great players from last year’s draft.

  13. Buccfan37 Says:

    You know how when you are tired and nodding off your head goes for the fall aside and you jerk it back up. Lovie must have felt somebody watching him at the O lineman film session. Besides, he was the defensive mastermind. Benenoch does look like an exciting prospect.

  14. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Oh yea…he’s an offensive line WHISPERER!

  15. BigHogHaynes Says:

    ^^^^and a BACK-STABBER!

  16. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I agree, Buccaneers, Licht has done a nice job with the O Line. If Spence is a hit, he’ll be the start of our D Line revival. Go Licht!

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    BigHog, always adding intelligently to the conversation. Keep up the good work.

  18. Owlykat Says:

    I remember the Brownie OLinemen that Warhop vouched for in 2014 and what a disaster those two dummies were so I have no faith in Warhop spotting OL talent and will believe Warhop’s son belongs on our roster when I see him pan caking some NFL DL from other teams. As to training Smith and Marpet, I recall that our All Pro LG last year took them both under his wing and showed them the ropes to become starters in the NFL. I don’t recall last year them praising Warhop for training them during interviews.