“Safe” Swirling Through Jason Licht’s Head

April 18th, 2017

GM Jason Licht

As a serious Sesame Street fan, Joe is always seeking the “word of the day.”

During yesterday’s pre-draft news conference at One Buc Palace, general manager Jason Licht made that easy.

Three times Licht referenced “safe” when it comes to potential picks. Joe’s has listened to extensive draft chats from other GMs and the word “safe” never is uttered.

So what does it all mean during smokescreen season?

“A lot of times when you’re picking high [in the first round], if you go back and study it, there’s a lot of high-ceiling, but also low-floor players up there, a little boom or bust,” Licht said. ” That’s the case throughout the draft, but a lot of times when you’re picking later in the first round, you’re getting sometimes a safe player that may not have the flash but ends up being a very solid player. So, it’s a little trickier picking at 19 with all the scenarios that happen in front of you. We can’t pinpoint who’s going to be there yet because crazy things happen, but we’re excited about where we’re picking.”

And Licht said this year’s draft is remarkably “clean” and “safe.”

“Well, there’s a lot of players that check all the boxes in terms of being a productive football player, being a good teammate, having the height/weight/speed, check all the boxes that we say are safe from a character standpoint as well as their ability on the field,” Licht said. “Those players kind of transcend across all positions. It’s deeper in some positions more than others, like all drafts, but there’s quite a few clean players in this year’s draft.”

Licht also went on to share perspective on “safe” picks, staying as risk-free as possible and avoiding trading up unless it’s a standout situation.

Joe already can hear the cynics, “Yeah, you’re damn right Licht’s thinking “safe,” look what he did with Roberto Aguayo last season.”

Those same cynics might also say Licht is waiting on a new contract extension from Team Glazer, so they believe Licht will be extra safe in the 2017 draft to help lock down his job security. Joe could go there, but Joe really doesn’t believe that.

The Aguayo situation last year was a unique, once-in-a-generation play, as was the 2015 trade-up for Ali Marpet, the highest drafted Division III player in NFL history.

Licht is bold but not reckless. Joe believes Licht simply has fearlessly stuck to his personnel teams’ assessments more than anything else. He wasn’t sitting at One Buc Palace playing fantasy football and acting on whims.

That’s why Joe doubts Licht would make a very expensive trade up for a running back in the first round next week. With such a deep running backs class this year, that would seem to go against the work of his treasured college scouting team.

27 Responses to ““Safe” Swirling Through Jason Licht’s Head”

  1. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bucs might be announced as being on Hard Knocks today!

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    According to this, Dalvin Cook may not be a safe pick

    Running Back: Dalvin Cook, Florida State
    It seems like just about every time you turn on Cook’s tape, he’s taking what looks like a modest 2-yard gain and bouncing it outside or slipping through a tiny seam to run for a 50-yard touchdown. The one-cut explosiveness and vision are apparent, and many analysts believe he’s the most talented back in this class, but multiple red flags have popped up for the former Florida State running back.

    For one, Cook’s injury history is well known, and three shoulder surgeries call into question how durable he will be at the next level. Plus, a list of off-field incidents adds to the uncertainty about his availability. And then there’s Cook’s disastrous combine performance. Scouts and analysts like to tout the expression “trust the tape” when it comes to the final grades they give prospects, but it’s pretty hard to ignore how poorly he tested in Indianapolis: Cook measured out in the seventh percentile among NFL athletes at his position, and in the past 18 years, no running back with his athletic profile has been taken in the first round.

  3. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Or tomorrow. Bucs called a presser for 1 pm tomorrow

  4. Lunchbox Says:

    Well this would seem to put a damper on the idea of Joe Mixon as well. Although purely based on talent and performance, he certainly seems “safe”, but he definitely is not “clean”.

    If you read between the lines of the above-mentioned statement, AND if the plan is to go with a RB at 19, it would seem he could be referring to McCaffrey. Plenty of production in college and no character issues that I’m aware of. I could be wrong about that though.

    Full disclosure-I’d be happy with either of those 3 RB’s.

  5. No_Bucs_Given Says:

    Licht made the right decision on Aguayo and our season came down to potentially being in the playoffs with better kicks. Where he was wrong was that Aguayo would make his kicks. But a solid kicker which he expected was the right decision.

  6. Tampabayucfan Says:

    There is absolutely no justification for trading up this year for any player. At 19 there will be a great player of need available.

    We need RB, S, DE, TE, WR…….

    We need to be careful of our #2 pick…..that’s something Dominick didn’t do.

  7. Lunchbox Says:

    I know it’s not going to happen, but my dream pick at 19 would be Corey Davis, no matter who else was available. Of course, there’s no way Davis will be there at 19…

  8. unbelievable Says:

    I can’t imagine them trading up in any situation, unless there is a monster DE that falls down past #15. Maybe, just maybe they would trade up 2 spots or so, but I highly highly doubt it.

    There are a lot of good players that will be available in rounds 2 – 4, so we’d be better off trading back a few spots and picking up an extra day 2 pick.

  9. uckinator Says:

    Picks # 16 to # 60 are all pretty much interchangable. Bucs should get at least 2 starters and 2 contributors. (Special teamers who could fight for a starting gig in a year or two.)

  10. Fsuking Says:

    Cook has never missed a game due to shoulder injuries, never been charged with a crime and is the 3rd fastest running back in this year’s draft (second if you don’t count the small school guy). 40 times for running backs are lies. Put some pads on and a 4.3 guy in chase and who wins… Its Dalvin everytime!

  11. cover deuce Says:

    Please Jason, don’t trade up for a running back. Stay put or trade down, and always prioritize your lines.

  12. USFBUC Says:

    It’s funny right now watching the mock drafts with players moving around all over the place. I still think the best move for us is to trade into the first with future picks and get a player we really like and then trade back to the later part of the first with our pick at 19 to pick up an additional second and third round pick.

    Right now my dream draft would be Howard and McDowell or Charlton in the first, Brantley and Melifonwu in the second, Godwin and Mixon in the third, CB in the fourth, OT in the fifth, Robert Davis in the sixth, and whoever with the seventh.

  13. Broy34 Says:

    Why play it safe at 19. U play it safe top 3 pick. Patriots gamble every year because the pick is dispensable. It should be the opposite Jason. I’d rather see a guy who’s a risk like Ross at 19 than st 5

  14. Lord Cornelius Says:

    i want one of these guys or a trade down:

    Offense: Leonard Fournette / Dalvin Cook / OJ Howard / Corey Davis / John Ross / Mike Williams / Christian McCaffery

    Defense: Myles Garret / Solomon Thomas / Johnathan Allen / Solomon Thomas / Marshon Lattimore / Malik Hooker / Jamaal Adams / Derek Barnett

    That’s 15 players.. And I’m not as high on McCaffery or Mike Williams but could live with it. Just would rather have a pure runner than a gadget guy and I feel like Williams is a less polished version of Mike Evans and if we go WR early I’d rather them have some complimentary skills

    So hopefully some people take Reuben Foster / an O-lineman or 2/ and a couple QBs before we pick so that one of those guys makes it to us. If not I’d prefer a trade back and multiple times if possible

  15. gotbbucs Says:

    Dumb enough to draft a RB in the 1st round, let alone trade up for one.

  16. DallasBuc Says:

    I think if anything is swirling through Jason Licht’s head it is because his head is bobbling uncontrollably on his shoulders!

  17. gotbbucs Says:


    Bruce Allen…Mark Dominik…Jason Licht

    I like Licht, but even I chuckled out loud at that comment. He’s already 5× better than his predecessors. Licht fired Lovie Smith, that alone should get him in the Ring of Honor.

  18. DallasBuc Says:

    Yeah Licht is okay but he is not nearly the superstar everyone around here makes him out to be. He gets way too much credit for any good decision in the last 3.5 years and none of the accountability for the myriad of poor decisions over that same span. And his head bobbles uncontrollably!

  19. Stanglassman Says:

    Lord Corn.
    That’s 14 players but I get your point with a few Qbs Oline and Lbs taken before us there should be one of those guys left. I like Mike Williams too but f fell the same way re complimentary to ME. What do you think of TE and Mich. S?

  20. gotbbucs Says:

    I hear ya.

  21. Capt.Tim Says:

    Its neck and neck, as they approach the straightaway
    Its Taco Charleton and Malik McDowell, McDowell and Charleton
    And Adoree Jackson, coming on strong on the outside . .

    GM’s think a year or two ahead
    Last year, Licht mentioned several times, that 2017 was the year for DEs.

    Its WAAAAY past time for the Bucs to draft a dangerous DE, to help out McCoy.
    Both of those guys have length, and smooth speed around the edge.

    Add one of them, along with our huge new DT- and our line will finally show signs of dangerousness

  22. Pete Mitchell Says:

    Derek. Barnett.


  23. JimmyJack Says:

    I for one don’t question Jason’s draft stragety. Don’t care if he is playing it safe or bold or anything else because it seems to be working. In three short seasons I can think of at least eight players he’s drafted that not only have earned a lot of snaps but have excelled.

    Jason’s team has also identified talent they have brought in as undrafted players who have also made some plays for us. Even a lot of the players who haven’t gotten to see much field have been good enough to make the roster and still are in Tampa with their futures in front of them.

    It’s pretty o bvisous that Licht knows what he’s doing and is expected to keep drafting playmakers.

    You can even look at ASJ and see that the talent evaluation was good. The guy could get open and could position his body to make plays. He just had no mental ability and that happens to every single team, it’s undeniable…………And you guys can keep railing Jason for trading up for a kicker(which was/is a desperate need) but the guy has had only a bad rookie season, that’s it. Not saying Arguyero is destined to turn it around but if you guys don’t think poor rookie seasons is common and that many good and great players have overcome them to move on the fine careers then you don’t know squat about football and sports.

  24. DayOnePaul Says:

    Kickers (virtually) always are terrible in their first year. Many into their second or third. The difference here is that he was a high draft choice, and he was terrible. Usually placekickers get cut and signed a couple times before they establish their consistency. Last year Licht called him “the best placekicker I ever scouted”. Give him this camp to figure it out. If he doesn’t, we’ll have to move on.

  25. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I was going to point this out the other day. Licht is usually “safe” on all picks. But, it seems every year he does one ‘crazy’ pick: Sims (Bucs did not need a RB, that was the year we badly needed OL), ASJ (again, did not ‘need’ a TE that bad, and obviously ASJ was risky) then Aguayo (craziest pick of them all).

    Licht does not do the ‘crazy’ pick in the first round. It is usually a move up in the 2nd or 3rd.

  26. BringBucsBack Says:

    What’s safer than an o-lineman that protects your franchise QB for 8-10 productive years, preferably at tackle?

    Sims & ASJ were drafted in the same year. That’s a twofer, when much better talent was available.

  27. alamba78 Says:

    OJ Howard was a safe and clean character pick for the Bucs. I just don’t think anyone anticipated Howard falling to us at 19.