Jason Licht Earns A “B+”

February 10th, 2018

“Mr. Glazer, did you read NFL.com?”

It’s the Jason Licht time of year, when he, like all his general manager brothers, step into the spotlight.

To listen to many of the Licht haters, you’d think Licht was wearing a headset on game days (he’s not, but Mark Dominik used to) and calling plays.

You think Licht is in love with every Dirk Koetter play call and the repeated impotent blitzes by the Tampa Bay defense? Joe hopes he isn’t.

Licht’s four years in Tampa might be the most unique of any GM in team history. The dude and his personnel team have been ugly in free agency but quite pretty in the NFL Draft.

The problem is you need to be good in both areas, unless you have an elite quarterback who can cover your warts in the toughest division in NFL. Licht’s QB, unfortunately, still ranks as the worst in the NFC South.

But while Licht’s team struggled to a 1-5 record in the division, he earned a second-place grade when it came to the 2017 NFL Draft. Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com went back and graded the drafts of the Saints, Panthers, Bucs and Falcons and Tampa Bay checked in with a B+.

Tampa should revel in its underappreciated rookie class. Howard was arguably the league’s top rookie tight end, tying New York’s Evan Engram for second-most TD catches (six) of all rookies. Godwin started slow, but finished strong and with one hell of a good omen: A game-winning TD, his first score, on the last offensive play of the season. No Bucs defensive player played more snaps than Beckwith, while Evans looked to be a future fixture at safety before being placed on IR. GRADE: B+

For those wondering, the Saints got an A+, the Panthers got a B-, and the Falcons a C+.

Grading drafts is always intriguing. How much weight should be given to excellent players passed over by a team? And then how do you weight that against all the other teams that passed on the same guy?

So many variables.

Regardless, Licht has two excellent drafts under his belt (2015 and 2017), a clunker in 2016, and 2014 was a mixed bag. Playing rearview-mirror GM, Joe really is pained by the selection of Austin Seferian-Jackwagon with No. 38 overall pick in 2014. The Bucs didn’t a need a tight end, and there were enough red flags on ASJ to make you wonder why he and Lovie Smith gambled with a premium pick.

But the entire draft is one big fat gamble. Always remember that. And Licht has been more winner than loser.

49 Responses to “Jason Licht Earns A “B+””

  1. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Bergman has no clue, the players may end up being good but licht didnt draft for what the bucs need and still need, he signs DJax, then grabs a TE? No rhyme or reason with licht and the bucs are now cleveland south

  2. SB Says:

    “There is No Way Licht can be a good GM as long as Cancer93 is on his team. Just proves how stupid he is leaving this Ice Cream eating Loser on his roster. Licht is a loser just like the rest of the team! Career losers all of them!”

  3. Jarod lauderdale Says:

    Well , you could call the jags Cleveland south for the last couple years and look at them now.just sayin

  4. ManzielMadness Says:

    Hard to give a guy a B+ after going from 9-7 to 5-11. Maybe we should have invested in more than 2 draft picks on the DLine in the past 4 years.

  5. ManzielMadness Says:

    Apologies, Read that wrong. Thought it was for the entire year not just last years draft. He did have some hits, however, we can’t keep ignoring the defense.

  6. pabucsfan Says:

    People. This is a grade for the draft not the overall off-season. He drafted 4 starting caliber players. Thats a fair grade

  7. Mike Johnson Says:

    Please… a B+? What you smokin there Joe? Licht is a solid C..at best. And being one of the bottom 5 Defenses in the NFL pins this C to him.

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    2016 F-

    Now we have to waste another draft to address a starter corner and a pass rusher

    When you wiff completely 1 year, you go back multiple years

    Kobe Faker

  9. LakeLand Says:

    lol B+

  10. DBS Says:

    You mean we don’t have an elite QB? Not what I hear around here.


  11. LakeLand Says:

    What’s funny to me, is the needs going into the draft.

    Lance Zierlein
    2017 NFL Draft order and needs: Nos. 11-20
    19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    2016 record: 9-7 (.492)
    Top needs: DL, S, RB

    Analysis: Tampa Bay will need to find a high-impact player along the defensive line who can create mayhem on a regular basis. Safety is a need and could get early round consideration. The Bucs could be looking at an RB, as well.

    No one said the players he drafted wasn’t good players. Most fans wanted him to address the needs at RB and DL. There was good quality prospects at both positions.

  12. LakeLand Says:

    Sports Illustrated
    Every NFL Team’s Biggest Draft Need
    By ANDY BENOIT & EMILY KAPLAN April 19, 2017

    Biggest Need: Edge Rusher

    Andy: Meet everyone’s predicted breakout team for 2017. The Bucs are trendy because, after the arrival of speed-burning wideout DeSean Jackson, their depth chart has no major holes. They can afford to select the best player available. Typically, for teams in this position, and especially ones that play as much zone coverage as Tampa Bay does, that means taking the best pass rusher available. You can never have too many. And even if Noah Spence, last year’s second-round pick, keeps developing (there’s no indication he won’t), the Bucs will need a new source of edge speed up front. An outside pass rusher could prove more than just a fancy insurance policy.

    Emily: Taco Charlton (6′ 6″, 277 pounds) had decent production at Michigan, and scouts project it will only get better from here. He has length, but he’s twitchy and flexible. Once he polishes his handwork, he could terrorize quarterbacks of the NFC South for many years. UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley, who I had linked to the Colts, could also work here.

  13. LakeLand Says:

    I know he drafted OJ Howard at 19, who probably was the best BPA. Most fans was mad about Justin Evans over Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt. I had the problem with Kendell Beckwith over Carl Lawson. I like Kendell Beckwith, but I thought drafting Carl Lawson would improve the team more.

  14. Ndog Says:

    There’s the usual shot at Jameis Joe. How bout this Joe, you can take the runningback er QB Cam Newton and the choke artist Matt Ryan for the next 10 years and I’ll take Jameis. Let see who has the better QB. What do you say Joe since you want to say he’s the worst QB in the division every chance you get. You clearly think he sucks and would rather have Cam the premadonna or Matt Ryan the choke artisr. BTW way I would take Jameis over Cam today but since you love the QB draw so much you can have your boy Cam.

  15. LakeLand Says:

    Jason Licht draft good players, but he don’t draft the players that will improve the team the most. He stockpile players in certain positions, while go positions goes lacking.

  16. Not there yet Says:

    Not complaining all that much about who drafts as much as the positions he drafts, how on Earth could you ignore the trenches for this long

  17. LakeLand Says:

    I meant he stockpile players in certain positions, while other positions goes lacking.

  18. NFLNut Says:

    Licht has been a VERY GOOD drafter … he has been BAD in free agency though … we need him to be GREAT in both this year

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    Lots of people on this board were panicking and calling Evans a bust after the 1st preseason game – the first preseason game, I’m not kidding. I tried to tell them, rookie safeties take a while to get going, and nope, they insisted that Evans was a BUST! Meanwhile he ended up having a nice year for a rookie safety and will hopefully build on that.

  20. Capt.Tim Says:

    2015 and 2017 were great drafts
    But 2016 . . .

    Hargreaves, Noah Spence, Our favorite kicker
    That was our top 3 picks
    Hargreaves would have been cut already- if he wasnt our first pick( and lichts Butt)
    Our horrible defensive staff will keep playing the small Noah Spence at De, and he will keep getting hurt, until his career is ruined.

    And we all know the kickers story.

    Wasted top 3 picks. Thats horrible
    I’d give Licht a B-. But its only that high, because of how horrible our last 2 GMs were.

  21. Rod Munch Says:

    Hey look at how good I am, talking about Evans missing a tackle on Mixon…

    “Rod Munch Says: August 12th, 2017 at 2:02 pm
    Hum…. a rookie in game one of the preseason against what most people say was the top running back talent in the NFL. No really worried at this point.

    Much more worried about Ryan Smith – he made one nice play and a ton of bad ones – and was still in there looking lost in the 3rd quarter missing tackles when i believe he started the game. Not good.”

    Boy was I right, Ryan Smith was a complete and total abortion last year.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    Capt.Tim – Hargreaves had a good rookie season, a good training camp last year, a good opening day, then had like 3 games in a row where he played poorly and then was out injured. Yeah, you cut guys like that, you know, like if you have a bad week, you’re gone. You’d make a great GM buddy.

  23. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Licht is nailing players because he is always picking in the top 10 and had OJ fall into his lap. hard to blow those year after year. If he would of drafted gas mask instead of VH he would be 4/4. Marpet, Godwin and Beckwith were good choices also to be fair.

  24. LakeLand Says:

    The problem I have with Kendell Beckwith..he’s a 4-3 ILB, nothing more and that’s the position that Kwon plays. He can play some OLB, but he’s out of position.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “And Licht has been more winner than loser.” Bucs record since Licht’s been on the job (2014): 22 wins – 42 losses. Yup, definitely been more winner than loser.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    Dewey – The problem with the VH3 pick was that he wasn’t an exceptional talent at corner, and if you’re drafting in the top 10, a corner needs to be exceptional if you’re taking them over a lineman. Yeah the Bucs did drop down to 11, so technically they’re out of the top 10, and the Bucs badly needed a corner, but VH3 didn’t just stand out. The Bucs want him to be Grimes since he’s small like Grimes, but Grimes is ridiculously quick, and VH3 wasn’t particularly fast or quick, like he didn’t dominate at anything and on film he never dominated. It could be worse, the Bucs could have taken Apple, and there’s still very much the chance that VH3 comes back healthy and is a solid, if not special, starter. Not giving up on VH3 yet.

    Also if the Bucs didn’t take VH3 the next logical choice would have probably been Sheldon Rankins, which would have been a solid pick – but not sure it would have done anything for the pass rush. I don’t think Tunsil was seriously on the board even before the gas mask stuff, the Bucs had to get defensive guys.

  27. Capt.Tim Says:

    They benched him. Then moved him to Nickel, where he continued to struggle, until he was. Hurt. And went on IR

    Did you even watch last season?
    How do you know he had a good camp? You at OneBuc everyday?
    Yeah- I doubt it.

    And Hargreaves didnt have a good rookie season- but I never judge players by their rookie season.

    If Hargreaves was on the field- he was targeted. Everyone here was screaming about his poor play for weeks.
    Guess you missed that too.

    Trust me- the kid is too small and too slow. I wish he was a rockstar.
    He aint

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh wait, I forgot about Scapegoat Smitty. He’s the one responsible for the 42 losses because Smitty & his coaches can’t develop the immensely talented group of defenders that Jason garnered to them. And no credit either to Smitty for any of those wins, those go to Licht and the offense.

  29. LakeLand Says:

    I believe coaching has a lot to do with VH111. I look at Daryl Worley and James Bradberry of the Carolina anthers. They were drafted in 2016 also, and play CB also. They looked worst than VH111 in 2016. But this season they looked like seasoned vets. Remember last season when Julio Jones went for 12-300 against them? This season Julio went for 11-198 in 2 games against them. These were 2nd and 3rd round draft picks in 2016.

  30. LakeLand Says:

    ***Carolina Panthers**

  31. Duke Says:


    VH 3 was the #1 rated corner in the draft. Apple picked ahead of him was criticized widely and He’s as likely to be cut than anything.

  32. LakeLand Says:

    The Bucs fired Lovie Smith because they didn’t like his defensive schemes, and his defensive coaching. But they turn around and hire Jon Hoke as their DB coach. Jon Hoke was Lovie DB coach in 2009 after Steve Wilks left. He coached the DBs from 2009-2014. Marc Trestman kept him on for his two losing seasons there. Finally John Fox let him go and the Bucs hired him as their DB coach. I don’t understand the Bucs football philosophy.

  33. LakeLand Says:

    Jon Hoke was the Chicago Bears DB coach from 2009-2104. From 2009-2012 with Lovie Smith. And from 2012-2014 with Marc Trestman. Those were some garbage Bears football teams. I don’t know why the Bucs hired him, I’m sure their were other options.

  34. JimmyJack Says:

    While Licht surely has to take most of the blame for the way this team is built the analysis and evaluation from the coaching staff is part of it too.

    A GM works best when he has a coaching staff that has a great pulse of their team and know which players and positions to adress.

    It seems very unlikely that Jason acted alone in using most of our free agent money to sign DJax…….a move that yielded no results. Everybody wants to hang Licht for our RB situation but I’m sure Dirk was more then comfortable trusting Doug to handle the load……..While Licht should have firmly stood up and pounded the table that he wasn’t going to bank on two injury prone players to provide QB pressure the Front Office collectively decided that DT(Baker) was the better move. Our corners were awful last year? Was Jason telling his staff that we’d be fine with our young players opposite Grimes or did the staff feel confident they could get these young players to play at a high level?

    The whole thing is a process. It’s not just Licht acting alone. His coaching staff is part of his team and probably the most important part. Yes, Licht is the one signing his name on the contracts and deserves most of the blame but I’m convinced that he would be able to make better moves if he had a staff that had a better feel for its team(not a team saying their unsure what their identity is halfway through the season). That’s why I was in the Gruden camp. In my dream Licht and his scouts would continue their draft success with Gruden helping target which free agents to sign and which positions to target in drafts. Not sure if it would have worked that way but that’s why I called it my dream.

    IMO Dirk sucks and his input is hindering Licht…….No way Dirk didn’t push for DJax above a DE and that alone is grounds for firing. Eff you Dirk you said you wanted a badass team and you lied.

  35. JimmyJack Says:

    ***END RANT***

    P.S. I have hope Dirk figures it out this year. Just don’t ask me why please.

  36. LakeLand Says:

    2009-2014, I type too fast

  37. JimmyJack Says:

    Lakeland that Hoke business makes sense.

    When Dirk got the job he hired M.Smith who runs an eerily similar defense to Lovie. Hiring M.Smith didn’t make any sense because we didn’t have the players to run Lovie defense properly.

    Dirk didn’t look at his team and hire the best fit for the players he had he hired a friend. Of course hiring Hoke didn’t make any sense because hiring Smith didn’t make any sense.

    The reason your not understanding the philosophy is because it’s been senseless……..Well senseless in the terms of how they expect to win. It only makes sense that they are buddies.

  38. JimmyJack Says:

    Wait…..my first line I said hiring Hoke made sense. Then later I said it didn’t make sense. I’m blowing my own mind. I guess that’s just what happens when you try to dissect the defensive philosophy that’s taken place with this team.

  39. LakeLand Says:


    Jon Hoke is a old school coach like Mike Smith

  40. Pickgrin Says:

    Drafting 4 starters with your 1st 4 picks is nothing less than an “A”.

    Licht has done that TWICE in the last 3 years. A feat not one other NFL GM has managed to accomplish in the same time frame.

  41. JimmyJack Says:

    Pick. I agree at this point he deserves an A. But those guys still have some grooming to do……Especially the two on defense. Still more to prove IMO

    Howard and Goodwin both look very capable of playing at a high level already and I see no reason to think those guys won’t still be starters years from now.

  42. Rod Munch Says:

    Capt.Tim – VH3 was benched by the same people that started Ryan Smith, so I don’t exactly put much into the coaching staffs decision. Also VH3 did have a good rookie year as rookie corners are generally not very good – that doesn’t mean VH3 was good his rookie year, he just had a good rookie year in that he started off bad and got better as the year went along, which is what you generally want. I do agree with him being too slow and too small, which is why I didn’t like the pick, but I think the too small and too slow is for where he was picked, he’s got enough talent to play in the NFL. Will he be an every down starter? I wouldn’t want him in that situation for now – but I think the team would be OK going into the season with him as the #3 guy, with a vet at #4 incase he does flake out.

    I don’t know what was going on last year but I do know everyone outside of Grimes looked terrible in that defense, and even Grimes was clearly not the guy he was the year before. Mike Smith playing guys 15 yards off the line of scrimmage is something I don’t get – and when it was happening people were blaming VH3 for doing that (which I pointed out was nonsense as the coaches would just yell at him to play closer if they wanted him closer). Obviously it was Smith’s “scheme” to leave opposing WR’s wide open underneath since it was by design since he kept doing it for the entire year.

  43. Radman Says:

    Not drafting a number 1 running back last year was foolish. They were available and he passed up rb’s because of Drug Martin.

  44. Joeypoppems Says:

    He drafted 4 starters. B+ is a fine grade for this past draft.

  45. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    It’s waaaaaaay too early to give Licht accolades for last year’s class. Waaaaay too many positive assumptions are being made. Remember how Hargreaves was boasted about after his rook season?

    The biggest jump a player tends to make is between years 1 and 2 and that usually has everything to do with coaching. I’m not confident in the developmental acumen of the current coaching staff and will kindly wait a little longer on a class I am personally highly suspect of.

  46. Owlykat Says:

    Obviously Licht was the worst GM in our Division and all three GMs for the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers improved their teams leaving loser Licht in the basement and we have the worst offensive and defensive lines because of long neglect by Licht. He also knew there were lots of outstanding RBs in the last draft and he stupidly took a Bust in the fifth round who didn’t have the brains to learn our playbook, all the time bragging he was not going to draft the RB the fans wanted because he was instead going to draft to get us into the playoffs. And how did he do fans? He is the BUST who should have already been fired!!!

  47. godzilla13 Says:

    Way to early to give up on Hargreaves. Granted in his rookie season, VH3 gave up the most receptions and most yards as the league’s most-targeted CB. However, VH3 only gave up one touchdown, but has allowed 71.8 percent of passes thrown into his coverage to be caught. He also produced a whopping 68 tackles (finished second in the NFL for most solo tackles by a corner), one forced fumble and one interception. After a slow start in 2017, he produced back-to-back strong outings against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7 and the Carolina Panthers in Week 8. Against Buffalo, he shifted to a nickel role, where he should be and did not allow a single catch while also recording a pass breakup. In Week 8 against Cam Newton and the Panthers, he was targeted seven times and only allowed two receptions for a mere 13 yards and recorded another pass breakup. VH3’s passer rating for both games was 39.6, which is considered “elite”. In ’16 PFF overall score for VH3 was 44.4. In ’17, he showed marked improvement, finishing out with a 72.8 score. Jason Licht’s legacy is more about the talent he has let go and about the lack of success in FA. Please re-sign Brent Grimes, there are to many other positions that need to be addressed. As far as the draft, a B+ is a little generous.

  48. Caradoc Says:

    LOL. You really don’t get “Why ASJ”?

    Same reason for Evans and a pass catching RB and signing McCown over Glennon and not getting an OC. The tank WAS IN before the draft. You don’t pass on a talent like Aaron Donald because you think you just need to get Josh some weapons and he can carry you. You draft a rebounding WR and a receiving TE for a new young QB.

  49. John meeks Says:

    Jason light has to learn (he better do it real quick)that you build a team from the trenches,if he selects one player that isn’t a ol,dl,his ass should be fired before he gets back to tampa!