Mr. Licht, Listen To Bill Belichick, Bill Polian & Shakespeare

April 25th, 2018


William Shakespeare never studied college tape of an inside linebacker from Appalachian State, yet the bard authored the most important piece of advice for any GM heading into an NFL draft.

To thine own self be true.

Allow me to update Mr. Shakespeare’s maxim for 21st-century audiences.

To thine own draft board be true.

This directive is particularly relevant for Jason Licht as he oversees his fifth draft for the Bucs. Defensive back and running back appear to be the top two priorities for this struggling organization, so there will be pressure to fill the most pressing needs in the first two rounds.

When talent coincides with need, it’s a beautiful thing. That’s not always the case– and that’s where so many personnel executives make critical mistakes on draft weekend.

Licht could very well be tested in that fashion Thursday night, with the Bucs sitting at No. 7. Suppose Saquon Barkley and Bradley Chubb are gone within the first six picks … a likely scenario?

What if Quenton Nelson is still sitting there when it’s Tampa Bay’s turn to hand a card in?

Surely, cornerback is more of a position of need for the Bucs than guard. Denzel Ward will probably still be available at that point, and he is widely considered the best corner in this draft. I’ve seen plenty of mock drafts that have the Bucs choosing Ward or safeties Derwin James or Minkah Fitzpatrick at No. 7, even with Nelson still available.

I’m not buying it.

Weak Sauce

Nelson is a better prospect than Ward, Fitzpatrick or James – simple as that. It would be a mistake to take a lesser player simply because he matches up better with your top need.

That’s weak. That’s a mistake. That shouldn’t happen.

First of all, it’s not like the Bucs don’t have a place for Nelson. He could combine with Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet in a formidable interior that would be dubbed “The Nasty Boys.”

I haven’t heard or read one draft pundit with anything negative to say about Nelson. Not one.

If Ward was as highly rated a cornerback prospect as former Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore, then Licht would have to consider taking him over Nelson. But he isn’t. End of story.

To thine own board be true.

When Bill Belichick talks football, we listen. From his lips to Licht’s ears.

“You put a card up on the board, that doesn’t mean the guy is a good player,” Belichick says. “I think it’s important to acquire good players wherever they are. If you take a player at a position that you might so called ‘need’ but he’s not good enough to fill that need, then it’s a wasted pick. So, I don’t understand the whole need thing. I understand player value, and that’s what we try to go by.”

That view is shared by Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, who arrived in Indianapolis in 1998 and promptly reeled off one of the great draft runs of the modern era.

Polian began his Colts tenure by selecting Peyton Manning, not a bad start. Then came Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, Dallas Clark, Robert Mathis and Bob Sanders — all in a span of seven years.

“The only caveat we had was if the need line crossed the talent line, and if there were three players there and one was in a need position and all the grades were equal, we’d lean toward the need, but never at the expense of best player available,” Polian said.

Board Rules

Licht spends an exorbitant amount of time with his scouts and coaches to set up Tampa Bay’s board. It makes no sense to abandon ship at the moment of truth.

“It does sound simple,” says Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf. “One works a long time to establish that board, to get that board in working order. We, more or less at that point, let the board tell us who to pick.”

There are logical exceptions, of course.

Even if the Bucs have Sam Darnold rated as the best player in the draft, Licht isn’t going to take him. Everybody understands that.

Nelson’s so intriguing, the Bears might be tempted to trade up from No. 8 to No. 6 just to vault past the Bucs and grab him. Landing Nelson would be an impressive start for the Bucs, another sign of their commitment to trench warfare this fall.

Picking a defensive back instead of Nelson? That’s an NFL sin, worthy of another Shakespeare line.

What’s done can’t be undone.

All-you-can-eat buffet available starting at 6 p.m. and runs all night long. Be there!! Joe and Ira Kaufman will be in the house with the Stick Carriers and The Commish. Raw energy and Bucs love everywhere.

30 Responses to “Mr. Licht, Listen To Bill Belichick, Bill Polian & Shakespeare”

  1. JJV Says:

    Well said Ira. Unfortunately none of the big 3 will be there at seven. It’s nice to have some hope I guess.

  2. SteveK Says:

    Big three or trade back to a QB hungry team!

    Drafting a lesser talent is a recipe for nfc s basement dwelling.

    Only way out of the basement is to get the best players available.

  3. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Can’t wait to see this play out.
    If the colts drafting Roquan is true I can see 3 QBs going and Nelson being there. There will also be a QB left at our pick. Very tempting but if AZ or BUF or NE call and make a good offer I’m taking it.
    I would rather have Guice/Michael, J. Jackson/Hughes/Oliver, and Hernandez/Wynn/Price. Rather than Nelson and just one of those two other position groups.
    If we stay put and get Nelson I will be ok with it for sure.
    If the big 3 are gone and 1 QB is left and we take Ward I will throw inanimate objects at the tv, bet that.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    “To be or not to be?”……That is the real question.

    We’ll know not soon enough for me…

    This will be an absolutely exciting top ten of the draft…..

  5. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Belichick would not use a premium pick like a #7, for a guard. No freaking way. He wouldn’t value that position so highly to warrant a pick that high. Wouldn’t matter if he needed one or not.

  6. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Really disappointed #TrenchWarfare didn’t take off as much as #weaponsforwinston last year.

  7. rrsrq Says:

    Ira, I can definitely agree with you, nelson can definitely change the face of the offense when it comes to running the ball and keeping Jameis upright – though Derwin James may not be ranked as high on the board and believe me I am a Miami Hurricane fan I believe James adds that same edge to the defensive secondary. In other words, I really. like Nelson, but I am not opposed to that same edge coming to the secondary and the defense.

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    Ira, better wear a hardhat!…

    Chicken wings will be flyin!!

    Nelson will be there at 7…

    Only hope for meatheat is his meathead mentor Steve Keim comes in and saves Licht from making a dumb move and trade with Arizona BUT!!!…

    We get only #15 and a 3rd round from Arizona and not 1st and 2nd round picks from Arizona! We will be had!

    Hit the floor! Foodfight

  9. stu Says:

    With the 7th pick in the 2018 NFL Selection Show, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Denzel Ward CB, THE Ohio State University…

  10. Andrew Says:

    This GM has drafted 19 offensive players and 9 defensive players in 4 years. That’s why our defense is ranked 32nd

    They no longer have the luxury of picking a guard at 7! One of the greatest LTs in history just retired never having a winning record!

    If Saquon is there, take him. Otherwise, stop being so terrible on defense in a division With 3 pro bowl QBs and littered with dangerous rbs.

  11. John meeks Says:

    You don’t pass on Nelson unless saquan is there, but he will go to the giants at pick2 .giants don’t seem to interested in a qb so saquan will be a nygiant.if Nelson is there at #7 then you get him!I don’t think he will make it to us but I’m praying he does.however,if Nelson isn’t there then our GM has to fix the secondary!


  12. John meeks Says:

    Joseph mama,if a guard graded out high enough,belicheat would take him

  13. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Licht spends an exorbitant amount of time with his scouts and coaches to set up Tampa Bay’s board


    Love to have seen the look on their faces when they picked Aguyao in the second round.

  14. Dave Pear Says:

    We should…
    But, what if…
    We need….
    You’re a moron…
    That’s idiotic….
    We HAVE to…
    That’s stupid…
    It has to be…
    You can’t possibly…
    We better…
    Trade down…
    Trade up…
    It depends…
    We need…
    It’s insane…
    I want…
    I agree…
    I disagree…


    Come on draft.
    This exercise in futility is killing me.

  15. Bucs Guy Says:

    Steven is 100% right. Big 3 or trade down.

  16. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    The best article of the year!

    Without question, this is my favorite Buc article I’ve read all year. Period. Kudos to ira for not only speaking the truth, but backing it up with inarguable concepts.

    The Bucs have always gone need and are perennial losers because of it.

    Fill the roster with talent.
    Continue operation trench warfare.


  17. unbelievable Says:

    Preach it Ira!

    @Lord C
    #TrenchWarfare2018 !!!

  18. DoSomething Says:

    Agree with you wholeheartedly however I think it’s a waste because there is no way Nelson is there at 7. Olinemen ALWAYS go sooner than these mocks say

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    This article was written just for you Defense Rules…

  20. Mikadeemas Says:

    Has Belicheat ever had a top ten pick!? Go Bucs…..Rookie of the year, all pro please!! Man, we deserve a little luck, for a change!!

  21. BoJim Says:

    If he is the last of the big 3 and is there at 7 you have to take him. That would be an upgrade of the line immediately. Ward will be knocked around and run over by the bigs. Hope all you guys that think the line sucks would be fine with Nelson???

  22. BucEmUp Says:

    Belicheat would never be picking at 7

  23. WutdaBucisthis Says:

    Oh…I tried…wish i knew the archives as others do…

  24. WutdaBucisthis Says:

    Lord Cornelius Says:
    April 25th, 2018 at 4:40 pm
    Really disappointed #TrenchWarfare didn’t take off as much as #weaponsforwinston last year.
    Oh…I tried…wish i knew the archives as others do…

  25. Gambelero Says:

    It was in Pollonius’s admonition to his son Laertes as he was going off to France for what would be considered college today. “To thine own self be true” followed a few pieces of advice that a man today would do well to speak to his own son. Modern expressions like “the clothes make the man” from “dress well, but not gaudy, for the clothes oft proclaim the man,” “follows not his own advice” from “recks not his own reed,” the self explanatory, “neither a lender nor borrower be,” and “beware of fair weather friends” (can’t remember this exactly) all come from this one short passage.

    And the words right before our great literary quote are Important too. He said. “And this above all else,” meaning that of all this great advice, the most important thing is to stay true to yourself.

  26. Dubcity06 Says:

    Ira knows his stuff. Listen to the sage Joes lol

  27. denjoe Says:

    Don’t listen to Ira Jason we don’t want another TE or Kicker!

  28. buccan8 Says:

    Can’t believe I’m typing or thinking anything that ISN’T about the Draft today (or some Marvel movie), but I really appreciated that, Gambelero 🙂

    See? Bucs fans are clearly the smartest in the division; if you don’t believe it, just ask us!

  29. firethecannons Says:

    YES!–finally someone has spoken the truth of why we must select Nelson over Derwin James Must!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Brandon Says:

    Nothing negative about Nelson… other than THAT HE’S A FREAKING GUARD… you can win big in the NFL with average guards… but not average CBs, not average DEs, not average QBs…. Guards should not be taken in the top 10..EVER!