Grading The Bucs

April 29th, 2018

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

It is as premature as it can be.

Really, draft grades should not be dished out until three seasons have passed.

Today, Joe is curious what the Bucs were graded for the first draft under inept Lovie Smith?  You know, the same draft in which Lovie green-lighted the selections of soon-to-be Hall of Famers ASJackwagon and Charles Sims?

But we live in an Amazon-shopping-from-your-phone, drive-through -fast-food, instant-Lotto-tickets, StubHub society. Folks want grades now!

So Vinnie Iyer delivers. He has studied the 2018 drafts of each NFL team and has concluded Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht deserves a B+ for this weekend’s effort.

In particular, Iyer liked how Licht added depth to the secondary in the second round by plucking a couple of defensive backs.

The Bucs made the nice early trade with the Bills and still landed the draft’s best defensive tackle in Vea at No. 12. It did come at the cost of missing out on Minkah Fitzpatrick and passing up on Derwin James, and the Bucs settled for more depth players in the secondary later. The terrific picks of Jones and Cappa for their running game push the grade back to “above above-average.” Jason Licht should have both Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston happy.

Thus far, Licht had been pretty strong in the second round. Noah Spence has been a disappointment and that’s because of that damned shoulder of his.

What about ASJackwagon? Well, as Licht often says, his experience is draft picks bust out more often than not from what is above their shoulders.

Joe has seen some wild things in his decades of sportswriting but Joe cannot think of an incident that tops Dirk Koetter running off ASJ from an underwear football practice. A close second is ASJ going all Bob Gibson in St. Louis collecting a personal foul for fastballing a football against a stadium wall after he was tackled at the goal line, forcing the Bucs to back up to the Rams-16.

(No, Joe has not forgotten ASJ pulling off the Capt. Morgan stunt that likely cost the Bucs a win.)

47 Responses to “Grading The Bucs”

  1. Trench War Says:

    Joe, is QB Ryan Griffin eligible for the practice squad? I can’t find the answer.

  2. Kalind Says:

    Don’t forget Roberto….

  3. JA Says:

    This post is off topic, but important as it is directed at all the Jameis haters. You know who you are. You are the 25% of Joe posters that had the misfortune of being dropped on your head as babies (hopefully by accident). I’m sad to say that the AMA (that’s the American Medical Association) has released several studies stating that your condition is terminal.
    However, recent rogue experiments in Transylvania have shown vast improvements to patients who were strapped to a chair and given an electric shock to the cranium every time they were confronted with a fact they believed to be untrue.
    For instance: many patients thought it was Tuesday when it was actually Wednesday. Then, after a few zaps to the skull, they caught on quick. The same result occurred when they were asked if Jameis Winston is a good quarterback. After a few zaps (many eyes were reported to extend two inches beyond the eye socket during the zap before returning to normal after the power was turned off) it was reported that he had become their favorite football player.
    Before the Winston zaps were administered each deformed brain was presented with these indubitable facts:
    Tom Brady’s first three years as a starting QB—69 touchdowns, 38 interceptions, 36 fumbles, 10,227 passing yards.
    Jameis Winston’s first three years as a starting QB—69 touchdowns, 44 interceptions, 31 fumbles, 11,636 passing yards.
    Before the question was asked, each patient was briefed that Brady only threw three passes his first year (not included in this comparison as he was Bledsoe’s backup) and that he was 26 years old after his third starting season. Jameis was 23 years old (24 on 1/6/18) after his third starting season.
    Now, if you’re still a hater after reading these stats and you don’t have the funds to travel to Transylvania, you can do the experiment a home with a bare ended wire on a cord with a plug, an assessable electric outlet, wet hands, and a former girlfriend that hates your guts.
    Good luck!
    Hope your condition improves in the immediate future.

  4. Trench War Says:

    By the way from all the off season moves and Licht’s draft this season, I give him an A. Will it translate into a winning season? Well losing our franchise QB for a game or 2 and a slate of tough opponents to start the season doesn’t bode well for success on paper, but this camp, and preseason games should give us a better ideal. One really positive thing for sure is that our depth has gotten deeper as far as talent accumulation.

  5. SOEbuc Says:

    Just saw these two UDFA DEs we picked up. Demone Harris (Buffalo) and Evan Perrizo (Minn. State). I like both of them. At least for depth. Watch their highlights.

  6. LakeLand Says:

    I give Jason Licht an C for the draft

  7. SOEbuc Says:

    Also like QB Austin Allen (Arkansas). He’s a gun slinger that can move outside the pocket.

  8. Bossmode Says:

    I give the draft a B I only question the MJ pick but you never know who better when your whole become football

  9. Casual Observer Says:

    A for off season and draft. All on paper now, of course.

  10. Bossmode Says:


  11. Warrenfb12 Says:

    I would disagree with Licht being strong in the second round. ASJ, Noah Spence has been glass (and will continue to be as a lineman with a chronic labrum/rotator cuff issue), and uhhh Roberto Aguayo….imo he had one good/decent year with the smith/Marpet picks. That said, Smith is the definition of inconsistent, and Marpet has been bungled by the coaching staff

  12. Joeypoppems Says:

    B+ is about where I would put it. A- even. The only pick I dont really get is Jordan Whitehead just because he is a similar player to Justin Evans. But we will see how it works out.

    It looks good on paper. Hopefully it will translate to the field.

  13. adam from ny Says:

    i give the draft a B range…no B+…a B or B-…

    B is for #Ballers

    no more seize the day crap …

    #BuccaneerBallers #BucBallerGang #GangGangGang

    Sapp would say: #GangWarfareInTheTrenches


  14. Marine Buc Says:

    I will give this draft a B. We added hopeful starters at DT, RB and possibly Cornerback. We added much needed depth at offensive line, defensive backs and linebacker. I also noticed Licht picked players who might be able to play multiple positions. A guard that can play tackle in a pinch and defensive backs who can play both safety and corner. This kind of flexibility is crucial toward the end of the season when injuries begin to mount.

  15. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    I like the draft give it a B now, the WR pick i dont understand

  16. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Trading down just five slots to pick up two more second round picks was a great move! Licht still could have drafted Derwin James, the odds on favorite in almost every single mock draft that I saw (and many fans, too), but I loved the selection of Vita Vea. I never supported drafting a safety too high especially if there are good safeties out there in later rounds or free agency. An underrated move was to trade down again in the second round to pick up a third rounder. I wouldn’t support drafting a guard too high either, although Cappa might have been had in later rounds (we’ll just never know). The secondary and defensive line are totally overhauled. Go Bucs!

  17. SOEbuc Says:

    I really wanted Ronnie Harrison with the MJ Stewart pick but I guess if they added two CBs there was more space for S already having Tandy and Conte on the roster.

  18. Walktheplank Says:

    Wr maybe a back up to Evans if he gets injured we would have another big guy who can go up and catch the ball. Plus should be a good red zone player.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    At least Licht has some success… about Mark “Poop Star” Dominick?…..what a disaster….I think we may finally have overcome his failure….or, maybe not quite yet.

  20. OneBucPerson Says:

    I’ll give this class an A-, we went with luxury over need at 1 but I understand why we did it, plus netting those 2 extra 2nd round picks was a masterclass by Licht. Jones was a good pick but we could’ve had Josh Jackson, and Stewart was okay but we could’ve had Oliver. Loved the Davis and Cappa picks to give us more physicality and size on both offense and defense, and with Cappa’s edition we have an option to cut Sweezy and save some money. I’m not high of the Whitehead pick, he’s too small to play SS which was where we had a need last year plus we could’ve had Kyzir White who went a few picks after. Loved the Watson and Cichy picks, solid depth picks and Watson could get some playing time if we ever decide to get rid of Hump/Djax. Over all this was a good draft that could’ve been a lot better. Still we should be really good in 2018.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Speaking for Pablo who breaks down the Draft

    “Pablo is crushed that Hason didn’t move up for Hernandez….but Pablo likes some of the picks like Ronald Hones, Hordan Whitehead, Hustin Watson & Hack Cichy…..Pablo thinks it will be a thing of beauty to see Haboo hand off to Hones… Hordan Whitehead can handle Hulio Hones and Hustin Watson will eventually replace Dhax and sorry Hoe Dirt, Hack will replace you. Pablo is happy that Hason drafted Dbacks instead of punters like the Hoes suggested”

  22. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The re”Vita”lized Dline is what I love.

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    “the WR pick i dont understand”

    Do a little research on the kid.

    Would have been top 5 in every measurable if he’d been invited to the combine. VERY productive at Penn. He looked great at the East West game which earned him a Senior Bowl invite where he also looked good. Even sought out the special teams coach asking to play on every ST unit because he knows that’s how he will have to work his way into the NFL initially. Smart kid obviously. Big and FAST and very athletic. He’s 6’3″ with a 40″ vertical and runs a 4.39 – 40. Watson could have MAJOR upside for a 5th rd pick…

  24. Buccfan37 Says:

    I give the Bucs draft an incomplete grade. I haven’t seen them play for the Bucs yet, seeing is believing and I’ll believe it when I see it down the road in a few months. JP… no Jameis haters, just Jameis hopers.

  25. JabooBuc Says:

    JA- Well done!!!!

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    Your first statement was the best one Joe … “It is as premature as it can be.”

    Before the draft, most JBFers seemed to hoping that we could find a starting RB, OG, CB & SS in this draft, as a minimum. Depth for the DLine & Oline was also on the menu. We picked up some pretty good players (college level) for ALL those positions, BUT … they’re ALL rookies, and haven’t won anything yet. None of us (even the coaches) have any idea at THIS point if any of them will EARN starting positions. A lot of learning needs to take place between now & September. Should be an interesting 4 months ahead.

  27. NFLNut Says:


    Good stuff!

    I have mentioned IQ on this site a lot … some people simply don’t have the IQ necessary to analyze data and draw sound conclusions … it’s sad but true.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    @OneBucPerson … “I’m not high of the Whitehead pick, he’s too small to play SS.” Kinda felt the same way, at first, but now starting to warm up to what he might bring to the table. Bucs don’t have the fastest corners in the world, and having safeties behind them with speed is a definite advantage IMO. Whitehead’s a little smallish for a safety (5’10” 198 lbs) but he’s faster than any of our corners (4.45 in the 40). Plus the things I’ve read about him say that he’s physical (233 tackles in 3 yrs despite missing multiple games for arm injury in 2016 & 3-game suspension to start 2017).

    Interestingly Whitehead’s the same weight as Justin Evans (though 2″ shorter) but he’s a lot faster based on his reported 40 time. What’s strange is that evaluators last year also projected Evans to be a Strong Safety.

  29. JabooBuc Says:

    I have to say I am truly impressed by what Licht and his staff have done with this roster during this offseason. Heading into free agency I thought this roster, particularly the defense, looked bad. Our DLine was bad and our secondary was bad. That is not a recipe to compete in this league and especially not in this division.

    However, after this draft -albeit it’s still a projection, this team now appears to have the following:
    – 2 deep talent at each position on the DLine.
    – 2 deep talent at each position in the secondary
    – a top LB group
    – better talent at RB
    – better talent at OL
    – better depth at WR
    – possibly best TE group in league
    – one of the best, if not best, young QB in the league
    – one of the best punters in the league
    – competition at K

    Now, you may say i am looking at this with rose colored glasses and this team has yet to play a down together. However, I do not know how you can argue that this organization hasn’t spent money wisely to improve vital needs, mainly O and D lines. Then used the draft to effectively address the remaining gaps

    You can argue they took the best RB in the draft behind Barkley. I’ve said it before, Guice will be a bust in the league not because of talent but because he’s mental. Jones is a home run threat they needed similar to what NO has in Kamara.

    Overall, i would give Licht a strong A for this entire offseason. Now, let’s hope Dirk and his staff can make that translate on the field.

  30. Mog2010 Says:

    A- very happy Bucs fan, liked Licht’s strategy, could only argue a couple of the picks but satisfied that we are a better team than last week. Still hopln for a fa safety

  31. Reezy Says:

    Is Stevie V still on he team? Wouldn’t that be some decent depth for rotation along the defensive line?

  32. kgh4life Says:

    I think Jason Licht deserves a solid B+ for this draft. What is clear is that Jason wanted to get more physical on both sides of the ball: with the overhaul of the d-line, the Jensen signing and the two DB’s picked in the second round of the draft, it seems Jason accomplished his objective.

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Players I would like to see brought in as undrafted free agents:

    • RB Dimitri Flowers
    Flowers may be viewed by some teams as a luxury, but he’s the type of luxury item that will pay for itself over time. Flowers could be an early starter thanks to his ability to plug into so many roles for teams operating out of a variety of personnel groupings.

    Tough and reliable
    Versatility helped to improve balance for Sooner offense
    Used as an H-back
    Can operate as downhill iso blocker or as move blocker in space
    Trusted with trap blocking talented Ohio State defensive tackles
    Capable of adjusting blocks to moving targets
    Able to stick and sustain against cornerbacks and safeties coming to help in run support
    Respect for him as a blocker allows him to sneak past defenses into the flat or up the field in play-action
    Good pass catcher with natural hands
    Never dinged for a dropped pass
    Can be used in pass protection on third down
    Able to help on special teams and as a short-yardage ball carrier

    • DE Marcell Frazier
    Hard-charging defensive end who wins with skill and motor over athletic traits.

    • LB Tegray Scales
    Highly instinctive linebacker who combines a keen sense of play direction with a feel for the optimal angles to fill up the stat sheet. 13 sacks over last 2 seasons. Could be developed as a DE.

    • OG Tony Adams
    Three year starter. Adams plays with plus balance and body control and it’s rare to see him fall off of blocks.

    • OT Desmond Harrison. Played against inferior talent, but looked good at times. Inconsistent. Worth at least seeing if he can be molded into depth at OT.

  34. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Trench War Says
    “…is QB Ryan Griffin eligible for the practice squad?”

    Yes. Kind of a waste though. If he doesn’t have the potential to be good, they should find someone else to put there and develop.

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Buccaneers land UDFA RB Donnie Ernsberger
    Buccaneers nab Arkansas QB Austin Allen

  36. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    RB Donnie Ernsberger
    Sized like a Mike Alstott. Talent? No idea.

    QB Austin Allen
    Total camp meat.

  37. Joeypoppems Says:


    Tony Adams is the only guy you listed that hasnt been signed yet lol. The others all signed last night or this morning.

  38. Joe Says:

    Don’t forget Roberto….

    Like many Bucs fans, Joe was doing a good job of forgetting. 🙁

  39. Bucko40 Says:

    For the Winston Apologists. Brady was 34-12 in first 3 seasons with 2 Super Bowl wins. Stats are for losers which fans fans are used to.

  40. Bucko40 Says:

    4 years of failure to improve the OL downgrades any Bucs draft to a C or worse. The Bucs will never succeed until the build a wall in front of their QB.

  41. Mike Johnson Says:

    I give Our Bucs a B- more like a Strong C +ish for the draft. I think we have 4 sure shots to make the team. The others are gonna really have to work extra hard to make the squad.

  42. Alanbucsfan Says:

    All the picks should make the team
    We sucked last year, remember?

  43. JabooBuc Says:

    Bucko40- what a genius post! Let’s play this out in real life shall we? Let’s say you sold cars and in your first 3 years with your company you exceeded the sales of almost all others that had sold the same cars over the same period. However, over that same period of time, your car company failed to make it’s yearly plan.

    Now, do you still think stats are for losers? Given that scenario, pretty sure you could throw those stats on a resume and make a really strong case for another car company to pay you top dollar. After all, you excelled but your overall team performed poorly.

    So, given JW’s stats, do you really think he couldn’t go to another team as one of the highest coveted FA’s of all time? If so, I’d agree with JA in that you probably need some electric shock therapy. Again, for the record, JW put last year’s team in position to win at least 9 games last year only to watch the defense give at least 4 away. Think of it this way, you sold enough cars to potentially make your entire company’s plan but then your service department F’d it up and your customers returned the cars.

    BTW, Brady inherited an already world class team. In case you didn’t know, Bledsoe took that team to the playoffs and then got hurt. Brady did a great job filling in but who’s to say Drew would not have done the same.

  44. ComeOnJoe Says:

    LOL JA

  45. ComeOnJoe Says:

    If you’re grading this draft or any draft you must first have some perspective. If you are one of the posters that think 1st and 2nd round draft picks are generally sucessful, then you are not qualified to grade this or any draft. About 50% of 1st round picks are not successful. Less than 50% of 2nd round picks are successful. From the 4th round on, very very few players are successful. Don’t believe me go look. Pick a team that you think drafts well and look at their recent drafts. The best GMs find 2-3 players each draft. I personally think the Vikings draft well but go check their 2016 draft. If Licht didn’t select your guy, it doesn’t mean he was wrong.

  46. Owlykat Says:

    lly bad game.

    At the same time, I’m still not sure I understand why our brain trust preferred Davis to Oliver. My guess is Davis is a more physical corner, seems to be stronger and a more aggressive tackler. I suppose I see that. But Oliver does things in coverage that are truly amazing. I just can’t understand how Oliver + Stewart or some other safety/slot prospect is not better than Stewart + Davis. I dearly hope I’m wrong.

    In any case, Davis doesn’t worry me too much; Stewart does. I would love to know what Licht saw in him to rate him so highly.


    Posted by TampaToo on Apr 28, 2018 | 4:33 PM reply rec (2) flag
    I Give Licht an A Plus on This Draft

    If Licht had been drafting BPA for Need all along we’d have been at the top of our Division for years. So I give him an A Plus for finally wising up. If you study our DC’s best defense he had at Jacksonville he had two big DL in the middle of his front four. Licht finally has gotten what our DC needs to succeed this year. Vita Vea is a major DL talent who will stop the run and absorb double teams and still push the pocket back in QB’s face so he can’t step up and throw as PFF and Vinny crash in on him and likely McCoy will easily get through his one blocker and be on top of the QB at the same time. We have great LBs who now will be a lot more effective since opposing linemen won’t be able to block them now. They can start VHIII at CB but our DC must let him play his game jamming the receiver at the line of scrimmage which delays the pass play and helps the DEs get to the QB. VHIII has a good back pedal to stay with the receiver until the Safeties can pick them up and VHIII can step in front for interceptions. They should also try Smith there doing press coverage and backpedal too. But before the season is over I would expect our new biggest corner to take over that position and match up best with the big receivers. Our All Pro On his side does fine playing off and should continue doing so. At Safety Evans is a great Free Safety, a good playmaker, with range, and now good tackling skills. Conte should still be used when playing SS in the box. He is a great tackler and has play making skills but has been about a step slow too often in the past covering receivers. That is the biggest asset of Whitehead. He is very fast like Evans and is a good tackler and should start at SS once he gets experience. Both he and and Evans likely could do well on Safety Blitzes every once in awhile. The fact that Whitehead has played very well at RB at Pitt too makes him a possible asset there if Jones should get injured. If none of our CBs look exceptional starting at CB Tandy should be tried at that position since he was a Star CB at W.Va. He also can play well at both Safety positions if needed and is great on Special Teams. I would be thrilled if Sweezy can return to his Seattle form after his latest surgery. But it is very unlikely he will have the flexibility to get low. So thank goodness Cappa can play Guard to replace Sweezy. Cappa also is an accomplished pass blocker at LT in case D. Smith keeps missing his pass blocks and getting penalized for holding. He can be moved there and D. Smith can move inside and would be a great Guard.
    Or if Dotson goes down again Cappa can play there too. With Jensen at Center and Marpet back at Guard we will be able to better protect Jameis and open big holes for Jones. If we can’t afford Jackson next year, Godwin can replace him as our deep threat, and next year if Evans should be injured, by that time Justin Watson, with as much speed as Evans, and great hands could step in for him. We have Benenoch as a good replacement Guard. and Smith as a backup Center/G, and we have a real good second string DL to platoon with our Defensive Line Starters so we can stop teams with defense at the end of games. Licht has put Koetter and Smitty in a great position to win this year with his skillful Draft this year, and I really like Cece as a future starter for our Linebacker positions and a good Special Team’s Player now. Stewart should push VHIII at Inside CB and contribute to Special Teams as well.

  47. Joe Says:

    I’m still not sure I understand why our brain trust preferred Davis to Oliver.

    Story coming at 5 a.m. that will answer your question.