What Jason Licht Hopes For

April 11th, 2018


Remember how Jason Licht once made a habit of jumping into his pool after he returned home from a Bucs victory?

On draft night, he might be tempted to hurl himself into the Gulf while howling at the moon.

Hard to believe, but speculation continues that Saquon Barkley could still be standing atop the draft board when it’s Tampa Bay’s turn at No.7. That scenario sounds crazy, but there’s a chance Barkley slips past the Browns (twice), the Giants, the Jets, the Broncos and the Colts.

And if that’s the case, the Bucs should waste no time turning in a card with Barkley’s name on it.


As much as I love Quenton Nelson, if the Notre Dame guard and the Penn State running back are somehow both available for the Bucs, I’m going with Barkley.

It’s a beautiful thing when talent and need meet head-on at the top of your draft board.

“Saquon Barkley is a transformational back,” gushes NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. “I would put him in the same category as Fournette, Gurley, and Zeke Elliott, all of whom have been Top 10 picks and made their teams better immediately.”

Nelson’s a stud and Bradley Chubb looks like the real deal, but in sheer terms of need, running back and cornerback top the Buccaneer priority list. And there’s no way Denzel Ward grades out higher than Barkley on Licht’s draft board.

Supporting Cast

Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys player personnel guru who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor, says Barkley “might be the best running back to come out of college since Barry Sanders.”

That’s almost 30 years ago.

I know what some of you are thinking– the Lions didn’t do much while Sanders was fashioning a majestic career.

That’s true, but take a gander at the men under center during Detroit’s decade with Sanders: Erik Kramer, Rodney Peete, Bob Gagliano, Scott Mitchell, Dave Krieg, Charlie Batch and Frank Reich.

In Tampa, Barkley would be joining an offense with Jameis Winston at the helm and one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL.

Big difference.

Saquon Barkley

“My top-ranked overall prospect in this class, Barkley can do it all,” says ESPN’s Todd McShay. “An explosive runner with a rare combination of size, speed, body control and competitiveness, he ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine — at 6-foot, 233 pounds. That’s just silly. His lateral agility is terrific and he can make defenders miss in a phone booth or run away from them in the open field. He’s also a nightmare to deal with as a kickoff returner.”

Can you imagine the uproar in Tampa if the Bucs pass on Barkley at No. 7 for a defensive back? The Stick Carriers would be marching up Dale Mabry carrying spears.


I just can’t see it. I can’t see Licht pinning his professional future on a Minkah Fitzpatrick if Barkley’s still on the board.

Mayock has it right.

“You talk about the last three or four running backs that went in the Top 10, which were Fournette, Ezekiel Elliott went at 4, Gurley went at 10, McCaffrey went at 8,” he said. “They’re the last four Top 10 backs. They’ve all helped their teams become better. I could make the case that this kid Barkley is the best of those guys, best of all five of them. He’s clean off the field. And he’ll be great in your locker room. I would be absolutely stunned if this kid doesn’t go in the Top 5.”

What’s not to like? Barkley would have an immediate impact on the field and at the turnstile. On paper, this offense would look dynamic.

Licht is hoping to roll a natural at No. 7. He’s hoping for Saquon Barkley.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

60 Responses to “What Jason Licht Hopes For”

  1. Hodad Says:


  2. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    Going to say what I keep saying. I am bearish on Saquons game. He’s a lateral runner who doesnt break tackles or fight through contact.

    Theres a good chance he will struggle in translating to the pros where the huge holes at the LOS are gone, and the ability to beat the defense to the edge is greatly diminished.

    I could be wrong, but I think his best feature is his ability in space. The last RB who we had who was good in space but has flutter feet behind the LOS didnt work out so well for us. Sure, comparing Saquon to Sims is unfair, but I just dont believe that his style of running will translate well.

    He will be better than Sims, but theres a high risk he doesnt cut it as your every down back who can bang out the tough 4-5 yard gains on first down.

    Trade down, use the 2 picks on Guice and an OG. OG will help run game and help Winston. You also still have our 2nd rd pick for a CB.

    IMO. This is a no-brainer

  3. Seminole Bill Says:

    Barkley is for sure a AAA-rated running back, but (and now here comes the “but”), the Bucs need help, big help, on defense. And so, if Chubb is still there at No. 7 – take him. This stick carrier will be just fine with Chubb joining JPP as our newest DL’s. Let’s re-build the defense. We won the Super Bowl with that recipe.

  4. Humpty Dumpty Says:

    I still think that the Browns will take him at 4 and that all of this will be a moot point. We will draft either Chubb or Nelson if one or the other is still there and pick up either Michel or Penny in round 2. Just my opinion and thoughts. No matter what happens, draft night should be exciting!

  5. GhostofSchiano Says:

    I am of the opinion that Nelson, Marpet and our new center will create holes and running lanes that my old overweight out of shape body could gain 2-4 yards running behind these road pavers.

    Agree with Jolly Bucs Fan assessment. Looked at some video and he is right.

    A great o-line can make an average back look good.

  6. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    To clarify, Saquon could totally modify his game. He certainly has the leg strength to fight for extra yards, it just hasnt shown up on tape.

    I made the point on another post that its possible that in college he just hasnt needed to. He knows he can fall down for a 1 yard gain, take a hand-off the next play and take it 100 yards to the house. So he could 100% go out and be elite. The problem is he shown those skills that I think are necessary in translating to the NFL, and therefore he is a huge Boom or Bust prospect.

  7. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    *hasn’t shown those skills

  8. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    Gotta take Barkley don’t we??? Doubt seriously he’s still available at 7!!! now if Chubb is around I would say yah we need to lock him up!!! I feel there will be quality running backs available in the second round. Isn’t all this speculation exciting. Lets all come back when it’s over and see who was right and who was out in left field!!!!! GO BUCAROOS!!!!

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    I can see it now…..we select barkley at 7 and go defense the rest of the way with an development OG in the late rounds……we depend on sweezy but he has a repeat performance of last year, and everyone will be screaming barkley is a bust…..lol…..

    barkley over nelson is insane…..this draft is deep with quality RB’s……continue the theme and fix the trenches!!!!!…..

    drafting nelson would provide protection for Winston and open run lanes…..if we draft nelson, barber might get 1400 yards!!!!!

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!

  10. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Preach it Ira!!! Do we want to win THIS year or are we still just rebuilding.

    813 has brainwashed me…lol…no excuses…WIN THIS YEAR.

    Barkley is the ONLY immediate impact player in this league. Sorry for the naysayers but I gotta believe the lineup of experts that Ira just presented.
    Forgive me if I believe Gil Brandt and Mike Mayock over any of we JBF posters.
    Like Ira suggested Brandt could be HOF. As Mayock says…

    “What’s not to like? Barkley would have an IMMEDIATE IMPACT on the field and at the turnstile. On paper, this offense would look dynamic.”

    Emphasis was added by me but RB has always been the position that can contribute from day one….MORE than any other position…save perhaps WR…and even then I’m not sure.

    There is no doubt in my mind given their tenuous job security and the DEMAND to win now that Licht and Koetter would view Barkley as the culmination of their fantasies.

    We would have NO needs on offense save perhaps for OL…depending on who can pick up in the draft or otherwise. The need for OL is not dramatic.

    Again….remember “Turtle Hamster” constantly getting through holes only to be pulled down from behind…..ALL of those plays would have been six points if Barkley was toting the rock. He’s 6 230 he can handle inside.

  11. DB55 Says:

    If anyone has bust written all over him it’s Barkley. That fact that Mike Mayock likes him should clue you in that it’s a bad pick.

    Screenshot this and @me after week 6

  12. Aaron Says:

    I’m drafting one of the big 3 if they are there but I’m 100% listening to offers…I’d say if we have to take a little less make the trade…we can grab a G, RB and CB further down the draft.

    I’m on Jolly’s side here – I have no idea if Barkley can run between the tackles and take on a hit, or 2 or 3 at the same time.

    I’m way over the draft – most rookies, out side of maybe a running back, have zero impact their 1st year.

    Go Bucs!

  13. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    Great straightforward take on Saquon Ira. It’s nice to have such sensible, plain football talk written here in these columns on JBF.

    A couple things though….

    This same column (in terms of the “take” on Saquon’s worth and talent) could have, and should also have been written just like this 30 days ago, and 60 days ago. Just because we are 2 weeks from the draft, doesn’t all of a sudden bring clairvoyance to what THIS BUCS FAN has been saying all along, since forever ago.

    And the parting with 1-3 (likely some future too) doesn’t make Saquon’s worth any less, or marginalized to the Buccaneer franchise as a whole. The stud was the same a year ago, 6 months ago, a Combine ago, a month ago, and today. His worth is the same to the Bucs through all of those varied time periods.

    And the comment, about Saquon’s impact “at the turnstile” surely was made by this cat right here, the one typing now, a LONGGGG time ago, when no one was listening, no one could have the good sense of the forest through the trees on the TOTAL worth of Saquon to the Glazers, the NFL scheduling in 2019 and beyond, the season ticket holder fan base, the NFL Media onslaught continually….ETC, ETC, ETC. This guy. And it was crickets out there.

    Bottom line…to all….Saquon is STILL worth that, everything Ira wrote, even with needing to separate a few draft picks from Licht’s arsenal, if necessary. Everything Ira wrote is still true, regardless.

    Go Bucs! Go Bold! Go Barkley! Go Primetime!

  14. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    *1-3 draft picks part of which will include future years

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Prediction: Barkley will lead league in running back receptions and will have one of worst yards per carry average among running backs. He will be facing NFL speed linebackers, not college. He will sell alot of jerseys and maybe some tickets. In other words, Reggie Bush II

  16. SB Says:

    Chubb over Barkley all day and Twice on Sundays.

  17. Destinjohnny Says:

    Time will show u that Sony is just as good?

  18. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    There are NOT RB’s in this draft that compare to Barkley and it’s not really close.
    That’s not to say there aren’t effective backs to be had simply that they are not “generational”.

    Look at Marshall Faulk’s draft. He went 2nd in the draft…next RB’s in order were
    #25 Greg Hill
    #34 Errict Rhett
    #38 Chuck Levy?
    #42 Charlie Garner
    #44 Mario Bates

    Some familiar names…a few taken later…but NONE of these guys could carry Marshall Faulk’s jock!!!!

    It’s the same this year if you believe Gil Brandt and a HUGE group of other NFL talent evaluators. Brandt says Barkley is the best back since Barry Sanders!!!

    Also selected in the top ten that year were Tim Worley and Sammie Smith with some other familiar names who had nice careers but again could not even carry Barry Sanders jock.

    If we’re not going to hunt with the big dogs and go all in…let’s just stay on the porch. Any player in this draft including the big three can bust. There are no sure things….but Barkley is the closest at RB in a long time.

    AGAIN….faster than any of the recent top ten backs selected…large 233 lbs
    Walter football says this about Barkley’s freshman year…kid was consistently good to great.

    Barkley was very impressive as a freshman in 2015 when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,076 yards with seven touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 161 yards and a score. Barkley was very impressive running for 194 yards on 26 carries against an Ohio State defense loaded with NFL talent. Barkley is a tough runner with a burst.

  19. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    Did you FOOLS edit my take????

  20. Lamarcus Says:


    This draft is land mine. Full of bust prospects waiting to happen including Barkley

  21. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    I hope Barkley gets picked before we pick. Can’t begin to imagine the backlash the FO would get if we passed on him. Not the pick we need, especially with an RB class this deep. If Nelson or Chubb is available, that’s the pick.

  22. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Seriously, I saw one mock draft, that had Cleveland taking Barkley at number one!
    They were talking about this on NFL Network, and no one was ridiculing the Browns, if this were to happen. Of course, unknown sources were saying that the Browns did not feel Barkley would be there at number 4.
    It all depends on what QB the Browns are targeting, if this scenario unfolds.
    IF the Browns feel that QB will be there at #4, they just might pull the trigger on Barkley, at number one.

  23. Ed Says:

    Draft is like gambling, some win, some lose. You can get good running backs in round 2 and 3, I’d rather have Nelson since this team lacks physical guys on offense, he has a reputation of knocking people’s heads off.

    The Bucs need mean now. They need hard nosed players that play hard right up to the whistle, team has been soft, Nelson is supposed to be a bad-ass.

    That’s the way I’d go if he’s there.

  24. JimmyJack Says:

    It’s very doubtful the Bucs get much of a choice here. All they can do is wait, and sweat it out.
    Either Chubb, Barkley or Nelson fall to us or they dont. There’s close to no chance we get any choice in the matter…… The same with trade down options. That may or may not be an option, and the most likely way a trade is an option is if all of the Big 3 are gone.

    Don’t really matter who we want. The Bucs won’t be able to pick and choose. Really adds some drama to the 7 choices in front of us.

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    Of course the Bucs could trade up and then be able to choose but it sure sounds like Licht would be happy with Nelson. He also can’t pass on Chubb or Barkley or fans might riot. With 3 players that we could really use don’t see much need to trade up.

  26. JonBuc Says:

    Licht’s Out is 1/2 way thru his Gruden-like contract of 10 years ( guaranteed ). He ain’t scared…as long as he keeps his .333 winning/losing percentage alive.

  27. Broodlaw Says:

    Chubb just isn’t going to be there at 7 at all, Giants still need a DE since they traded us JPP and they want someone to pair with Oliver Vernon. Plus the Colts are right ahead of us too. I’d like Barkley though he may be gone at 7, if he isn’t then take him for sure. However if not then hopefully we can find someone to trade back a few picks and get someone like Guice who could be pretty good in his own right too.

  28. Pete Says:

    Watch for this-
    Browns – Barkley
    Giants – QB
    Jets – QB
    Browns – Nelson

  29. BoJim Says:

    Yep. Works for me.

  30. gotbbucs Says:

    Why so many games where he just didn’t do squat? Why did they only give him about 15 carries a game on average? There were some bad Big Ten schools that held him under 3 yards per carry.
    I really don’t think he’ll be the best RB to come out of this draft. I think the difference between Barkley, Juice, and Chubb is a lot smaller than everybody thinks.

  31. DB55 Says:


    Nelson or trade down

  32. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Guys google is your friend. Barkley is TWENTY FIVE pounds heavier than Bush.

    They do not have similar styles. Barkley is far more complete which is why Gil Brandt, Ira and others are so sold on him.

  33. BucEmUp Says:

    I would have to choose Chubb over Barkley just so they can pair him with jpp, and prove that Mike Smith was the reason this defense sucked all along. If it were me I would go Nelson but doubt he make it to 7

  34. Lamarcus Says:


    Idk about Nelson. I was on his bandwagon. Here is my issue

    Played next to a very good LT
    Notre Dame conference had some weak dline
    2 year starter and injuries

    If we were a team coming off success then yeah a guard at 7 but needs a future RB, RT, DE, SS,CB, and lots of depth not named Tandy. I wouldn’t cry if we did Nelson

  35. Lamarcus Says:

    Idk think Barkley showed up much on the field during games. But he blows the combine away. Judging be his combine he will elite automatically. But judging from his games he is a sure fire bust.

  36. Duke Says:


    Excellent points.
    If you take all his runs and count runs +4yds he is below anyone of those backs you and Ira mention. Same thing but +10yds and He is below them also.
    How much below, well not one RB drafted in RD 1 is below him. FBS avg…below That avg too.

    Work out warrior??????

  37. JAB83 Says:

    Bring in Adrian Peterson to pair with Barber and Quiz. Make sure the RB you draft can return kicks.

    If Barkley is still there and the other two are gone. Find a team wanting Barkley to trade with.


  38. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:


    There will be no (legal standard) of “malice” or “defamation” in this…comment, also known as a “take”. Joe seems to think he went to law school overnight, and can manipulate comments of posters, that do NOT create a legal defamatory or malicious standard, to have “standing” to edit free speech. Which he can not, if it does not substantively meet that standard. So here we go…

    @Jolly….Joe edited my last take. In my last take, I mentioned that your dumb, that NO one cares about your noise, and nonsense on naivety of Saquon, when so many other opinions who can absolutely clearly evaluate any player, have said FAR different, repeatedly, and dude nobidy needs to meet your ignorant standard.

    Go Bucs!

  39. JAB83 Says:


  40. DB55 Says:


    Dallas couldn’t sniff the playoffs until they decided to draft the entire oline in the first round. It a chicken before the egg thing. Protect the franchise above all else.

  41. JAB83 Says:

    get to know your starting running back Tampa!!!! AND IRA/JOE’S


  42. Deno Says:

    IMO even if Barkley is on the broad I would still consider trading down. We still have a lot of holes to fill and Barkley only addresses 1 of those needs. I trade back and look at other options. Few teams around have a DO IT ALL BACK. The game has evolved. Imagine a trade down and we draft Guice as well as a Hines from NC St. plus Barber. Look at teams like the Saint and Eagles. RB by committee ppl is the new wave of the position. #GOBUCS

  43. Lamarcus Says:


    I get it with the power oline but it’s key that 3rd round pick we don’t have. Marpet will get LG duties I love Nelson but we are just not to the team to draft him based on free agent acquisitions.

    What this Licht is giving me now this that he will use the 7th pick on Corner or Rb. There are major holes there those 2 positions.

  44. Nick Says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Ira. If Barkley is there at 7, and Chubb is off the board, turn that pick in as fast as you can.

  45. Lamarcus Says:

    Then again db55

    I hate having keep talking about draft. And draft scenarios when we are picking 7. The best players are always pick later. The best players in the draft are very unexpected. More players bust being a top 15 than any other pick. History proves this. Not trying to be a Debbie downer I just hope whoever the Bucs get (anyone) just doesn’t bust. It can be kicker at 7 just don’t bust

  46. Horse Liver Says:

    If Nelson and Barkley were there, swap with the Bears, they would take Nelson, we get at .east our 3rd rounder back and we get Barkley.

  47. MadMax Says:

    Im with Deno, the more I think about it the more I want to trade down unless Chubb is there. But rather have Hernandez and Jones II if we decide to hit the offense more in the top of this draft.

    But if we could land Big V, then Big Will….then maybe Nick Chubb 3rd pick? That would be VERY nice. Thats why I hope we trade back.
    But Im good if we be Barkley, he could turn into a beast in the NFL.

  48. MadMax Says:

    “if we get” …..dang distractions

  49. Pa Privateer Says:

    @ Jolly and other Debbie downers.

    Umm, I live in Pennsylvania and Penn State is my college team. I have watched all of Penn State’s games either in person or on the television when Barkley has played. He is a very strong and bruising runner.

    Those stupid Highlight reels only show the big plays. They do not show Barkley grinding out the 3-5 yarders between the tackles, but Barkley pounds the rock very well. He was asked to be a grinder a lot and he did so willingly.

    Many games he was asked to be more of a receiver than a ground pounder which altered some of his rushing yard totals. He is a complete back in every aspect.

    HE is a very good returner.

    He is very good at Pass-Pro.

    There is nothing he does not do well. I think he is more similar to Adrian Peterson than any other back in recent history.

    He pounds the rock willingly, he break off the big runs, he doesn’t get caught from behind, he is a great receiver, he knows how to Pass-Pro, he is a great returner, and he is a wonderful person and teammate.

  50. FortMyersDave Says:

    Interesting that Ira brings up Barry Sanders. I remember that he got picked up by Detroit with the 3rd pick in the 1989 draft. Here is the first 6 picks:
    1. Dallas (1-15) , Aikman
    2. Green Bay (4-12, swept by Tampa) Tony Mandarich
    3. Detroit (4-12, swept by Tampa) Barry Sanders
    4. Kansas City (4-11-1) Derick Thomas
    5. Atlanta (5-11) Deion Sander
    6. Bucs (5-11) Broderick Thomas (who?????)

    Bucs beat Detroit on a cold December Sunday in week 16 21-10 at the Sombrero that gave Detroit the #3 and Tampa the 6. If the Bucs tanked they would have picked 3rd (so no way they would have got Mandarich who promptly flopped after going off the roids)…. The lesson: Bucs drafted a bust at 6, the Pack got a roid ridden bust at #2, the other 4 top picks are wearing gold jackets…… An L vs the Lions and the Bucs would have had their choice of D Thomas, Sanders or Neon Deion! Man this year seems so much like 1988/89 with the Bucs winning their last game and losing a few spots in the draft order; lets just hope history does not repeat itself…..

  51. Gambelero Says:

    It’s hard to imagine a scenario where two of the big three are still there at 7. 5 QBs or Indy taking McGlinchy or one of the two linebackers. Thing is they can trade back to the Bears and still get McGlinchy or their druthers at linebacker.

    Did somebody get really upset about Joe editing their post? Half the people on here write at the 4th grade level. How badly written does a piece have to be for Joe to edit it, i’ve posted some terribly written stuff, myself, but never been edited.

  52. '79Defense Says:

    The second to the last line “On paper, this offense would look dynamic.”

    Same thing we were all thinking after the last year’s offseason. It’s got to start translating from the paper to the field.

  53. Bucs Guy Says:

    Jimmy Jack is correct. We’Lloyd get who’should left. For more than 1 of the big 3 (Chubb, Barkley, Nelson) to be there at #7 you would need 5 QBs taken in the first 6 selections. Even with trades, nobody is predicting that.

    If only 3 QBs are taken, then all of the big 3 are gone by the time the Bucs are on the clock. If this happens, hopefully we can find a team who wants the 4th QB to trade down. If 4 QBs are taken, then whichever of the big 3 is left is who the Bucs should select. The only wild card (good for the Bucs) is if a non-QB non-big 3 is selected by a team in the first 6 picks. Maybe Ward, Fitzpatrick or McGlinchey. With 4 QBs taken, that would leave 2 of the big 3 for the Bucs to choose from — though IMO this is highly unlikely.

  54. Bucs Guy Says:

    We’ll get who’s left.

  55. unbelievable Says:

    I’m skeptical of Barkley.

    Seems like a huge boom or bust player.

  56. stu Says:

    If he can’t consistently pass protect for JW, he is worthless as the #7 pick…

  57. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Last year, 2017, Barkley averaged 2.1 and 2.9 yds per carry vs Ohio St and Indiana. Yes, he is a tremendous athlete and has great receiving skills and kickoff return skills. Wasn’t there someone chosen as 2nd pick in draft by New Orleans about 12 years ago like that?….

  58. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Thanks for that local input on Saquon. I use all kinds of sources for info including the Joes and posters here on JBF.

    But there are national people I respect and whenever it involves an Ohio State player I call my son who lives in Columbus and attends OSU games in person.

    Seeing is believing and I’m glad you came here to post what you’ve SEEN.

  59. Mo_Downs Says:

    We passed on Joe Mixon last year. BIG MISTAKE..!!

    If Barkley is available, DRAFT HIM..!!

    I don’t think he falls to #7.

    IF not, OL, DL, RB..!!

    AP for less $ is a decent option if all else fails. Then again, we passed on Mixon for off-field issues last year.

  60. Nickster82 Says:

    Are you fans??? I’m am sick and tired of listening to this crap about a shaq Barkley. Anyone who watches the bucs are sick of watching terrible offenses walk up and down the field on us for the past five years. Those bs stats we had about being the best 3rd down team in football are completely misleading. We were the worst team on 1st and 2nd down. Smiths defence gives up too much. We have to draft dB. If Barkley is there you trade down. Maximize the worth for our needs. Take Fitzpatrick or Ward get another pick and take what we need. Nelson should be the only other choice.