The One That Got Away

April 11th, 2019

Bad miss.

This will haunt Joe for years.

There is no more important defensive trait in the NFL than pressure on the quarterback. Yet this Bucs franchise for the better part of a decade seemed either indignant, indecisive, impervious, indifferent or just plain unable to address the pass rush.

For a team that faces Drew Brees, Matty Ice and pouty Cam Newton twice a year, this is just mindblowing to Joe. The Bucs finally found a pass rusher last year when Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht robbed Giants shot-caller Dave Gettleman for Jason Pierre-Paul.

But the Bucs defense, which was a modern day football atrocity, was so bad that not even JPP could help.

Dial back to circa November 2015, when Joe received a friendly text from someone he trusts who works in the football personnel department, which was knee-deep in doing homework and research for the following spring’s draft. Joe was tipped off that the organization really, really liked a little-known defensive end out of Maryland, Yannick Ngakoue.

So fast-forward to the 2016 draft and Joe was waiting for Jason Licht to pull the lever for Ngakoue to bring him to Tampa based on what Joe heard months before. That never happened because, in part, the Bucs burned a second-round pick on kicker Roberto Aguayo. Another part was the Bucs had already drafted Noah Spence, who is currently in his final year of his rookie contract and if he doesn’t rapidly turn things around, then he could be out of football next year.

Ngakoue was selected by the Jags in the third round.

This non-draft of Pro Bowler Ngakoue has cost Joe untold hours of sleep the past couple of years. And in a feature ESPN is running about draft do-overs, Jenna Laine is of the mind that drafting Aguayo over Ngakoue may have been Licht’s biggest blunder.

The Bucs could have selected anyone in this spot and it would have been better than Aguayo, who made it through just one season. While tempting to go with cornerback James Bradberry (who one could argue would have been a better pick at 11th overall instead of Vernon Hargreaves), the Bucs should have doubled up on pass-rushers by selecting Ngakoue, who has accumulated 29.5 sacks over the past three seasons. Noah Spence, the Bucs’ other second-round pick, had some off-the-field concerns, so Ngakoue would have functioned as a safety net. Also, the aging Robert Ayers wasn’t a long-term solution and you need a healthy rotation of pass-rushers, anyway. To win in the NFC South — arguably the best quarterback division in the league — you simply can’t allow the ball to leave the quarterback’s hands.

Aguayo, best Joe can tell, has been out of football since January 2018. Couldn’t even find work in the AAF, which did hire one of the many ex-Bucs kickers walking among us. Spence seems to be on the verge of being out of football.

Ngakoue? His worst season was his eight-sack rookie year. In 2018, when Aguayo couldn’t find work, Ngakoue was named to the Pro Bowl.

Now Joe rarely pulls the “general manager should have picked… ” card because that is the ultimate rear-view mirror logic. However, Joe has to assume that if the personnel department of the Bucs knew all about Ngakoue nearly six months before the draft and were slobbering over him, that at some point so too did Licht.

It’s a wonder Joe and other Bucs fans aren’t raging alcoholics.


45 Responses to “The One That Got Away”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    2019 draft seems like the same old thing. Many good pass rushers t pick from and the Bucs will pick Devin White with the 5th pick in the draft. White is a very good football player but the Bucs need pass rushers -BIG TIME!!!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    The Bucs will pick Devin White with the 5th pick in the 2019 draft, and not a pass rusher. Pity!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Hope the Bucs pick a pass rusher in the 2019 draft.

  4. Mort Says:

    Probably for the best to not obsess about mistakes made years ago at this point to such a degree that it drives you to alcoholism. It literally doesn’t matter at this point.

  5. Larry Harmon Says:

    Seems like the Bucs will pick Devin White with the 5th pick in the 2019 draft. White is a very good player but the Bucs need pass rushers – BIG TIME!!!

  6. __TGH__ Says:

    Detail these ‘off the field concerns’ again and how they could possibly have contributed to his ongoing lack of production please

  7. Tom S. Says:

    Joe, the one that got away is Jon Robinson, the guy the Glazer Babies let go to greener pastures in Tennessee rather than Lovie Smith (fire) the walking mistake that is Jason Licht while promoting Robinson.

    Instead of lamenting one specific failure of Jason Licht’s career in Tampa how about we lament the 6 years of failure that is Jason Licht’s time in Tampa and spend sleepless nights thinking about that?

    Anyone else excited to use the 5th overall pick on the next Kwon Alexander? Any chance Devin White can play RG in his off time?

  8. westernbuc Says:

    “Many ex-Bucs kickers walking among us”

    Joe that might be the funniest line you’ve ever written

  9. Not there yet Says:

    You’ve got issues joe and I get the aguayo thing but Spence on the verge of being out of football really? Almost Every young player that played in mike Smith trash defense is getting a second chance. Many guys that fail for one team go to another and have better careers. Lots of Bucs especially go to other teams and ball out. Could easily see the Bradley mcdougald thing happening with Spence

  10. Joe Says:

    Joe that might be the funniest line you’ve ever written

    It’s like a bunch of clones of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

  11. Joe Says:

    Joe, the one that got away is Jon Robinson

    Personally like Robinson a lot but not sure his drafts should be studied at the Smithsonian by future NFL suits.

  12. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    “The one that got away”

    I thought this was going to be a Rachael Watson article.

  13. Clean House Says:

    I thought that “bad miss” was a caption describing Licht’s entire tenure here.
    Thought you finally came to your senses Joe.

  14. THETRUTH Says:

    I can see everyone next year after Bucs select pass rusher and he only get 4 sacks. All will be angry saying they should have taken the LB.

    Joe you might have been right on this guy but how many have you been wrong on. Bucs have in selection and fans have 31 others each round they can use to support and argument.

    Like me saying I told everyone take Tom Brady in first round look how many teams past on him and how many times.

  15. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The past is the past, but if we trade down this year and draft the next Kenyatta Walker (an average Right Tackle) when we coulda drafted a defensive stud I’m giving up football.

  16. Magadude Says:

    Licht has made some good moves, sure. But his bad outdoes the good. It’s not one for one per se; but it’s how severely he has not addressed needs. Licht should have been gone with Koetter, but that would leave the Glazers without the accumen to find and hire a head coach…especially one to come. The Glazers also wanted to avoid the “Rebuild” handle, and with no cash anyway, and with Licht’s ties to Arians, they concocted this plan to basically put it all on hold with the illusion they are closer to winning anything than they are. I’m a Bucs season ticket holder long time and fan since they were born in 1976. I’ve seen a lot, and all I can say is here are again. They will flounder for two years, and start rebuilding for real here in less than two seasons. And it will be from the GM down to the water boy, and include the likes of David and Winston. Evans will want to be traded, and Godwin will sign somewhere else when his rookie deal is over. I hope I’m wrong, but I see the writing on the wall. Go Bucs!

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “There is no more important defensive trait in the NFL than pressure on the quarterback.” That drum’s getting worn out Joe. While certainly ONE of the more important defensive traits, it definitely works best against teams that emphasize the deep ball (like the Bucs?).

    I think however that it depends more on who you’re playing and how their offense is structured. Being able to STOP THE RUN can be just as important IF you’re playing a team with a stud running game (like last year’s Ravens). Being able to stop neutralize the SHORT PASSING GAME is just as important IF you’re playing a team that focuses on the short passing game (like the 2018 Titans or Jags). And IF you’re playing a team that’s excellent at running the ball, the short pass AND the deep passing game … like the 2018 Saints … you’d better have a solid defense all-around or they’ll just pick apart your weaknesses. We’ve seen that act too many times haven’t we.

    Besides, there is more than one way to ‘pressure the QB’. As in QB HITS? Care to guess which Bucs team had the most QB hits in the past 15 years? Yup, the 2018 Buccaneers (by quite a bit … 93 total). Care to guess again which Bucs team in the past 15 years had the most SACKS plus QB HITS total? Right again, the 2018 Buccaneers (by quite a bit … 131 total).

    Wow, and to think that that impressive ‘DLine pressure’ translated into a 5-11 record and the #31 defense using the POINTS ALLOWED criteria. Whodathunkit?

  18. El Buco Realisto Says:

    While the late round 2 draft whiff was bad, it is no where near the disaster of the 2012 draft!!!!!!! It was deep with pass-rushers as well!!!! And the talk show dominik missed out, on all productive pass rusher before, between and after his First round and Second round draft BUSTS picks!!!!!!!!!!!! look back at that one and say How in the H3LL did he miss out????????

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. BucHead5588 Says:

    White is a safe pick who could be the Leader of the Bucs D for a decades I’m wanting to know who everyone wants the Bucs to Pick at 5 if Top 3 are gone an if everyone is clamoring for a pass rusher don’t say Ed Oliver

  20. Bird Says:

    I am drinking a beer with breakfast just reading this

  21. Bob in Valrico Says:

    JPP is the quintessential DE, in my IMO. YOU can count on him to stop the run
    and rush the passer. Its very possible he could have as long a career as Julius Peppers. Nassib also appears to be an all round DE. Licht should stop drafting specialists like Noah Spence.
    The back seven had a lot of holes last year. Nobody knows how the new players
    will fit in yet or if players on the roster will play up to expectations. We are in serious need of playmakers. LVD is one of the few players with a proven track record on the roster from last year. I believe VH3 will struggle against the likes of
    Julio and Amari Cooper in press coverage. So we will have a serious need for safeties that can cover ground quickly and make tackles. Justin Evans might be that guy but he has to stay on the field.

  22. TB22 Says:

    As if drafting a K there wasn’t bad enough–it was the fact that the Bucs traded up to draft that huge mistake.

    Salt in the wounds.

    I can’t believe the Glazers still employ that GM.
    He must have dirt on them.

  23. Jim Says:

    What Defense said…

  24. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Todd Bowles wants mo clairborne as our #1 corner but we have no money….

    Can we start a go fund me ?


  25. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Whoever the Bucs pick doesn’t matter so long as they help us win consistently. I don’t care what position it is…so long as we win.

  26. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    TB22 Says
    “As if drafting a K there wasn’t bad enough–it was the fact that the Bucs traded up to draft that huge mistake.

    Salt in the wounds.

    I can’t believe the Glazers still employ that GM.
    He must have dirt on them.”

    It’s easy to understand…since that was the only failed draft Jason Licht has had.

  27. Bobby M. Says:

    I saw Spence recently at International Mall…..he’s extremely undersized for a DE. He honestly looks like a hybrid LB/S…..very fit and athletic but extremely undersized in both mass and height to play d-line. Unless they envision him coming off the edge like Von Miller, which there’s been nothing to indicate that he has that level talent, I don’t see him being nothing more then a back up and special teams player….assuming he can stay healthy.

  28. Ben Says:

    Licht should be gone ..he is worst bucs gm…ever!!

  29. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    Looking back at his drafts and free agent signings I’m baffled at how he still has a job

  30. Bucsfan951 Says:

    @kobe that hashtag made me lol good one dude

  31. TOM Says:

    Keep Licht out of the draft room.

  32. TOM Says:

    The reason Licht is still with the Bucs is because the Glazers are clueless.

  33. Waterboy Says:

    I remember a lot of people on this site being high on Noah Spence too. I actually recall seeing more people beating the drum for Spence than Yannick Ngakoue. If Aguayo didn’t crack under the pressure we wouldn’t even be looking back at that pick. Hindsite is always 20/20.

  34. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Wow…..nothing like dragging up the past to start our day. Yes, the Aguayo pick was awful…..and yes we have let several get away…..we have missed on FAs….we have all sorts of issues….

    I will say that before the shoulder injury Spence looked really good…..and then…..what the hell happened. I can only hope that Bowles can make a difference there…..but I recall the entire football world thinking we got a steal when we drafted him.

  35. D-Rome Says:

    Meanwhile, many of you were “Totally Confident” in the previous coaching staff and are totally confident in Backstabbin’ Jason Licht.

  36. Sport Says:

    I’m fascinated by this Joes passion and willingness to call others knuckle draggers for being blind for not being in tune with today’s NFL. Yet in the face of FACTS laid out by his own JBF Community he remains steadfast with his position. Between what Defense Rules served up today about the last 15 years, that 6 out of ten top sack leaders did NOT make the playoffs in 2018 and that perhaps the greatest coach of all time, Belichick has a philosophy that flies in the face of his argument.

    Unfortunately, this ‘passionate passrush Joe’ who continuously evokes Simeon Rice proves he is the one stuck in the past.

    All that being said, for the love of God please answer BucHeads question above, which iI and others have posed previously. You were on track in your recent podcast with Ira and then moved on without completing list of who you would take at 5 to fill this ridiculous expectation of being a 10yr Pro Bowler and/or Hall of Famer.

    I’m guessing you don’t know or you have learned a lesson by not staking an outright claim ala Johnny Manziel. I would think his massive fall from stardom (infamy) would now allow you access to go play catch together on the regular. Oh, and now wants he to be known as just ‘John’, so make sure to get that right in your next weekly Presidential Fan Club to him.

    Best of luck!

  37. Destinjohnny Says:


  38. Doctor_berto Says:

    Not picking Derwin was his biggest blunder! Oliver and Derwin > Vea and White

  39. bucsince79 aka bumaneer Says:

    I can’t remember the Bucs ever drafting a real pass rusher??? What makes anyone think we will this draft? White is a solid pick. Iwould love a beast rusher,
    however, If we take one at #5 He could still be a huge bust….

  40. Joe Says:

    If Aguayo didn’t crack under the pressure

    Pressure of kicking extra-points in practice???

  41. Joe Says:

    I can’t remember the Bucs ever drafting a real pass rusher???

    They’ve tried. But clearly whatever model the scouting department uses to determine a pass rusher ought to be thrown in a nearby trash can.

    Gaines Adams (stiff in more ways than one).
    Adrian Clayborn (may have been decent if not for knee injuries).
    Gun totin,’ guitar strummin’ Da’Quan Bowers.
    Noah Spence.

  42. 813bucboi Says:

    roberto was the worse pick ever….i remember going to TC practice that summer and watching him go 3-8 on FG tries and thinking to myself, “its a bucs life”…….


  43. Marine Buc Says:

    Was there ever a worse pick in NFL history? This has to be one of the most idiotic, bonehead moves in NFL General Management history. What a total goon.

  44. wideleftandright Says:

    Wheres Booker Reese when you need him !!!!

  45. Tom S. Says:

    Robinson, like all GM’s has missed on some draft picks but the GM is there to build a roster that is capable of going to the playoffs. Robinson has a team that is capable of that, has done it once in 3 years going 9-7 each year and Licht has averaged a 5-11 record for 5 seasons missing the playoffs every time.

    No one is saying Robinson is a HOF GM but compared to the dumpster fire that is Jason Licht’s career definitely makes you miss having a capable or average GM than one second round pick.