Drafting For Production

May 4th, 2020

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Joe thinks this is pretty cool.

Other teams’ evaluators believe the Bucs may have been leaning towards production over projection in last month’s NFL draft. Mike Sando of The Athletic got a hold of an untold number of NFL team shot-callers to have them evaluate each NFL team’s picks now that the dust has settled.

They didn’t like Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht trading away a fourth-round pick for Tristian Wirfs and flipping spots with the 49ers to make sure Wirfs landed in Tampa Bay.

However, the same evaluators loved the players Licht picked.

“That was an overreaction,” an exec said [of trading up for Wirfs], “but Wirfs is a perfect fit for them. I love (Antoine) Winfield. Great football player. Really like this class overall. Productive players in college that all have an element of versatility to them. I just didn’t like the trade from 14 to 13.”

For all the emphasis on Brady this offseason, this draft could have enhanced the Buccaneers’ run game as much as anything. The thought of Wirfs lining up next to Gronkowski, who Tampa Bay acquired from New England for a fourth-rounder, has to be an appealing one for the Buccaneers’ backs, including third-round choice Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

“I’m interested in seeing how their fifth-round pick does,” an evaluator said of receiver Tyler Johnson, who is entering a stacked depth chart and could have a hard time making headway, especially under the circumstances this offseason. “He was one the analytics models liked because he was so productive in college. The models liked him more than the scouts did. Extremely productive and he is extremely young. It is rare to have his production at his age.”

Joe thinks this hand-wringing over a fourth-round pick is beyond nitpicking.

So the Bucs had two fourth-round picks. They traded them for Rob Gronkowski and Tristian Wirfs. Stop the whining! Go look at the history of Bucs’ fourth-round picks. Sad! So the Bucs gave up the equivalent of Travis Stephens and sackless Kyle Moore for Gronk and Wirfs? Please!

And how refreshing is it that the Bucs actually got guys who produced on the field rather than projecting what the players could do?

26 Responses to “Drafting For Production”

  1. Tampa2ATL Says:


  2. El Buco Realisto Says:

    Nothing like using a bad gm’s bad draft record to try to prove that the bad gm’s picks would be worthless in a very deep draft!!!!!!!!!!!! But the sheep keep wondering why there is player replacement rather than player development!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    The same people claiming we got fleeced moving from 14 to 13 would have been going nuts had someone picked Wirfs at 13. Couldn’t take that chance. Some of these Bucs “fans” would be critical of the Bucs if tickets prices were dropped and beer was announced to be free. They complain. That’s what they do. Just be glad you are not them.

  4. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    What word in my above post got me moderated? C’mon.

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    A 4th round pick for Gronk is an absolute steal. I have no problem with the Bucs moving up to get THEIR man. Why chance it?!
    I am so sick of the word “potential”! You don’t draft for potential, you draft for production. How many picks have we wasted on “potential”?!

  6. Bird Says:


    Dont they say like only 25 % of 4th round picks make it in the NFL

  7. BucEmUp Says:

    Had they not traded up, and missed out on the last elite tackle the haters would have bashed him for not trading up

  8. Casual Observer Says:

    All their picks look pretty good. Grade A. Filled needs.

  9. K2 Says:

    I have said for years…most GMs give the coaches the players they want. Yes, they try to influence picks. However, if a coach really wants a player…the team probably drafts that player. I think the combination of Licht, Arians, and Bowles is excellent!

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Look at it this way….if Wirfs was a steal at 13 then why wouldn’t other teams want to trade up for the pick…..that’s what Licht had to worry about…..SF trading the pick.

    I’ll take this draft any day.

    RT, S, RB, 3rd WR……Dline & Oline Depth……KR/RB…….

    If those aren’t needs……what were?

  11. El Buco Realisto Says:


    That is what every moron that over paid for their house has said!!!!! That they “had” to overpay because there were so many offers and interest!!!!!!!!! The bucs gm is an easy mark in the draft!!!!!!! When other gm’s wonder what licht bulb will do in the first round, they just have to ask, what is the team’s biggest need!!!!!!!!! It is well known in NFL circles that licht bulb is the biggest draft for need!!!!!!!!!!

    And the sheep need to stop thinking that 32rd day picks are ” a waste” and start asking if the gm is “a waste”!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Pryda...sec147 Says:

    Really happy we targeted The trenches with our 1st pick we should do this more often !

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Well, the GM got Jason Pierre-Paul for a 3rd Round pick. I’m sure there are “fans” out there screaming that we gave up a “premium” 3rd Rounder for a guy with over 20 sacks in the last 2 years.

  14. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Realisto when is the 32nd day?

  15. Dapostman Says:


    So overpaying by a dollar makes one a moron for an asset worth hundreds of thousands of dollars?

    Folks this is what we call the flea market mentality. These people will dicker over a nickle all the while miss out on the asset that will return the most equity.

  16. Craig Says:

    I am pretty happy with how Licht used this draft. For once the stars seemed aligned with what the Bucs needed and dropped two probably great players into their laps.

    The amazing part is the Licht grabbed the two gift horses.

    Maybe it is a sign for better things to come.

  17. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Licht was an easy target for John Lynch, because he knew we needed a tackle to protect Brady.
    And, Miami or some other team could have taken him, so he took the sure thing.

  18. Jean Lafitte Says:

    I agree

  19. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Joe listed prior 4th rounders last week, I would gladly give it up to guarantee #78 at RT next year. A lot of teams rebuilding have multiple holes to plug so you can go BPA at most picks. We are fortunate to have 18/19 out of 22 returning starters returning. We can draft for need and we did draft for need and the Bucs nailed it.

  20. Bucamania Says:

    Damn glad the Bucs did what they had to do to get a RT like Wirfs. Miami had to settle for Austin Jackson who may be fine but he doesn’t have the upside that Wirfs has. Can’t wait to see Tyler Johnson out there at WR3.

  21. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    They’ve actually had two good drafts since Arians got here. I like what they did last year on top of this year. They are really building a quality team underneath with youth from these drafts. D. White is learning football and starting next to some great players in LVD and JPP. I think Kevin Minter has an influence on him as well. I felt they could’ve waited to put White out there, but he will be a game changer this season along with Vea who was Lichts personal pick might I add. SMB and Dean were also great picks and got the job done as well behind a veteran front seven. The Edwards pick was their only ding I think they expected more for his draft status as a 3rd round pick. Miller I feel will stick around, continue to gel in the system and be the backup speed WR while Watson will be the backup possession big WR behind Evans during games and the course of the season. Our 7th is the only one no longer on the team. This year they continued to build by getting I think our future LT and cornerstone of the offensive line in Wirfs. Licht has scored big now I think 3 years in a row in the first round with all moves and picks being against fan favorites like getting Vea over James and the trade he did to make it happen. Or everyone wanting Allen over White and this year I think we liked the pick as fans but like two years ago didn’t like the trade.
    Anyway to finish this year up I can see Vaughn really contributing as. T. Johnson sounds great as well but he does have some heat in training camp. Evans, Gronk, Godwin, and Johnson would be a monstrous shotgun if you ask me or spread. Brady will get them involved especially with RoJo taking advantage of less blitzing against the offense and having holes. I really think RoJo will be the toast of this offense and I predict him to have a 1500 yard campaign this season finishing off a lot of teams in the fourth with big yardage and having explosive plays early. He was also another pick fans didn’t like but I feel they’re developing him good to be the feature back this season. They’ve increase the workload slowly and he’s fairly young toy so he is set up for a long term career. Vaughn will be excellent on obvious passing downs or situations for a one back spread or singleback due to his do all approach to the game. He reminds me of Kevin Faulk honestly. The guy can catch, run, and pass block. I said before the draft they needed to draft a player that would improve them on third down and they got it with Vaughn. I hated they didn’t go BPA and draft Moss and wait on Vaughn later I felt Vaughn would’ve been out there in the sixth. Calais will be interesting where he winds up on the team but I hope they don’t the rookie out there as a returner. Davis I think will be the big surprise. He brings great speed and athleticism to the d line to pair up with Vea. I think Davis will legit unseat Gohlston this season but he will also thrive in obvious nickel and dime situations as a DE if they line him up next to Vea, Suh and JPP. I think next season they will do more with offensive and defensive lineman to go along with quality linebacker depth. Maybe another guy that can play middle if the kid from Temple doesn’t work out which he and Cichy will be good for special teams seeing their injury history. Can’t say enough about how much Winfield changes the aspect of our entire defense. They are now versatile and have the depth and range of the Super Bowl team. The running back situation reminds me of the same as well. It really does feel like that off-season again. This team could go undefeated if they find a creative way to bring Reid, Peters, and yes P. Peterson. They need more elite level veterans around Brady. They have a ton of contracts they could easily get out of to bring in Peters and Reid at $10-12 million for the two and I feel they should D. Smith if he isn’t willing to off from LT. I just feel Wirfs athleticism needs to be taken advantage of and that spot would be it. If D. Smith is willing to move back to his original college position of RG I think it would do him wonders.

  22. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    The reason I’m not too upset about that 4th round pick is because of the panic moves Lichtweight was trying to make that, THANK GOODNESS, got rebuffed earlier in the first round. What wasn’t he offering 3rd, 4th, and 5th or something crazy to move up into the top 10? Then everyone would be pizzed still!

  23. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Pryda…sec147 Says:
    “Really happy we targeted The trenches with our 1st pick we should do this more often !”

    Yes, this.

  24. lambchop Says:

    Who read Jason Mclaurin’s novel up there? Not this guy.

    Good post Joes.

  25. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    Drafted for production and need. IMO Licht got excellent value in most every round too. I was on the “why didn’t we draft Moss in round 3!?” train during the draft, but the more I looked at it the more I realized they got the guy that probably will fit better in the role they’ll want him to play. Moss looked like a legit beast of a RB in college, but he’s already had injury concerns at a position that takes an extra hard beating at the NFL level. I guess we’ll see in a year or two…

  26. Buczilla Says:

    Great article, I agree.