Jason Licht & The Jackpot Draft

February 10th, 2021

Jason Licht with a “you like that” pose at the Super Bowl.

In December of 2015, Joe wrote about that season’s grand slam Bucs draft, which yielded Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Kwon Alexander and America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston.

History proved that draft class was strong but not legendary, and Joe believes a new class now sits perched high atop the Jason Licht resumé.

Joe chatted with Vita Vea this morning (to be heard on the next Ira Kaufman Podcast) and talked to Vea about how remarkable it is that his 2018 draft class yielded five starters on a Super Bowl team. Among NFL executives, that’s like nailing a Florida Lotto jackpot. Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian often talks about a goal of nailing four starters from each draft.

Among the Bucs’ 2018 recruits, Vea, Ronald Jones, Carlton Davis, Alex Cappa and Jordan Whitehead all showed development this season and were starters and massive contributors to our beloved world champion Bucs.

For Joe’s money, the 2018 class is even better than the 2019 class that yielded Devin White, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, Scotty Miller, Mike Edwards and Anthony Nelson.

This year’s draft brought another bounty, led by second-team All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs, who may be the best overall tackle in the game, and impact safety Antoine Winfield, Jr.

What happens if Licht scores again in April? The Bucs could be loaded with homegrown, bedrock players.

54 Responses to “Jason Licht & The Jackpot Draft”

  1. theodore Says:

    Going to be harder to score shooting from pick 32 🙂

  2. DarenGibo Says:

    Seems like only yesterday so many were asking for Licht to be fired over drafting a kicker….

    I do believe pairing Licht with Arians has made the draft even stronger, but we all have to give it up for Jason!

  3. Coburn Says:

    Just looking at that it’s incredible. Their secondary should only get better. Just need to keep putting resources into the trenches now.. hole Nelson keep improving.

  4. Casual Observer Says:

    Gotta settle who’s staying first – then rank your draft needs. Really tough task for our GM.

  5. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Don’t forget we have Vaughn who will be contributing much much more this next year as well as Tyler Johnson.

  6. sgrd0q Says:

    That’s the Brady curse – hard to get a great player when drafting last or close to last 🙂

  7. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Excuse me the 2015 draft was a BUST!!!

    Jameis negated the value of the rest because it was a total waste of the number one overall draft pick.

    Five years…no playoffs…ONE winning season at 9-7 an overall 28-42 record and then there’s the horrible dissension among the fans and eventually teammates.

    If you look at CBS sports values assigned to draft positions the number one overall is worth 1000 points…the next pick drops to 664…3rd drops to 553.

    The 11th pick is worth only 124 and by the end of the first round the values have dropped to 74.

    This chart was created based on past trades and it’s obviously not perfect.
    But it does give us an idea of what JW’s TRUE COST to this franchise was.

    As in two picks from the first round and two more from the second and perhaps even a couple more from the 3rd depending on the trading teams need at QB.

    There is NO way the 2015 draft was a success. In real estate and business the concept is opportunity costs. $$$ placed in one investment are $$ that obviously can’t go into another. The amount of potential talent sacrificed for JW’s pick may be difficult to calculate precisely but it’s clearly a LOT of talent we could have had instead of a five year loser with ONE winning season and NO playoffs!

    Getting Marpet and Smith in the second was great scouting and I give the staff credit for that. But if they had two first round picks and multiple second rounders to go with the Buc’s own picks we surely would have ended up with a far more talented team just based on the law of averages.

  8. ocala Says:

    This 2020 draft may go down as the second best draft in Bucs history…it is going to be tough to top the Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks draft.

  9. ClodHopper Says:

    So he just has a hard time finding a good enough qb to get us where we need to go. So does every other GM in the league. But he also knew when it was time to go all in and get Brady.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We need strong drafts & rookie contracts to counter-balance higher salaries,,,

    I know folks don’t like to talk about comp picks….but the consolation prize for losing FAs is comp picks….and we will likely lose at least 2 FAs….maybe more.

    A couple of picks in rounds 3 & 4 may help us to move up for better draft positions.

    Frankly, I’d move that 32nd pick for someone who wants to move up into the 1st round……and use the extra pick(s) to move up for 2 2nd round picks…..DE,DT

  11. Bucco Edd Says:

    2019, 2020, 2018 are uncoincidentally Lichts best drafts in that order. 2019 class impact far greater than 2018. [Stop inventing lies about Joe. — Joe]

  12. DoooshLaRue Says:


    tee-maxx, clean house, Kobe faker, Bucs realist, big slob hog……

    Who am I missing?

    Oh yes


  13. Robert Says:

    we all remember a kicker in the second round. LOL .. OMG.
    short of that though Licht deserves mad props in building and drafting for this team, let hope he can keep it up. It aint luck when he does it consistently. Wirfs is arguably his best pick ever IMO

  14. Robert Says:

    I do think, or hope for my own sanity, that JW was forced on him. soooo many red flags… it was a given he would be a bust. should have traded the pick, but hindsight is 20 20

  15. HeyItsAdam Says:

    Dear SPBF,

    How many times over the course of 5 years did JW walk off the field with a lead or in a position to win and ST or Defense blew it.

    Giants game.
    Patriots game.

    I can keep going. The Bucs problems ran deeper than just the QB.

  16. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    This secondary went from zero to hero pretty quick, and the most remarkable part is that are are all young and on rookie contracts still i believe. Bravo

  17. doolnutts Says:

    I still don’t get why people care so much about drafting a kicker… He was statistically one of the best kickers in the college game and we needed to address the position. He was taken early for sure BUT that is how Jason Licht plays the draft. If he liked someone he goes to get them period. Ultimately the 2nd round pick on Kicker didnt work but BIG DEAL.

  18. JimmyJack Says:

    The 2020 draft might ecen look better next year. We might see Vaugh and Johnson emerge as names worthy of more conversation.

  19. TheShaz Says:

    Bucs suck grooming QB’s

    They leave and suck or leave and thrive.

    We have two Super Bowl Champion teams. Both with veteran QB’s we did not draft.

    If Brady sticks with us for another season or two we should replace him with another talented veteran QB in the hopes that we still have weapons for the QB to throw to, a O-line that will keep him healthy and a defense that will back him up.

    We seem to be doing OK drafting and grooming the other positions.

    Front 7 in Defense is the key. If we can continue to pressure the QB by rushing only 4 we will be in the playoffs every year with a chance to win it all. Pressure with 4 is the only way to defeat a good offense in NFL with the current rules geared to passing.

  20. firethecannons Says:

    Next season we now know the secondary can do it, they are fully vetted and fully capable, absolutely amazing job everyone of them did in all playoff games.

  21. JimmyJack Says:

    Shaz the Bucs do suck at developing QBs.

    Bruce Arians very much does not suck at that.

    I guess that would make our chances 50/50, right? I dont know.

    But think this…….
    The Bucs have always had defensive HCs. Correct me where Im wrong but we never had an offensive HC draft and develope a QB….Sorry, Jon Gruden and Bruce Gradkowski dont count.

  22. JimmyJack Says:

    Koeter didnt draft Winston. Lovie drafted him.

  23. Joe Says:

    This 2020 draft may go down as the second best draft in Bucs history…it is going to be tough to top the Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks draft.

    Three Hall of Famers??? Who is the third?

    That’s awfully high standards. Impossibly high. There’s only three or four drafts in the history of the league better than the 1995 Bucs draft. Easy grasshopper.

  24. AMI_Chris Says:

    And you can’t blame Licht for choosing Jameis. He was 1A and Mariota was 1B, and neither one turned out to be a keeper. Kwon has turned into a good player but if they keep him, maybe they never draft Devin White.

  25. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    I am definitely one poster here who wanted JL canned and he definitely deserved it before Arians and Bowels came along. Licht will get the credit and deservedly so but it is a pretty big coincidence his drafting ability got better with the arrival of Arians and Bowels. Hats off to Licht for however he is getting it done because the Bucs are World Champs

  26. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Todd BOWLES has been in Tampa for 2 years now, and helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl. Is it too much to ask that you spell his name correctly?

  27. RioDeJaneiroBucsFan Says:

    After all is said and done, Jameis’ pick was a lucky strike. Without it (and the 5th-year option), no Tom Brady.
    In a wierd succession of events, JW led the Bucs to Brady and #12 led the Bucs to the eternal glory
    Strange, but it’s true

  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I agree that we should replace Brady with a veteran…….he will have an outstanding team behind him…..we don’t need to groom a QB in order to be successful…..and we will likely not get a high draft pick opportunity.

  29. pewter941 Says:

    We either get a dl de or runningback in first round.

  30. OBF Says:

    Wondering what kind of talent gets pushed to the end of the first round 😀… or maybe trade back into the second if there’s a drooling GM

  31. miken Says:

    considering we were picking 1st, the grandslam draft was a C-
    They key to sustaining the superbowl window open is to not waste any picks this year and find a few solid players, no marquis walkers!

  32. Bird Says:


    Who is that really?
    Which messiah cult member? Who uses brand new name
    Just cant let someone say something negative about jameis

    Is that you ndog. The man who appreciates strong D

  33. Bird Says:

    Weapons for winston became (super) bowl for brady in one freaking year

    But yah jameis was not part of problem

  34. ArmchairGM Says:

    Reading my mind, Joe. I was going to post this on an earlier article, but got busy and forgot to submit. Licht has slayed the draft the past 3 years. Think of how many guys were drafted:

    – The entire starting o-line outside of Jensen
    – All but 3 of our offensive skill positions (Gronk, AB, Lombardi Lenny, 4 if you count McCoy)
    – The entire secondary including most of the backups
    – Both inside linebackers

    Absolutely ludicrous

  35. Nate$Buclife Says:

    Time to draft a elite running back 1st round!

  36. HeyItsAdam Says:

    Bird. My name is Adam. I’m me.

    And I’m not defending JW… I’m saying that there are too many examples that I have witnessed from my seat in section 218 of JW leaving the field with a lead or turning it over to the kicker and because the D blows chimp or a kicker can’t make a chip shot, the Bucs lost. It happened a lot.

    Winston bad “Hey Jude” and Chris Conte defending leads for him.

    The Bucs problems under Jameis were not limited to his turnovers. Anyone who has read JBF for more than an hour knows this.

  37. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Hey it’s Adam dog,

    You saw what Brady did for the entire team right?
    Leadership, accountability etc?

    That’s what JayMiss lacked and as the leader of the team it had a trickle down effect.
    Add to that all of the soul crushing turnovers and you had a team left with no fight or discipline.

    Your argument only works if you be checking yo sheet!

  38. Buc1987 Says:

    sgrd0q…yet the Pats still went to SB after SB after SB while picking last nearly every season.

  39. 813bucboi Says:

    IMO, Licht has proven he can draft talent….we finally have a coaching staff that can develop that talent….

    I say draft DE or OG/C in the 1st round…..

    Btw…who’s #49?…kid flashed a few times in the SB….


  40. Bird Says:


    Cam gill. He is from wagner college or some no name school
    I wondered same thing.

    He was involved in suh collision course with mahommes on their sack

  41. OBF Says:

    49 …
    Is Cam Gill
    and yes he flashed on Sunday, I have posted his name a few times since!
    UDFA rookie!

  42. 813bucboi Says:


    Kid shot out of a cannon lol…

    #98 Nelson continues to develop too…


  43. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Stpetebucsfan, who should the Bucs drafted other than Mr Pick-6? I personally wanted Mariota. Still not a great pick, but better than Mr Pick-6. BTW, that’s an honest question? Who should we have picked over the consensus #1 & 2 picks? Who could Licht have picked that wouldn’t have pissed off an overwhelming majority of Bucs fans that day over one of those 2? What trade offers did we turn down? It’s easy to say we should trade down, but it takes 2 to tango. As much as I am glad Mr Pick-6 is gone, I don’t question making that pick at all.

  44. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Slow start (very) to his career but he has done very well lately.

  45. Will Says:

    Hey for all the drama we went through as fans of this team it all led to this. SUPERBOWL CHAMPS!
    There isn’t anyone I know that if you were told that your team was going to be rotten for a while but then you’d get the best QB in the history of the game win the Superbowl and have a lot of young talent to continue to build with that wouldn’t take that. Well guys and gals that’s what we’re looking at. ENJOY IT!
    By the way I’ve asked this a few times Joe is it possible that Ryan Griffin is the heir to Brady? This guy has been on the team for how long and through how many coaching regimes? I know it’s only preseason play but he looks like there’s something to work with there. Any thoughts?

  46. orlbucfan Says:

    All the Licht hating has been hot air for years. He proved himself to me when he signed UDFAs Cam Brate and Adam Humphrey. Sure, he blew it in the draft when he picked the kicker in the second round. Who else did he pick?

  47. HeyItsAdam Says:


    JW doesn’t make the kicker better.
    JW doesn’t bat down passes.
    JW doesn’t take hand-offs.

    I get what you’re saying, but your post does nothing to negate what I said. Those missed FGs HAPPENED. Those blown stops HAPPENED. Those dismal running seasons HAPPENED.

    Tom Brady is fantastic, but the defense anchored by Chris Conte, Hey Jude, and Gerald McCoy wouldn’t be able to hold a lead for him.

  48. Oneilbucs Says:

    HeyltsAdam I’ve been saying the same thing when Jamies was our quarterback . But on here if you talk facts then you are more of a Jamies fan than a bucs fan because you bring up facts . But I’m glad we won regardless . But read the comments about developing quarterbacks in Tampa ?? To me it can’t be every quarterback one of the main difference between this year and last year is the running game . Jamies only had a runningback to rush for a 100 yards twice in 4 years . How many did Brady have this year . How many touchdowns was thrown in side the red zone vs long passes touchdowns. I believe that with this new playbook a young quarterback can be developed . At some point it’s got to happen and I think it can happen !!! Go Bucs !!

  49. CalBucsFan Says:

    Licht has proven himself year-in year-out, I hope he’s GM for the next decade. I know, there has been some bad picks made, but can anyone name a team that hasn’t had bad picks?

    What he’s done in 2018 and 2019 alone is astounding, congratulations Jason and keep up the good work!

  50. SOEbuc Says:

    Even though Donovan Smith did well in the long run, he’s still not worthy of anywhere near $14 million. Need to draft a starting LT or RT and swing Wirfs to the left. Remember this is the most expensive oline and even though we were lights out, VERY appreciated by the way, we need doe for new contracts such as LVD, Shaq, AB, Gronk, and Fournette. And these big time youngsters like White,Vea, Wirfs are gonna get their big time dollars when it’s their time.

  51. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Oneilbucs, I believe everything you said also. However, Brady changed the culture here. He changed the motivation. He brought other talent here. We will never know for sure, but “I” believe if we changed back Brady with Mr Pick-6 and could go back in time and play this season over with all these players except Brady, we don’t win the super bowl, we probably don’t make the playoffs and if we do back door into the playoffs, we’re one and done. Most likely 8-8 or 9-7 looking forward to next year.

  52. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    Hindsight is 2020 but, I seem to remember there being a serious offer of Phillip Rivers, their starting LT (forget name) & other players & picks, for the 1st overall in 2015.

    As others have said, Licht’s drafting improved when BA & his staff got here.

    Really, why is drafting a soccer player in the 2nd round by a perennial losing NFL football team, with a tremendous need for talented football players such a bad idea? Sometimes when we say/ hear things out-loud, it becomes clearer to us.

    That same draft the ‘aints got their pro bowl kicker in the 7th or 8th round out of GA State, for crying out loud!

  53. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Would Brady beat KC with the defense we had in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, or 2015? How about with any FG kicker that we had in that span? I seriously doubt it. The 2019 defense sucked the first half of the season. Brady brought the culture of winning, but the core talent was already here. Hopefully we can keep it together for a few more years. Gruden got us over the hump, but he couldn’t maintain it. Monte Kiffin was too big of a key. I believe BA will set this team up for success even after he and Brady are gone.

  54. Ne+ bucs fan Says:

    Jw would of had the Lombardi trophy intercepted if he threw it off the boat