Grading Jason Licht — Round 3 (A Draft Series)

April 26th, 2021

It’s time to get out your grading pen and assess the record of Super Bowl general manager Jason Licht when it comes to the NFL Draft.

Grading a GM’s drafting requires deep thinking, including assessing what moves were made versus the ones that weren’t and possibly should have been.

It’s also a challenge to score a team-building move versus a best-player-available move.

Then there’s the over-arching elephant in the room: a team’s performance and a player’s impact.

Injuries are thorny because while a GM can’t really be blamed for injuries, GMs also laud how they have elite medical and training staffs. And that staff evaluates prospects’ health and performance to project potential injuries – and prevent them. So logic says injuries – and good health – aren’t all luck.

Three days from the 2021 NFL Draft – the eighth draft of Licht’s Tampa Bay tenure – it’s time for fans to man up and grade Licht.

Joe is laying out this exercise as a round-by-round affair.

Next up is Round 3. (Round 1 grades are here.) (Round 2 is here.)

2014 – Charles Sims
2015 – None (used for Ali Marpet trade-up)
2016 – None (used for Roberto Aguayo trade-up)
2017 – Chris Godwin, Kendall Beckwith
2018 – Alex Cappa
2019 – Jamel Dean, Mike Edwards
2020 – Ke’Shawn Vaughn

Sims was out of the NFL after his fourth season. He was a force in 2015, but that was it, and he didn’t play special teams. Running backs Devonta Freeman and James White were taken in Round 4 after Sims.

Joe’s going to say 2015 and 2016 cancel each other out. One was used for a historic pick in Marpet, the highest-drafted Division III player ever; the other was doled out to trade up for one of the great kicking busts in NFL history. Ironically (and painfully), the Saints signed undrafted rookie kicker Will Lutz, a 2019 Pro Bowler, at the close of the 2016 draft.

Strong showings by Licht in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and 2020 remains a mystery.

Joe’s giving Licht a ”B” for his third-round work.


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Thursday night, April 29!

Giveaways, special guests, and more. Ira Kaufman and Joe will be in the house starting at 7 p.m.

Two lucky fans attending will each win a $300 American Express gift card thanks to Joe’s friends at Florida’s Elite Restoration.

(More cool Bucs giveaways, too.) Joe is fired up for a great time with Florida’s best craft beer, amazing food and great fans. Joe loves Big Storm Clearwater,

26 Responses to “Grading Jason Licht — Round 3 (A Draft Series)”

  1. Pete I Says:

    “Strong showings by Licht in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and 2020 remains a mystery.” A solid A for these years. What really colors this round is Aguayo and the move up had he stayed put and drafted Aguayo with this 3rd pick his overall grade would be different. Who could assume that the best kicker in college would fall apart in the pros? Wasting a 3rd round pick on a kicker would be more of a shrug vs moving up to the second.

  2. Bucsfan951 Says:

    An A! I see 5 players names on that list that helped get a sb and 1 with an unfortunate off field injury that ended his young/promising career.

  3. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    This is a solid A. The Alex Cappa pick is probably my favorite. Well done JL.

  4. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe i got out my grading pen. Got a really nice pewter one. I got a new creamsicle one on order and I cant wait.

    I have a line graph to keep track of Lichts grades and its peaking in round 3. The Chris Godwin pick takes a massive piece on my pie chart.

    Im giving Licht an A+++ for rund 3.

    I consider the Sims pickup a positive pick as it provided some amount of value. Just barely above a C but a positive score nonetheless. Getting anything of value is a good thing for round 3 on my scoresheet. Beckwith is also a positive score for me as well.

    Licht actually does not have a negative score for any player taken in this round using my grading system. Thats kinda unheard of.

  5. Youngbucs Says:

    No matter how much some wanna deny it the Bucs have a solid foundation they built. How can talent shine through and have a chance when the team had an unstable player at the most important position. Nfl gms are to close and competitive to lead the league in turnovers every year!!!

  6. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Any grade that is not an A is too low. Licht’s 3rd round picks are way above league average. The league hits on 3rd round picks at a rate lower than 30%. Who are you comparing him to? You have a starting guard that was among the top 10 at his position (Cappa). I’m not including Marpet here. You got a starting quality CB and S. You drafted a Probowl receiver that just got 16M dollars. You could stop right there. Simms provided some value but he wasn’t anything special so you can say he wasn’t successful. Vaughn’s grade can wait. He had some bad drops and turnovers but he also mixed in some nice plays. I believe he rushed for over 4 yards per carry. Remember how bad Rojo was his first season?

  7. Fred mcneil Says:

    Hey, Joe, those last 4 years of picks by LJ are pretty effin incredible if you ask me.

  8. Fred mcneil Says:

    J L, oops

  9. bucfanforever Says:

    Aguayo washing out seems to have coaching stink all over it. The most accurate kicker changing how he kicks before his first pro game? So I give Licht a 50% pass on that one.

    Chris Godwin – most teams would be happy to draft him in the top 10 of the 1st round.

    Plus Cappa and Dean.

    That seems like great production out of the third round.

  10. tvan101 Says:

    To get 3 starters out of 7 3rd round picks is an amazing hit rate. That is at least an A- if not a solid A.

  11. ArmchairGM Says:

    A all day. The quality of players Licht has drafted in round 3 the past 4 years is crazy. 2 starters, 2 borderline starters who could start on other teams, and a RB with upside. Oh, and don’t forget, Beckwith was on the rise before his injury. Hope he’s doing well.

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    I think its absolutely hilarious that Roberto Aguyerio is brought up in every discussion reguardless of what round we are talking about.

    Lets keep the ball rolling and never let Licht forget about that trainwreck of a draft class that was 2016(is Ryan Smith still a Buc thus year?).

    I think when alls said and done and Jason Licht retires someday he is gonna look back and laugh his butt off about pulling off one of the biggest 2nd round blunders in NFL history. Jason to me seems like the type of dude who is not to proud to laugh at his own stupidity. I respect that.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m an A here……Godwin, Cappa, Dean, Edwards…..and Beckwith would have been a great Buc LB….
    Vaughn is a question mark and may remain one if he doesn’t get snaps in 21.

  14. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Without Tom Brady, Jason is looking for a new job in 2021

  15. theodore Says:

    Finding several starters in the 3rd round, one of which got a franchise tag = A

  16. bucnole Says:

    The whiff on the kicker was a terrible miss by LightBulb and company
    Set us back by 2-3yrs at least because we wasted a 3rd and a fourth rd pick
    Players in those rounds should be at least solid BUs
    One of the worst drafts pick busts of ALL time

  17. SlyPirate Says:

    2017-2020, Are you kidding?!!!

    You’d be happy with a lot of those guys in the first round or second round.

  18. Pickgrin Says:

    Average “bust” rate for 3rd round picks is close to 60% leaguewide.

    I don’t see a “bust” on that list of 7.

    Sims played here for 4 years and had a very productive 2015.

    Beckwith was obviously talented and would have been a solid starter for years with this team if not for the freak car accident.

    Godwin was the steal of the draft in the 3rd rd.

    Cappa has become an extremely reliable starter at RG (and he was the last pick of the 3rd rd that year I believe)

    Dean and Edwards both have solid NFL starter level talent and are good bets to continue improving heading into year 3.

    Vaughn flashed a few times as a rookie in limited opportunities on a Super Bowl team. Too soon to call that pick – but my impression is the arrow is pointing up on Vaughn and he will be developed into a very good NFL player over the next 2 seasons.

    Anything less than an A grade for Licht’s 3rd round selections is oddly low.

    If his last 3 picks in the 3rd rd (Dean, Edwards, Vaughn) all turn out to be as good as I think they will be – its gonna be an A+.

  19. Joe Says:

    Average “bust” rate for 3rd round picks is close to 60% leaguewide.

    Seems rather low for third round.

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    Opinions vary and there is no exact # as results vary year to year. Also – where a selection occurs within a rd matters (34 vs 62 in the 2nd rd for instance). But as a generality – the NFL “bust” rate by round is:

    1st- 46-48%
    2nd – 50>55%
    3rd – 60ish%
    4th – high 60s approaching 70%
    5th – 75+%
    6-7th – 85+%

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    What constitutes a “bust” is also an interpretation.

    In my mind – a bust is a drafted player who does not complete his rookie contract because he wasn’t good enough and the team moved on from him. (Aguayo and the “bad” Dexter Jackson being the 2 most glaring examples I can think of in recent years. 2nd rd picks who didn’t even make it to year 2 with the team).

    Injuries shouldn’t be counted “against” a GMs drafting record IMO. Beckwith and Justin Evans both had plus starter level talent for instance but couldn’t complete their rookie contracts because injuries took away their ability to play the game……

  22. JimmyJack Says:

    7 3rd rounders. 7 rounds of drafting.

    So im gonna play make pretend.
    Bucs 1st round choice….Chris Godwin
    2nd)Alex Cappa
    3rd)Jamaal Dean
    4th)Kendall Beckwith
    5th)Mike Edwards
    6th)Chuck Simms
    7th)Keyshawn Vaugh

    If you had one draft class and came way with those 7 players you won the draft

    Well Done Licht bulb

  23. DirtyBucs Says:

    Look, any GM who hits on this many 3rd rounders gets an A. This is a no brainer. I can’t believe how harsh people are. Do most of you really not take a look at success rate by round of an NFL Draft? Licht is hitting WELL above the average in each of the first 3 rounds. And not just with serviceable players, either. He’s drafting STUDS in the 3rd round. Check please.

  24. J$MCSports Says:

    He gets an A alone for Godwin and Dean. Both are high end NFL starters. Beckwith like Spence was an unfortunate loss due to ankle injury from a car crash. He had big time promise I must say. Cappa is solid depth if anything especially if the Bucs go RG in the first round. Sims did some good things he was as expected. Mike Edwards is another solid guy whose name will be heard more this season I believe.

  25. Brandon Says:

    Drafting Dean and Cappa, two excellent starters on a Super Bowl winning team, and Edwards, who will push hard for a starting spot and might have been the most difficult player to throw against last season… he’s made very good on 3rd rounders.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Yup I would give him an A- for round 3.

    Pretty damn good besides 2016. That was simply an atrocious draft across every round. Not sure what Licht and Kotter were smoking that off season.

    As we’ve seen across rounds 1, 2, and 3- Jason Licht is above average for all of them. I give him a solid B+ for those 3 rounds combined.