Grading Jason Licht (Round 4) — A Draft Series

April 27th, 2021

Time to put your grading hat on and assess the record of Super Bowl general manager Jason Licht when it comes to the NFL Draft.

Next up is Round 4.

(Round 1 grading is here.) (Round 2 is here.) (Round 3 is here.)

Grading a GM’s drafting requires deep thinking, including evaluating 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 aren’t always bad luck.

TWO 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.

Presenting … Round 4.

2014 – None (Traded by prior regime)
2015 – Kwon Alexander
2016 – Ryan Smith
2017 – None (traded to move up for the final pick of Round 3, Kendall Beckwith)
2018 – Jordan Whitehead
2019 – Anthony Nelson
2020 – None (traded for Rob Gronkowski)

Our beloved Super Bowl GM has fared well in Round 4. This is not where you’re supposed to find a Pro Bowler (Alexander) and instant starters, but Licht did.

Say what you want about cornerback/safety/returner/special teamer Ryan Smith, but looking at him through the lens of a fourth-round pick, he was ok. But the next cornerback/safety type off the board after Smith was a better player, Juston Burris (who went to Todd Bowles’ Jets).  Jordan Whitehead was a steal for his round, and Nelson looks like just a guy.

Joe can’t quibble with Licht’s two trades of his Round 4 picks.

Joe’s giving Licht a strong ”B+” for his fourth-round work.


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

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,

27 Responses to “Grading Jason Licht (Round 4) — A Draft Series”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Yes….B+ is just about right….and yes….Ryan Smith wasn’t bad as a 4th round pick….great ST player….
    Nelson…..maybe he becomes like Mark Dominick’s good 4tn round pick, Will Gholston.

  2. Cobraboy Says:

    Alexander may be the most overrated Buc in team history.

  3. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Round 4 is a low percentage crapshoot. Landing 2 Super Bowl starters with your 4th round picks should be an automatic A.

  4. Bucsfan951 Says:

    I have an A on this. I was very critical of licht in the past but these voting posts have made me really put things in perspective. I think lights biggest swing and miss (and ironically hurt this team the most) was the qb position. I guess in licht I trust 🤷🏻‍♂️

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    70% bust rate in round 4 is the league wide average.

    4 selections – 2 quality starters – 1 high quality special teamer – 1 backup DL player.

    3 of the 4 completed their rookie contract (Whitehead completes his this year actually) – and Nelson is still with the team coming into year 3 and played meaningful snaps during the Super Bowl run.

    And 2 other 4th round picks traded for Gronk and moving up for Beckwith…

    Um – for 4th round – Thats pretty much batting .1000

    Ok – .900 because another 4th rounder was used to move up for Aguayo so that was ONE time he didn’t accomplish anything good in the 4th round.

    Anything less than an A grade for JLs 4th rd activity is not being real…..

  6. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    C- just an average draft haul

  7. Sumosam Says:

    Bringing in Whitehead does it for me. He’s been terrific. He should get an A for this.

  8. SlyPirate Says:

    Google “Best 4th Round Draft Picks” since 2000.

    Only 2 players make the Top 10 since Licht became GM … Dak Prescott (2016) and Kwon Alexander (2015).

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    NFL Draft: Ranking the 10 best fourth-round picks since 2000
    #8. Asante Samuel, CB (No. …
    #7. Darren Sproles, RB/KR (No. …
    #6. Jahri Evans, G (No. …
    #5. Geno Atkins, DT (No. 120 overall, 2010) …
    #4. Elvis Dumervil, DE (No. 126 overall, 2006) …
    #3. Dak Prescott, QB (No. 135 overall, 2016) …
    #2. Brandon Marshall, WR (No. 119 overall, 2006) …
    #1. Jared Allen, DE (No. 126 overall, 2004)

    I guess I must be using a different version of Google Sly.

  10. JimmyJack Says:

    We got a Hall of Fame caliber player for a 4th rounder. A double plus

  11. SB Says:

    Don’t look now but Licht seems to be doing pretty darn well in the big picture

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    Doosh nice list. I bet if you looked up a similar list for 3rd rounders theres a few Bucs on there.

  13. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Love this “series” Joe! I appreciate what Licht has done through the draft more with every round.

  14. 40Forever Says:

    I open we the on Kwon for depth if healthy.

  15. SOEbuc Says:

    Kwon always takes me back to “what if we still had Beckwith?” Most likely be a very different situation, but the thought of Beckwith and White at ILB and LVD still on the outside. Always have love from this Buc fan KB.

  16. Fred mcneil Says:

    I gave him a B, but it probably should be B+

  17. ArmchairGM Says:

    A+. For anyone giving below an A-, what are your standards for 4th round picks? Most GMs see any good player after round 3 as a diamond in the rough. Licht found 2 starters in 4 attempts. Another one of those picks was traded for a dude that scored 2 TDs in the Super Bowl for us. Heck, I would have given Licht an A if all his 4th round picks were depth players still playing in the NFL.

    The man has improved a ton at team building through his tenure and deserves the trust of the fans.

  18. PatsBucsfan4years Says:

    Yes we need an Edge Rusher…

    Is this blog edgy….

    About as much as a Golf Ball😆

  19. Buczilla Says:

    One slightly above average starter in Kwon, a good one in Whitehead, an ace special teams guy, plus trading for a HOF tight end who still has it gets a B+ from me too.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I gave a C-.

    Kwon wasn’t good enough to keep obviously.

    Frankly, I don’t see how anyone could give this round a b or better.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    ArmchairGM Says:
    April 27th, 2021 at 5:34 pm
    A+. For anyone giving below an A-, what are your standards for 4th round picks?

    Same as any other round. More positives than negatives, whether the players are still on the team, and if they left, how are they doing since leaving?

    Kwon is a total bust. His injuries kept him from reaching his potential. Ryan Smith is average at best.

    Whitehead is…well, you tell me.

    An A or B is overly generous.

    I do think Licht is a good DM, but the 4th round is certainly not his best round.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    2015 – Kwon Alexander GONE
    2016 – Ryan Smith AVERAGE
    2017 – None (traded to move up for the final pick of Round 3, Kendall Beckwith) GONE…and he chose to trade it.
    2018 – Jordan Whitehead OKAY
    2019 – Anthony Nelson NOT CONTRIBUTING
    2020 – None (traded for Rob Gronkowski)

  23. firethecannons Says:

    Jordan Whitehead had a super game versus Greenbay–he made the difference

  24. Mitch Says:

    Since most 4th-7th round draft picks last less than four years in the league I think he has done pretty well.

    2015 Kwon played much better than expected, was a leader on the team, and ended up being the perfect bridge for Devin.

    2016 Ryan Smith was a bad corner and had some coaching issues, but turned out to be a special teams ace.

    2017- Kendall Beckwith showed promise until he had a career ending injury as a result of a car accident- something no one could predict.

    2018- Jordan Whitehead is fully developing in front of our eyes. He is starting to hit like Bob Sanders. If he can just squeeze those three or four footballs that hit him in the stomach this past year he is a top 15 safety in the league.

    2019 – Anthony Nelson – a project from Iowa who gets pressure, but seems to be one step away 9/10 times at getting to the QB. Let’s see what he does this year.

    2020- Gronk – Those two tuddies and ring are worth it.

    I’d say Licht has done pretty well. A-

  25. ArmchairGM Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    April 27th, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    2015 – Kwon Alexander GONE – had 3 good years for the Bucs, including 1 pro bowl. That’s amazing for a 4th rounder.
    2016 – Ryan Smith AVERAGE – Meh CB, but a special teams ace. I’d say that’s decent in the 4th.
    2017 – None (traded to move up for the final pick of Round 3, Kendall Beckwith) GONE…and he chose to trade it. – You can’t count this against Licht and ignore the trade for Gronk.
    2018 – Jordan Whitehead OKAY – Getting a starting safety in the 4th round? Even if you think he’s just okay, that’s an amazing pick in the 4th.
    2019 – Anthony Nelson NOT CONTRIBUTING – he played 30% of defensive snaps. That’s a good depth piece. Again, another valuable pick in the 4th.
    2020 – None (traded for Rob Gronkowski) – See above. If you want to count Beckwith against Licht, then you have to count Gronk for him. Picking up a HoF TE who had 7 TDs + 2 in the Super Bowl for a 4th round pick is a pretty good trade.

    This is why I want to know what standard you all are using. What’s your criteria for an A? I compare the each player to the average one drafted in that round. Guess what? A majority of those are busts and out of the league in a few years. The fact that 3/4 of the 4th round selections are still playing is above average.

  26. J$MCSports Says:

    They actually drafted an accomplished player in this round so its another A+ it being the 4th round

  27. unbelievable Says:

    I’d give him a solid B.

    Not a whole lot of 4th round picks during his tenure to be honest.