Grading Jason Licht (Round 5) — A Draft Series

April 28th, 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 5.

(Round 1 grading is here.) (Round 2 is here.) (Round 3 is here.) (Round 4 is here.)

Congratulations! You love the Bucs enough to read about fifth-round draft picks. Joe thanks you for your patronage.

Grading a general managers NFL Draft record requires deep thinking, including studying what moves were made — and 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 massive elephant in the room: a team’s record and a player’s impact.

Injuries are thorny because while a GM cannot be blamed for injuries, GMs do laud their elite medical and training staffs. And that staff evaluates prospects’ health and performance to project potential injuries – and prevent them. So logic says injuries are not always bad luck.

ONE day 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 5.

2014 – Kadeem Edwards, Kevin Pamphile
2015 – Kenny Bell
2016 – Caleb Benenoch
2017 – Jeremy McNichols (aka Snoop Dogg McPlaybook)
2018 – Justin Watson
2019 – Matt Gay
2020 – Tyler Johnson

Ugly bunch on the surface, for sure. But a deeper look isn’t as bad.

Pamphile was a starter at left guard on a top-10 Bucs offense in 2017, and had a six-year career. McNichols has been a survivor and was Derek Henry’s backup for Tennessee last season. Joe remembers the classic Bucs on Hard Knocks scene, when Licht seem pissed that McNichols wouldn’t sign to be on the Bucs’ practice squad; he quickly landed with the 49ers.

Watson disappeared from the Bucs offense last season and has continued to be regular on special teams, but he was inactive for three of four playoff games and for a handful during the regular season.

Gay was a bad read by the organization, and Johnson looks promising after proving to be a big-game, big-play contributor.

Remember, Little is expected of fifth-rounders. The bust rate is high.

All factors considered, Joe is giving Licht a B- for his Round 5 picks. Joe might have gone lower without Johnson’s playoff showing or if Scotty Miller (2019, sixth round) wasn’t such a great pick, since Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow was selected just a few slots after Gay. What say you?


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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,

35 Responses to “Grading Jason Licht (Round 5) — A Draft Series”

  1. Pewter941 Says:

    Its only a D because of Tyler Johnson, if not it would be an F.

  2. Medicated Pete Says:

    This is why anyone can be an nfl scout

  3. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Been waiting for this picture Joe.

    A JBF classic!

  4. Mike C Says:

    Most guys in this round are a miss….

  5. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Wonder how many 5th rounders are even in the league ?

  6. BA4President Says:

    I give it a C. It’s so hard in the 5th round, which is why I say we trade all of our picks after the 3rd round for an extra 3rd rounder or something

  7. SB~LV Says:

    Wonder what Clipboard Kenny is doing these days

  8. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Time to do an article on grading Jason Licht pre Arians/Bowles arrival and post Arians/Bowels arrival….licht became a top 10 GM with the arrival of Arians and Bowles

  9. Swampbuc Says:

    Kenny Bell ROTFLMAO — the dude was more concerned about his hair than playing football.

  10. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Three 5th round is not expected to produce much. Some hits and misses here as expected for any GM. What brings down the grade is Matt Gay, drafting another kicker is flat out dumb. What brings up the grade is Tyler Johnson, who could be a steal. We land on a C+.

  11. Pewter941 Says:

    So lets trade our 5th rounder to move up in the second.

  12. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    Caleb Benenoch, or bend a lot, dude gave me an ulcer

  13. Greg G Says:

    It’s average performance for the fifth round (but only average because they seem to have struck gold with Tyler Johnson). As such it deserves an average grade of C.

    Perfectly acceptable grade for your 5th round picks.

  14. ArmchairGM Says:

    I give Licht a B. 3/8 picks contributing is good for the 5th. Might be an A if Johnson develops into a great WR. He’s not there yet. For reference, these are pro bowlers Licht could have chosen in the 5th round:

    2014 – LB Telvin Smith (the pick right after Edwards lol)
    2015 – LB D.J. Alexander (3 other pro bowlers before the Bucs picked that year)
    2016 – RB Jordan Howard, WR Tyreek Hill
    2017 – RB Aaron Jones (TE George Kittle went in this round before the Bucs picked)
    2018 – P Michael Dickson
    2019 – P Jake Bailey
    2020 – None yet

    So out of 224+ picks, there were a grand total of 11 pro bowlers or <5%. Adjust your expectations. If they play for 3 or more years as a 5th rounder, they're a decent pick.

  15. Casual Observer Says:

    I doubt that many teams look very good with their no. 5s.

  16. Bucfanforever Says:

    A. If any 5-7 round picks make the team, let alone play productive snaps, you’re doing great.

  17. Mitch Says:

    These players during these rounds average less than 2.5 years in the league. In fact by position they highest is OL at 3.5 years. WR two years and RB one year. I’d say Licht definitely did well. Solid B.

  18. SlyPirate Says:

    Best 5th Round Picks since Licht started …
    -Tyreek “Peace Sign” Hill
    -George Kittle

    Other pre-Licht picks …
    -Richard Sherman
    -Kam Chancellor

    Pro Bowlers can be found in the 5th.

  19. Mitch Says:

    SlyPirate- who have the bucs selected in the 5th? I can remember Jermaine Phillips and Santana Dotson in 1992….Maybe Ian Beckles?

    You listed 4 players out of 32 teams that picked over the course of 10 years. That’s not great odds.

    Also Tyreek should not count because he was only there due to his domestic violence troubles.

  20. D-Rome Says:

    Pro Bowlers can be found in the 5th.

    Sure, but it’s extremely rare. You named four players out of a total of 320 5th round picks over the past 10 years.

  21. Swampbuc Says:

    Pewter941 Says:
    April 28th, 2021 at 12:35 pm
    So lets trade our 5th rounder to move up in the second.

    Yeah, of course. But probably a fifth moves you up in the 3rd. Not much in the 2nd.

  22. bucnole Says:

    I totally forgot about J. Watson
    What happened to him – he had pretty good speed

  23. SOEbuc Says:

    I was excited about Watson. Great ST guy now.

  24. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Justin Watson ran 2 poor out routes that led to pick 6s. That effectively ended his receiving career under The Brady Regime. 🙂

  25. Jack Says:

    We hate to admit it but Matt Gay beat us in with the only score in the the 4th Qtr last year against the Rams. He is still kicking.

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Actually, Matt Gay kicked pretty well for the Rams last year…..we couldn’t gamble by keeping him….

    So…how do you measure the pick? By how well he plays and how long he stays on your team…or how well he does overall (including other teams)?

    So, many of these picks have logged a few years in the league….that’s pretty good picking.

    Regardless of his couple of bad routes…Justin Watson was a pretty good 5th round pick.

  27. DaBux Says:

    ONLY a C+ for Tyler Johnson.

  28. Buczilla Says:

    Getting a guy like Santana Dotson or Ian Beckles in the 5th round is not easy, so I gave em a C.

  29. Cainishere Says:

    I gave a D grade. You have to look deeper as a scout to score in the 5th 6th and 7th.

  30. Hissylizzard Says:

    You all give Arians and Bowles too much credit.Arians is a mediocre coach and Bowles was a terrible head coach.Brady is what put them in the position they are in.Whether or not they maintain is the question but they shouldve let a.coulple offensive players go and drafted a couple to replace them.

  31. Bucanero Says:

    It’s unfair if you don’t take into account some standard to measure against. What can you get on the fifth? Give me the starters drafted by other GMs

  32. David Says:

    You people saying D or F are ridiculous. It’s round five, get a grip. Pamphile and Benecoc weren’t bad OL for rd 5. Watson is decent. Johnson shows a ton of promise

  33. David Says:


    4th and 5th rounds have a success rate of 14% combined.
    That “success rate” is based on a player eventually becoming a starter for half their career. It does not matter how long the career is though.

    So take it for what it is worth.
    The bottom line is players in the fourth and fifth round combined
    have a 1 out of 7 chance of eventually becoming a starter.

    Rounds 5-7 range from 4 to 6.5%

    65% of all starters any given year were drafted in rounds 1-3.

  34. David Says:

    Oddly enough undrafted players make up about 12% of the starters in the NFL any given year

  35. J$MCSports Says:

    A lot are no longer in the NFL. Pamphile was solid and a starter who gained a contract in FA. Beneoch, Edwards, & Bell were on the milk cartons for years here. Gay wasnt too horrible like Aguayo was he had a big leg just no control with it. Tyler Johnson looks to be a steal. Snoop Mcplaybook was nice for TV. Watson aint bad either Brady tried to turn him into a gem but he will come around if he can stay healthy. Hes been here a good while. Kenny Bell had to be the most disappointing though hands down because nothing was expected of Kadeem Edwards.