Reviewing The 2018 Draft

June 13th, 2021


Look, Joe understands that grading a draft hours after it ends is borderline irresponsible.

But damnit, not only is it fun as hell, fans clamor for it! Demand it!

And if publications p!ss off their audience enough and ignore what they want, then they may become a newspaper and have to beg people, both rich and poor, to pay their light bills.

The best time to grade a draft is three years later, or perhaps four. By then, you know what guys did on their rookie contracts and how they impacted the team — or another team — or otherwise channeled their inner Austin Seferian-Jackwagon.

In going through the 2018 draft, Dane Brugler of The Athletic believes Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht had the fifth-best draft that year. Interestingly enough, Brugler’s top-five graded teams in the 2018 draft each made the playoffs last season.

Best player: Vita Vea

It can be tough for nose tackles to receive proper attention because their contributions do not always show in the stat sheet. But watching the Buccaneers’ defense last season, it was obvious when Vea was on the field and when he was not — and not just because he is a nimble 350-pound behemoth. He missed most of the 2020 season due to a right leg injury, but it helped showcase his value because he was sorely missed during his recovery.

Best value (outside the first round): Carlton Davis

There is no doubt that he has allowed his share of completions, but no NFL player has more passes defended (37) over the last two seasons than Davis. He has seven more than Jaire Alexander and James Bradberry, who are tied for second (30). Davis was essential during the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run, when he allowed only seven catches over four games against several of the NFL’s premier pass-catchers.

Biggest miss: M.J. Stewart

The fifth cornerback drafted, Stewart was a sporadic performer for the Buccaneers over two seasons before he was released. He played with the Browns last year and appeared in only 21 percent of the defensive snaps in a secondary desperate for competent cornerback play.

Here are the Tampa Bay draft picks in 2018:

Vita Vea, DT, first-round
Ronald Jones, RB, second-round
M.J. Stewart, CB, second-round
Carlton Davis, CB, second-round
Alex Cappa, G, third-round
Jordan Whitehead, S, fourth-round
Justin Watson, WR, fifth-round
Jack Cichy, LB, sixth-round

You want to know what an impactful draft class that was for the Bucs? Five — FIVE! — of the first six picks at one point in the season started for a Super Bowl champion.

The sixth and seventh selections were special teams guys, with Watson sometimes producing on offense.

That, friends, is what Joe calls a haul.

When all but one of your picks is still on a roster three years later when the team wins a Super Bowl, that’s not only a good draft, but it also shows the coaching staff knew how to develop these guys.

23 Responses to “Reviewing The 2018 Draft”

  1. TOM Says:

    If only Cichy could avoid the injury bug.

  2. BuucccNASTY Says:

    5 starters, there of which could be top 5-10 at their given positions (vita, Davis, and Cappa), and only the 5th best draft of 2018?? I’d like to see which of these last year playoff teams was above us… prbly why we won, and they didn’t lol

  3. August 1976 Buc Says:

    lol lol…”Look, Joe understands that grading a draft hours after it ends is borderline irresponsible.”

    For the Football Junkie it is a drug called “lunacy” lol lol because no one really knows how the draft crapshoot will turn out in 3 years.

    Anyways it is all good entertainment.

    BTW Jason Licht ..Take A Bow for this awesome World Championship Roster you have assembled through the “Crapshoots of the Draft and Free Agency”

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  4. SB~LV Says:

    I can’t figure out the WR Watson, big , fast and GREAT hands in college, yet has had trouble getting on the field as a WR… yeah I know about the other WR’s and he has had some drops but every WR ahead of him has had drops

  5. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Watson was involved in 2 pick 6’s by Brady, and he disappeared from the offense after that.
    He seems to be a Special teams stud, so time will tell if he earns BA’s and Brady’s trust and gets back out there on offense

    GO BUCS!!!

  6. Medicated Pete Says:

    Bucs don’t get past Green Bay w/o Vita, Carlton & Jordan so that draft class is invaluable.

  7. firethecannons Says:

    It was a great draft but why take mj stewart–small, slow and minimal production in college live n learn I liked in 2019 the theme was fast and has been since then–that has changed everything Watson has had his opportunity in 2020 and did not shine , in fact may of contributed to a TB12 pick

  8. SB Says:

    Just looking at the fact that Shaq had more sacks in the SEVEN games that Vea played than the THIRTEEN that he didn’t play is the Perfect illustration on how vital Vea is!

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    What an outstanding draft…..5 starters plus Watson & Cichy on ST….

    I still can’t figure how MJ Stewart was chosen before Davis……but they were both extra picks from the Vea trade down in the first.

    Watson is a very good pick for the 5th round and would it not be for our WR depth…he would get more snaps.

    Congrats Licht on a fantastic draft.

  10. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Good draft and good player development, especially with Cappa and Carlton Davis (he had 4 interceptions last year, I doubted he’d ever get that many in a season). All I could think of when the Bucs took MJ Stewart was they planned on playing him at Safety. Too slow for CB in the NFL, and glad the Bucs learned their lesson on that, finally.

  11. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    It took a Superbowl to do it, but I am genuinely so happy to see that Jason Licht is being recognized as the stud GM that he is. All of the nonsense that Jon Robinson was really calling the shots is just that, nonsense. Licht is the man! How many Superbowls has Tennesee won under Jon Robinson?? Exactly.

    Go Licht!

  12. Doctor Stroud Says:

    A good haul, indeed! You might say that they were were a “Whalen” of a catch!

  13. No Risk It No Biscuit Says:

    With this coaching staff even the GM got better!!!!

    Going for ✌🏻In a row Baby!!!!!

  14. PSL Bob Says:

    “it also shows the coaching staff knew how to develop these guys.” And that my friends is almost as important as the players drafted. You’ve got to train your players well and put them in positions to succeed. The Bucs current coaching staff has done an outstanding job of meeting those objectives.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    Cichy had injury problems in college, and they continued in the pros.

    That said, a 6th round pick is a longshot anyways, so I don’t consider Cichy a bust at all. Injuries happen.

  16. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Player development, hmmmm when was the last time that word happened here? Maybe since the Tony Dungy days. Seems like most of the guys we’ve drafted for the last 17 years either move to other teams or are released. Great to finally have a good coaching staff.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Think of how terrible the Bucs drafts were in the Gruden Era…For starters, the Bucs gave up 2 1st Rounders and 2 2nd Rounders to get him. The draft picks after Gruden got here:

    Good players drafted in the first 3 Rounds: Dewayne White, Davin Joseph, and Aquib Talib.

    Average players drafted in the first 3 Rounds: Barrett Ruud, Alex Smith, Jeremy Trueblood, and Jeremy Zuttah

    Terrible players drafted in the first 3 Rounds: Marquis Walker, Chris Simms, Michael Clayton, Marquis Cooper (lack of instincts), Cadillac Williams (injuries played a part in it), Chris Colmer, Maurice Stovall, Gaines Adams, Arron Sears (mental issues), Sabby Piscitelli, Quincy Black (lack of instincts), and WR Dexter Jackson.

    That’s some bad drafting.

  18. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Fans like to evaluate the draft immediately because part of the fun is seeing how well you guessed which of your favorites did. We also want to see how we did because inside we want to tell other fans “I told you so!” later on. Of course, seeing the pundits rate you draft high gives you hope for how your team will perform in the next couple of years.

  19. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    In 2018 I touted Vita Vea for our first pick over safety Derwin James (who went 17th to the Chargers). I also wanted Carlton Davis in the second round not only because he was talented enough but because he was taller than most of the remaining CB candidates. I shook my head in wonder when MJ Stewart went before him.

    Here it comes. “I told you so!” 😈

    P.S. There were rumors swirling that the Bucs were going to a 3-4 defensive base soon at the time. NONE of our local pundits or “insiders” ever reported on the source of those rumors. Licht may have signaled this after the fact with his choice of Vea as a potential replacement for GMAC who shined as a 30-technique player in the existing 4-3 scheme. The change of scheme did not occur until Arians and Bowles came along.

  20. JimbobBucsFan Says:


    your draft


    😵‍💫 😖

  21. doolnutts Says:

    I love it… HE might be the best GM in the NFL right now. And I am not just saying that because of the Super Bowl. Most GM’s are lucky to get 2 starters out of any given draft. Licht has far exceeded that in his tenure. Glad the Glazers show patients.

  22. “That guy” Says:

    Jordan whitehead should be the best value, just on the fact that he is a 4th round pick and he is starting. Also he made some game changing plays/hits/ turnovers in crucial moments through the regular season and playoffs. Carlton Davis played outstanding as well but as a 2nd round pick, I just don’t think it warrants the best value pick of the 2018 draft.

  23. unbelievable Says:

    Hated the MJ Stewart pick at the time, and nothing has changed that lol.

    But Vea, Davis, Cappa, Whitehead and RoJo all from one draft class! Pretty dang good Jason.