Grading Jason Licht – Round 4

April 23rd, 2022

Get out that red pen (too soon?) and grade the record of Super Bowl general manager Jason Licht in Round 4 of the NFL Draft.

One must be a deep thinker to properly grade a GM, including evaluating what moves were made versus the ones that weren’t. Scoring a team-building move versus a best-player-available move is critical, too.

Then there’s a team’s performance and a player’s impact within the roster.

Just four days from the 2022 NFL Draft – the ninth of Licht’s Tampa Bay tenure – it’s time for fans to grab a Big Storm Beer and grade Licht.

The picks:

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)
2021 – Jaelon Darden

Round 4 is not where you’re supposed to find a Pro Bowler (Alexander) and instant starters, but Licht did. And Whitehead just bolted for a giant payday with the Jets.

For this exercise, Joe sort of will call linebacker Kendall Beckwith a fourth-round pick. He had a strong rookie season, but his career was lost to a car accident, and that can’t be blamed on Licht.

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). He started at safety for Carolina’s  defense last season.

Nelson just finished his best season in Tampa (5 sacks, didn’t miss a game) and he truly is an emerging player. Darden? He looked overwhelmed often and appears in danger of getting cut this summer.

Interestingly, the guy drafted one pick after Darden went to the Rams, Robert Rochell. He’s a long corner in the mold of Bucs general manager Jason Licht and actually looked pretty good as part of a strong defensive backs unit. He played about a third of the snaps for the Super Bowl champs.

With Nelson’s climb and Darden’s stumbling cancelling each other out, Joe is giving Licht a solid “B+” for his career work in Round 4.

11 Responses to “Grading Jason Licht – Round 4”

  1. webster Says:

    Whitehead did not get a giant pay day. He signed a 2 year contract at 7 mil per. Thats not giant when there are safeties making 14 mil per and the highest paid is making 18 mil per. He is not even close to top 10 paid safety as that person makes 13 mil per. You said the same about gholston ala giant pay day when he was making 7 mil per and acting as if he was underperforming and being the pied piper for your followers to call for him to be cut every year. This is silly talk. Sorry. Joe thinks a fourth-round safety scoring $7 million per is a giant payday. –Joe He was paid accordingly as a rotatioal piece as top d-ends were getting 16 mil+. Whiitehead is paid accordingly so if he does not make a pro bowl etc., he is not underperforming or overpaid. He is being paid to be a solid safety ala what he has been his entire career.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Convinced that there’s still value to be found in Rnd 4, but the success rate doesn’t seem to be nearly as high as the Top-3 Rnds. In JL’s case, in the 7 years from 2015-2021, he hit on Kwon, Whitehead & Nelson IMO, and somewhat on Ryan Smith (he was quite good on S/Ts). That’s batting roughly 60% in those 7 years, plus 2 trade-aways & Darden. Seems like a solid B.

    Hoping that we can hit on a TE, ILB, CB or OL with our Rnd 3 & 4 picks this year. Still hopeful that our Rnd 1 & 2 picks go to grab a DT and DE/OLB. Nelson’s the only DE/OLB in that Rnd 4 list & there’s a very good chance he’ll be gone next year is he does well this year. And if he doesn’t do well, why would we want to keep him?

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    4th round picks are NFL ‘busts’ 65-70% of the time.

    Less than 35% of 4th round draftees ‘make it’ in the NFL.

    5 players drafted by JL in the 4th:

    – Alexander – started as a rookie – former Pro Bowler and still playing after 7 years in the league.

    – Ryan Smith – played with the Bucs 4 years – excellent Special teamer – 6 years and counting in the league…

    – Whitehead – starter quality safety – just got a nice deal from the Jets heading into year 5…..

    – Nelson – capable back up DL/Edge player – 3rd year was his best and the arrow is pointing up.

    – Darden – looked lost his rookie year – but don’t be surprised if this kid ‘improves’ and makes some big plays for the Bucs at some point in the future. Way too soon to write him off as a bust…..

    The Beckwith move up and the Gronkowski trade were obviously very good moves.

    Seems to me that Jason Licht is batting damn near 1000 in the 4th round.

    Even if Darden gets cut tomorrow – its still an 80% success rate – compared to the league average of <35%.

    How can Licht be awarded any less than an 'A' for those 4th round drafting results???

  4. Allbuccedup Says:

    Jury still out on Darden the rest on the list not to bad.

  5. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR and Pick

    I agree with you guys.

    I give JL a B+.

    Whitehead, Nelson, Kwon and trading for Gronk were solid moves. I hope Darden makes huge improvements because he looked extremely lackluster last season…

  6. Allen Lofton Says:

    Why do you think TB came to the Bucs – great front office, coaching and players – says a lot for JL

  7. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    Considering it’s forth round I’d say he deserves an A.

  8. Buczilla Says:

    B for me and not much to complain about. Remember, Ronde sucked his first year too, so there is hope for Darden.

  9. Steven Carroll Says:

    Why are the BUCS not resigning jpp

  10. Joe Says:

    Why are the BUCS not resigning jpp

    Been spelled out many, many times before and it’s hardly a secret. You rarely see teams lining up to sign 33-year old linemen who had their worst year in the NFL and are coming off surgery.

  11. SlyPirate Says:

    Alexander, Whitehead, and Nelson. PLUS, we traded a 4th for Rob Gronkowski!

    That’s a B in the 2nd round. We’re talking about the 4th round.