Drafting Against A Stacked Deck

May 6th, 2022

Bucs GM Jason Licht

It’s hard for a team to pull off a dominant draft class when it’s drafting at No. 27, and trading that pick to get out of the first round.

The only way a team can rule a draft picking late would be to start trading quality starters or a lot of future picks. Obviously, the Bucs didn’t do that.

So when grading the Tampa Bay draft, Joe’s good friend Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders looked at it from the perspective of the deck stacked against the Bucs.

While some shrug their shoulders at the Bucs’ draft, Tanier liked how AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht managed the draft despite not having a first-round pick. And Tanier wasn’t throwing around A and B grades liberally,

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Improved Roster: C
Used Resources Well: C+
Met Needs: C

Trading out of the first round was a shrewd little move. Houston defensive end Logan Hall can help right away as a rugged, versatile wave defender along the line. Washington tight end Cade Otton is a sturdy potential Gronk surrogate. “Ko Kieft” is a fun thing to say. Nothing the Buccaneers did [last] weekend was going to matter after the Brady Rapture, so finding guys who can help right away while fluffing the bottom of the depth chart is as good as this draft was going to get.

Interesting angle. Last year the Bucs mostly went after special teams players. This year, as Joe has already pointed out, the Bucs went for need and roster depth. On face value, Licht seems to have succeeded if that was the goal.

37 Responses to “Drafting Against A Stacked Deck”

  1. Hodad Says:

    He said fluffing.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I think Jason Licht did great, considering the number of picks and draft position we had.

  3. K2 Says:

    I liked this year’s draft much better than last years. I think the Bucs got 2 steals …in the 3rd and 5th rounds. I agree that DL, OL, and TE should be solid. Additionally, as much as I hate drafting a punter….he will save cap space and play. I think his grading is low…but only time will tell.

  4. #8 Says:

    For the reasonable goal they had, he gets an A.
    Needed depth & hopefully 1 makes impact. I feel pretty good at least 1 of them will impact.
    Now go resign Suh.

  5. #8 Says:

    Also saved on cap by having zero 1st rounders. I don’t think that’s been mentioned, but that was also about $5-6mil saved from 27 to 33.
    I am still irritated they spent a 2nd rounder on Trask. I have problems apparently.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Last year the Bucs mostly went after special teams players. This year, as Joe has already pointed out, the Bucs went for need and roster depth.’

    I hope you’re wrong on both counts Joe. I can see drafting for depth in Rnd 4 and below, but in Rnds 1-3 … both years … we need to be drafting future starters. And to an extent we did exactly that I think.

    2020: Rnd 1 – Wirfs (current starter); Rnd 2 – Winfield (current starter); Rnd 3 – Vaughn (depth most likely)

    2021: Rnd 1 – JTS (future starter); Rnd 2 – Trask (future starter HOPEFULLY); Rnd 3 – Hainsey (depth/future starter)

    2022: Rnd 1 – Hall (future starter); Rnd 2 – Goedeke (depth/ future starter); Rnd 3 – White (depth most likely).

    I’m not impressed with anyone we drafted below Rnd 3 from 2020 & 2021 (doubt that any of them will see a second contract with the Bucs). However, several players we picked up this year do impress me, and could very well be starters and/or key rotational guys in future years … Camarda, Otton & Kieft, and especially McCollum. Only time will tell though.

  7. Buczilla Says:

    I like the players that we drafted and I will obviously root for them and wish them success, but I think that we screwed the pooch by ignoring corner and wide receiver in the first three rounds. I’ve been wrong plenty and hope that’s the case here too, but skipping those positions is going to cost us big time this year unless Licht has plans either through trade or free agency to to add a worthy starting corner who doesn’t fall apart during the season and a viable receiver behind Gage.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    My favorite pick was Otton because it was a bonus pick…..the other really good picks were our two 5th rounders……that’s right…..two.
    McCollum & Mason.

  9. Pewter Power Says:

    It’s pathetic that you have to be a sucky team to get a good grade. So if we had multiple starters our grade would be better lol ok

  10. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    I feel like, in the past two years, Licht has been reaching on way to many picks. I’m not saying they’re not good players, just that many were picked 1-2 even 3 rounds early.

  11. Bucaroo Says:

    Bucs’ scouts will be focused on linebackers all day, every day next year. That position group will see an overhaul.

  12. Pa Privateer Says:

    You can’t forget to remember that our 2022 5th round pick was Guard Shaq Mason who is an immediate starter.

  13. PSL Bob Says:

    Of all the grades I’ve seen, these are the lowest. I understand where Tanier is coming from and agree with his logic, but I think the players selected will actually do more for the team than he is projecting. A perfect example is the new RB, White. If he truly becomes the Lightning to Fournette’s Thunder, our running game is going to be electric.

  14. Natural Selection Says:

    We drafted about as well as we could have looking exclusively at putting together the best roster for the 2022 season. That’s absolutely not how I would want my FO to approach drafting in general, but completely support it given we are in a legitimate Super Bowl window right now. When I look at our draft through the lens of maximizing potential in 2022 (and eliminating as many potential pitfalls as possible), I think we did a great job tbh.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Shaq Mason is an immediate starter and on field upgrade over his predecessor. Who will both have almost identical cap hits over the next 2 seasons. So we spent a 5th to upgrade RG. When looking at roster building in its totality, that was a great use of draft capital imo.

  16. Posey99 Says:

    Grading a draft this early is like grading a test that you only wrote you name on. Too soon to tell anything.

  17. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I thought Licht did a great job trading down and getting additional picks. The draft is a crap shoot. This is proved every year when only slightly more than half of the 1st RD picks get their 5th year picked up by the teams that drafted them – 19 of 32 this year.

    I am worried about our DL. I hope they resign Suh.

  18. Allbuccedup Says:

    Draft grade would have been a B if it wasn’t for picking a punter in the 4th do not understand Licht and his infatuation with kickers!

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    Grading drafts is as about as useful as mock drafts. Very few draft picks make immediate impacts on teams. Teams that draft higher, their picks are more likely to see significant playing time versus teams that draft later.
    I like our picks, though the punter is still a head-scratcher to me. Cost savings I guess?
    We’ll see. We improved the team, at a minimum, by acquiring depth.

  20. Bucamania Says:

    It is what it is. You reach when you draft for need. They got some rotational depth. Not exactly all-in for 2022. Shaq Mason was their best pick.

  21. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    I disagree strongly with the Tanier’s analysis. I give Licht an A for the way he navigated this draft. I rate the result after digesting it for a while as in the A-/B+ range. My first reaction was in the B to C range.

    This is all because of my perception of the hand that he was dealt. I do agree with the statment “It’s hard for a team to pull off a dominant draft class when it’s drafting at No. 27, …”.

  22. SKBucsFan Says:

    Time will tell but I agree it was a C+ draft. Licht went reaching again! Not to say they won’t be good players, but could have drafted most of them with later round picks and saved our 4th for next year.
    According to Joe and a lot of posters on here our 4th thus year will be a savior.

  23. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Defence Rules, as is the case most of the time I like your deeper look at this topic. I do have higher expectations for Rachaad White than you do. I think he will become a significant contributer this year and for many thereafter. I’m hoping strongly that he will be dramatically different from the types of running backs we have seen in Tampa Bay in recent years.

  24. jerseybuc Says:

    I have the perspective of living in the NY metro area and watching the gleeful reaction to the Jets and Giants haul on draft weekend. I could only smile listening to my friends gloat about the picks.
    I will pick 27 any day in the week and do we did rather than being a bottom feeder. I remember feeling like the draft was the highlight of my year some seasons.
    Nah, I like we sit now. Solid, solid draft and we have a few more additions to make, but at this point, lets stay healthy and ger ready to go!

  25. jerseybuc Says:

    I have the perspective of living in the NY metro area and watching the gleeful reaction to the Jets and Giants haul on draft weekend. I could only smile listening to my friend’s gloat about the picks.
    I will pick 27 any day of the week and do what we did rather than being a bottom feeder. I remember feeling like the draft was the highlight of my year some seasons.
    Nah, I like where we sit now. Solid, solid draft and we have a few more additions to make, but at this point, let’s stay healthy and ger ready to roll!

  26. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    P.S. to remaks at 11:11

    I do see White as having the potential to become a three down starter post Lombardi Lennie.

    Fournette has exceeded my hopes for him when we aquired him. He has flourished under our coaches and ascended to the potential he exhibited at the time he was drafted with the 4th pick. He is a complete back and become another stellar catch by Licht with that one-year contract.

  27. mark2001 Says:

    D rules. What is the big factor that existed before 20 and 21 that might have made Licht a more astute evaluator of talent and better drafter? I think the Arians regime has alot to do with that… one of many reasons I think we kept Bruce on board upon retirement. Of course, it is a pleasant change from the “I love every player” mentality of Gruden, and the “don’t give a flying fish mentality of McKay (Im going to Atlanta)” during Grudens second year.

  28. GOB Says:

    At least he didn’t draft a QB with his second pick this year

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    JimbobBucsFan … I hope you’re right about White, but I think I’ve always been skeptical of rookie RBs (and actually RBs in general). Guess I’ve always preferred the seasoned vets (but not TOOOO seasoned).

    Lenny Fournette has rapidly become my favorite Bucs’ RB, probably because he’s so well-rounded. His 4.5 yds/rush average last season was the best of his career, and his 82.1% catch percentage was outstanding. Doesn’t miss very many blocks either when he’s protecting Brady.

    And yet, for his whole 5-year career he only has a 4.0 yds/rush average. Seems low to me, until I look back at my favorite duo, Mike Alstott & Warrick Dunn, Thunder & Lightning. Alstott finished his 11-year career with a 3.7 yds/rush average. And Dunn wasn’t all that much better with a 4.1 yds/rush average in his 12-year career. But then again, I liked Errict Rhett too, but he only had a 3.5 yds/rush average over his 7-year career. Maybe that’s why my RB expectations aren’t really all that high.

  30. MadMax Says:

    Mr Licht was trolling mfers with that trade down lol. He had the top pick of the 2nd and 4th. I know some trade offers were coming in with our second. I wouldve loved to have been a fly on the wall in that room. I really believe Devante Wyatt was right there above Logan Hall, but he went the next pick after we traded, 28…. And there was no time to play around, so we snapped up Logan….which is an awesome pick. We had to get a punter, sorry for those who dont like it. G yes, TE Yes….the RB pick was a little surprising but we did need help in that area. But that CB pick in McCollom in the 5th. That was the steal of the draft.

  31. MadMax Says:

    I think Im gonna have to start holding in who I want for us. JW is with the Saints now and Im sure he told them to watch this cat (me). Olave, Alontae Taylor, and Demarco Jackson…..3 guys I named for us, but they beat us to them…oh well its all good lol.

  32. teacherman777 Says:


    I am still upset about that the Trask pick too.

    I am sure Arians did it just to piss off Tom. Arians was/is jealous of Tom!


  33. Defense Rules Says:

    Mark2001 … Interesting question, and I agree with your perspective about Arians’ influence. I was really down on JL in his early years, but he’s really grown into the job & flourished since BA came on-board. Sometimes wondered if Lovie & Dirk were providing ‘unhelpful inputs’ into the drafting process, and thus negatively impacting those drafts. Neither were particularly good teachers either (ie, to develop the talent that we drafted?).

    Starting in 2019 though when BA was hired as coach, JL’s drafting prowess improved immensely IMO. Maybe it just took that long to get his staff performing like he wanted them too, or maybe it really was BA’s impact on this whole organization. Both of them deserve credit for the Bucs’ turnaround, but especially BA in my mind. He created a staff (large admittedly) of top-notch professionals who have also shown themselves to be excellent teachers. That’s something we’d been missing since the days of Dungy & Kiffin, and it’s made a huge difference.

  34. Trey Long Says:

    Pompous predictions about draft picks are one
    Of the biggest jokes in football. Nobody knows who’ll be a long term starter, a HOFer, or a bust.

  35. stpetebucsfan Says:

    It’s been fun cheering for two teams that have won Championships!

    One thing both the Lightning and Bucs have in common is a fan base getting a bit spoiled by success. In professional leagues with salary caps and drafts to balance the competition…we have been blessed to have not one but TWO stud teams.

    Our current kvetching is just a sign that the NFL draft works overall. Teams that do well are set up for mediocre drafts in the hope that the poor teams will catch then.

    So every new player for the Bolts or the Bucs get uber scrutiny and high expectations. Isn’t that freaking AWESOME?

    Read what I just typed. Our two major sports franchises have high expectations!

    Those of us who have been around know it hasn’t always been this way with both franchises being jokes of their respective leagues at times.

  36. Cobraboy Says:

    @DR: do not forget the Bucs “drafted” Shaq Mason, too.

    That makes this draft an A+.

    I consider round 4+ as a crapshoot. Flung darts. ST hopefuls. But if one guy drafted late has a solid positive impact, great joy!

  37. Cobraboy Says:

    @spbf: yeah, the Lightning have high expectations internally and by the fans. I suspect both will be sorely disappointed shortly.