Don’t Do It, Mr. Licht!

April 27th, 2023

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There’s only one sure thing about the 2023 draft: some teams are going to make a huge mistake when it comes to selecting a quarterback.

No first-round pick is a guaranteed stud, but quarterbacks seem to be less sure than others when making the transition to the NFL. The draft is littered with bonehead decisions as general managers and their scouts try to project prospects under center at the next level.

The Bucs have certainly been no strangers to the bust club for the game’s most important position.

Vinny Testaverde doesn’t count in this rogue’s gallery because he earned two Pro Bowl berths after leaving Tampa Bay, finishing in the Top 20 all-time in completions, passing yards and TD passes.

Buc fans would like to forget about Trent Dilfer, the sixth overall pick in the 1994 draft. He finished 38-38 in his six years with the Bucs, throwing 70 TD passes and 80 interceptions.

Dilfer went on to win a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 Ravens, primarily because Baltimore boasted one of the best defenses in modern-day history, right there with the ’85 Bears and 2002 Bucs.

San Francisco followed the misguided selection of Dilfer by grabbing Bryant Young, who went on to a Hall of Fame career. And at No. 8, Seattle took another standout defensive tackle, Sam Adams, who would earn three Pro Bowl berths and two All-Pro honors.

Lots of memories, mostly bad.

In 2015, the Bucs thought they had landed the new face of the franchise by drafting Jameis Winston No. 1 overall. Five years and 96 interceptions later, Winston departed Tampa with a 34-46 record. Marcus Mariota, chosen second by Tennessee, fared even worse. He went 34-40 for the Titans and Falcons and is now backing up Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.

Winston, who has started only 10 games in the past three years, signed a reduced contract to stay with the Saints. He will be languishing behind Derek Carr, who has missed only four starts in nine years.

Dilfer, Winston and Mariota are hardly outliers when it comes to high-profile disappointments under center. It happens all the time — and Thursday’s draft will likely be no different.

Since 2010, here are the quarterbacks drafted with a Top 10 pick: Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin II, Ryan Tannehill, Blake Bortles, Winston, Mariota, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance.

That’s 26 names and seven studs — Newton, Luck, Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Herbert and presumably Lawrence.

Pass, Mr. Licht

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

No matter what you hear about the 2023 quarterback class, don’t believe the hype. This isn’t the 1983 draft, which produced three Hall of Fame quarterbacks in John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud excelled at the college level, but neither should be confused with Andrew Luck or Joe Burrow. Will Levis and Anthony Richardson aren’t ready to shred pass defenses this fall. Hendon Hooker is old and has injury concerns.

At this point, none of these quarterbacks are on a par with next year’s top prospects, Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Those two are so gifted, there figures to be serious tanking going on in December as NFL also-rans vie for the top two picks in 2024.

The Bucs appear content to let Mayfield and Kyle Trask duke it out in training camp. Bruce Arians loves Mayfield’s moxie and Trask’s competitive spirit. Should things go awry, the Bucs will pursue a new quarterback next season, likely with a new head coach.

Jason Licht doesn’t need to get involved in any high-level quarterback maneuvers Thursday evening. His focus should be on the trenches, tight end, the offensive backfield and finding Todd Bowles a nickel back with some juice.

One of these years, the Bucs are going to draft a quarterback who earns a lucrative long-term extension in Tampa. It hasn’t happened since the franchise’s inaugural 1976 season. That streak of infamy has to end one day, doesn’t it?

Just not Thursday.

28 Responses to “Don’t Do It, Mr. Licht!”

  1. Tye Says:

    That is the way I see it!
    focus on the trenches and hope for a gem of a running back along the way!

  2. FortMyersDave Says:

    Sage advice from the Sage. Grab the best OT available at 19 unless there was a run and the first roundgraded OT are gone, then trade down. Please do not get cute Mr Licht like you did with OJ Howard or in the past 2 drafts early with Tryon and Logan Hall.

  3. WVBuc Says:

    Best case scenario. Mayfield becomes worthy of having once been the first overall draft selection.

    2nd best. Mayfield/Trask struggle but manage to win the division with another 8-9 season. Another team with a stud QB suffers an unexpectedly terrible season. Probably due to the QB being injured early in 2023 and they miss the majority of the season but it’s not a career threatening situation. That team finishes with one of the two worst records. The Bucs pony up the trade offer that wins the day and drafts their choice of QB in 2024.

    It’s not implausible such a situation could happen. The AFC is just loaded with QBs. San Diego or Jacksonville both jump to mind as franchises that could be the worst if they lost their QB. The NFL being the NFL, however, could see it happen to any franchise despite an otherwise stellar roster.

    Worst case is the Bucs are tanking come December.

  4. I’m not tired anymore because we just won the Super Bowl! Says:

    I concur pass on QB this draft and go get one in next years draft. Go Bucs!

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Nope….pick one of the best available OT, TE or even a RB…..leave the guesswork for others.
    Carolina proved you can get the #1 pick if you pay enough.

    My hope is that the teams in contention for a top pick don’t need a QB next year.

  6. garro Says:

    Spot on as usual Ira!

    I wonder what the success rate is for QBs drafted in the second round is versus the first round.

  7. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Great article Ira, spot on as always. Keep it up, I look forward to reading what you put down.

  8. Beej Says:

    No QB we pick is gonna affect the team in any way this year. OTOH, an OT, edge, center, slot corner, COULD. Don’t see how we can expend a high pick on a QB with all those holes to fill, no 4th, and no money to sign free agents

  9. JN Says:

    Couldn’t agree more Ira. Spot on. Whoever wins the starting job will be the Bucs 40th starting in 47 seasons. This franchise is atrocious when it comes to drafting and developing qbs. If you don’t believe me just go thru Bucs qb history.

  10. zzbuc Says:

    Agree 100% Ira…..

    But to be honest with you, I don’t see this happening…..The chips are all in this year with Baker, if he plays well, he will get a big fat contract, if don’t next year will be another draft and another free agency…..

  11. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    CJ Stroud may start falling in this draft because of his poor score on some test!

  12. Arians4President Says:

    Love you Ira, but I found a misprint: Jameis’ 34-46 record with 9 interceptions was over 8 years with two teams, not 5 years with Tampa. The stats in the article are right about Mariota’s career tenure.

    For comparison, below are the stats for both players tenure while with the team that drafted them.

    Winston (5 Bucs Seasons)
    Record: 28-42, 40%
    TD/Interception Ratio: 121/88, 1.38 TDs per INT

    Mariotta (5 Titans Seasons)
    Record: 29-32, 48%
    TD/Interception Ratio: 76/44, 1.73 TDs per INT

    The article says that Mariota “fared even worse” than Jameis. I beg to differ…

  13. Darin Says:

    A 25 year old hooker isn’t old!

  14. PA Buc Fan Says:

    Ira spot on! Could not agree more. Joe keeps piping for a qb and this is not the year to do it. Next years class is the one. Don’t waste picks this year on a qb. Load up everywhere else and next year find the qb of our future with hopefully a new head coach!

  15. unbelievable Says:

    Agreed, Irv!

  16. Dick LeBeau Jr. Says:

    Some of y’all just agree because it’s Ira. Sorry, but I don’t agree. You don’t know what any of these players are going to do when they hit the field this year or next year. Next year’s crop of QBs could come out and be straight trash juice for all we know. And a 25-year-old is not “old”, just older than usual. You’d hope that he would come with a high level of maturity.

  17. Cobraboy Says:

    Please, NO QB THIS DRAFT!

    Stock up with Big Uglies!

  18. Mike Johnson Says:

    One of the few times I agree with Ira here. Don’t take the bait Bucs. Fortify your trenches and find us a pass rush from somewhere. I see maybe 2 QB’ s who have a chance here. And they both will be gone by the time we pick.

  19. SlyPirate Says:

    Look at the flip side, as well. The Bucs win when they build a roster and then pick up a FA QB. Rodgers just got traded. Great vet QBs are available. Build it and they will come.

  20. BucU Says:

    Didn’t we take 2 tight ends in last yrs draft?

  21. Joe Says:

    Didn’t we take 2 tight ends in last yrs draft?

    Did they show you they can be every-down tight ends who can both block well and be a weapon in the passing game? Folks want the Bucs to draft a defensive lineman/edge rusher at No. 19 and the Bucs drafted two players with their first pick in the draft the last two years in that same area.

  22. Goatfarmer Says:

    Home run, Sage.

    Joe – this is Ira’s best article ever. He deserves to have Annie Agar join him for his podcasts! (Yeah, I know……..but he does deserve it.)

  23. Fred McNeil Says:

    If we stink out loud again this year we’ll be in line to draft another question mark.
    Hopefully traskfield will get us in the playoffs again. I hope Licht has another killer draft. I’ll hold yer beer Mr. Licht.

  24. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I hope Jason read this Ira. Great article. Beef up the trenches. Fill them holes on the defense. I still believe defenses win championships.

  25. Goatfarmer Says:

    By now the draft party attendees should be into their 3rd or 4th Big Storm.

    Hey Joes, how about a video of the reaction when the Bucs announce their pick?!

  26. stpetebucfan Says:

    AMEN IRA!!!

  27. Crickett Baker Says:

    Sometimes I disagree with Ira, I must admit. But this time I fully agree. Nice article, too. What about Steve Young, tho?

  28. Ed Says:

    Having the 19th pick in the draft isn’t very exciting. Whatever nasty big offensive lineman is available and is a sure shot, you have to take him. Then next pick you need the same as a defensive lineman or edge rusher.

    After that look at skill positions but emphasize speed. We don’t need any more possession or blocking receivers.

    Joey Galloway was the best deep threat receiver who ever played for the Bucs. Find someone like him.