Jason Licht Not Necessarily Looking For Immediate Starters

April 17th, 2023

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

One would think with a team that has so many roster holes, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht is looking for quick-impact players.

Well, he is, but maybe not the way you and Joe think of them. Licht explained last week that he’s looking for what guys might do down the road, not so much if a guy can be on the field Week 1 wreaking havoc.

Just because Tom Brady retired and the Bucs waved goodbye to other key players, the front office crew hasn’t changed the draft philosophy.

“We’re trying to bring in the best players that we can this year and it’s no different than we have in the past,” Licht said. “Now, just because of the fact that we’ve lost quite a few players that were contributors to us and helped us win the Super Bowl and helped us have some good seasons here lately, there’s probably a few more areas of need across the roster than we [had] in 2021 when we brought everybody back. …

“We’re still looking to add depth, add good players, look to the future – if they can play early, that’s great, but we’re not trying to pinpoint one particular thing [like], ‘This guy will be able to start Week 1,’ as opposed to, ‘This guy is going to become greater – a better player – in two years.’ We’re still going to look for what’s best for the future.”

Joe gets what Licht is saying. If the Bucs think a guy can ball out after a year or two of seasoning, they could get extremely great value in a guy.

Aside from that, head coach Todd Bowles and Licht, have said over and over again this offseason they want to win the division this season and they think they can.

How those statements jibe with not worrying if a rookie can start early in his career so long as he develops down the road, well, Joe thinks those are two separate goals that are not aligned.

45 Responses to “Jason Licht Not Necessarily Looking For Immediate Starters”

  1. Beej Says:

    Well, it’s a ready-made excuse for people who can’t start right away

  2. Pewter Power Says:

    He better not be speaking on day 1 or say 2 picks because you have 2nd round starters at corner. Godwin was a 3rd rounder. Depending on position Top players don’t typically take 2 years to develop uh JTS.

  3. Show Me the TDs Says:

    This doesn’t make sense to me. If a player is drafted and makes an impact right away, isn’t he better than someone who MIGHT make an impact in a year or two. I agree with Beej. See…JTS.

  4. Allbuccedup Says:


  5. Dooley Says:

    Everybody gets a 3-yr window, but most fans are observers of talent not evaluators of talent. At least not on the same plane as GMs, Scouts, or any other football professional who develop an eye for players that fit their respective programs. It’s like buying a boarding pass doesn’t make you as knowledgeable as the pilot flying the plane. The outlying players are the exceptions, not the norm to judge every draftee by.

  6. Rick Says:

    This is absolutely the correct approach. Compare say for example Stetson Bennett vs. Anthony Richardson. It’s probably an egregious example but which player can win more games for you next season? Surely Bennett because he’s more pro ready but Richardson is a special talent with twice as much upside. It’s the same with a player like Zyon McCullum. He’s drafted for upside down the line and when he gets forced into action we look dumb since he’s not ready yet but if he makes a leap this summer and next watch out because that pick will be a home run due to his upside.

  7. #99 the Big fella Says:

    This is probably the dumbest thing I ever heard Jason say.. we absolutely need starters on day, one and day two of this draft

  8. Destinjohnny Says:

    When was the last one he drafted one that wasn’t a high pick???
    We usually get one very third draft

  9. Bucs Guy Says:

    You draft for upside/potential on day 3 for the most part. You draft for impact on the field on day 1 and 2. The only exception to this is QB or if you have a player in the final year and you are drafting his replacement.

  10. Kalind Says:

    Lol that’s because they have two competing goals. One is save Lichts job by being the best GM he can. And the other is save Bowles job, by winning right bleeping now.

    Those two things don’t coexist. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, they SHOULD have fired Bowles with Leftwich. This half-measure crap gets you stuck drafting between 22 and 12. Aka Franchise Irrelevancy

  11. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Back to dunderhead Licht now that BA has left the draft process; so a kicker a crappy DB coupled with 5-10 4.9 LBs from Kearney, NE

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I like Jason Licht but he lies like a politician……of course he’s looking for starters…..how about at least a safety?

  13. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Smoke screen BS from Licht , if Bucs crap the bed this year Licht is out of a job as well as Bowles. Draft Oline and Dline in Rounds 1 and 2 and improve on your 2 weakest position groups.

  14. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Depends on the position really.

    If it’s QB, lineman or edge players then it definitely makes sense to evaluate more so on the year 2/3 potential than weighing who would perform best week 1.

    Ideally you would draft players with immense potential that are already coached well and ready to start week 1, but by the time you’re picking late in the 1st usually those players are gone if it’s premium positions line lineman/edge.

    RB/WR/LB should be immediate contributors

  15. robert Says:


    they better get edge rusher and OL starters. If this is not accomplished the draft is a failure

  16. Brandon Says:

    Joe gets what he’s saying but still pushes for a 26 year old to be QB coming off a major knee injury and has very little upside. Hendon Hooker is a 3rd round prospect that is close to his max maturity level both physically and mentally. At his best, he’s like a cross between Teddy Bridgewater and Josh Johnson, though it is doubtful he’ll have as successful of a career as either of them… just the odds, nothing personal.

  17. Mcruzer Says:

    That’s hilarious that you think Licht is on the hot seat if Bowles goes. Even if Bowles is fired, only your top, top coaches would bring in their own GM and if there was a hot coach available, chances are they would keep Licht. Licht’s first round draft % is better than the league average and he is aggressive when he needs to be in free agency. Not to mention his cap-guy allowed us to build that SB team, which was worth it.

  18. Goatfarmer Says:

    Licht is saying what anyone competent says. Nothing! Never give the enemy your battle plan. He do what he do and be do.

  19. Beej Says:

    If 3 out of the 5 of Trask, Hall, Goedeke, JTS and McCallum are obviously killing it by the end of upcoming season I’ll buy into his plan (is a 60% success rate reasonable?)

  20. Buc4evr Says:

    Ha, he better draft a starting LT and a DT or maybe an Edge. Think Jason is just talking typical GM pre draft nonsense as he knows he needs guys that can start right away if the Bucs expect to win the division and get Bowles off of the hot seat.

  21. lambchop Says:

    Please don’t bargain hunt in the 1st round. OMG. I will be livid if we draft a guy at #19 on potential.

    Get someone who can contribute right away as a starter, otherwise all these suits and coaches won’t have a job to see any future. The guy doesn’t have to be Bo Jackson. Just someone who isn’t raw. When has our coaching developed anyone at a skill position other than OL?

    We need to compete now, not two years from now.

  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Based on positional depth in draft from some random video i watched, ideally we would go OT R1 or give up on it because apparently there isn’t great depth at that position after the top group of guys.

    I think my dream scenario is OT R1 after a trade down. Build a top 5 O-line and if these QB’s don’t pan out at least we have the structure for a young QB to succeed. And in general top 5 O-line teams rarely do terrible.

    Edge/CB/TE seem deep. ILB we would have to probably take day 2 for a decent prospect. I’d be ok with Jack Campbell R2 otherwise just give up on ILB as well.

    My positional priorities would be OT / Edge / Secondary / DT / ILB / RB in that order.

    If we go with a QB then Licht just should issue a presser saying Trask is Trash and doesn’t have a chance lol. I mean seriously

  23. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Draft Darnell Washington at TE in Round 2 and it is like adding another Olineman as he blocks like a skilled OT.

  24. Beej Says:

    I like that Washington kid, Gronk-like

  25. SlyPirate Says:

    He’s trying not to tip his hand. No one is buying it.

  26. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    lambchop Licht loves to find the hidden gems. Problem is he does this crap in the first two rounds way too often.

    FFS Jason find hidden gems on day 3 not at #19.

  27. Mike Johnson Says:

    BS Jason. You’d better hit on at least the very first 2 picks. They need to be plug-in starters. You really thin on the D line and O line. Don’t forget people, other teams have improved and will be ready game one.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    lambchop … ‘When has our coaching developed anyone at a skill position other than OL?’

    Fair question, but I think it depends on position group & draft position. Look at the 2nd, 3rd & 4th Rounders we’ve taken starting in 2018 who weren’t OLinemen (typically developmental guys who have started quite a few games for us):

    o Carlton Davis (CB) – 2018 Rnd 2
    o Jordan Whitehead (S) – 2018 Rnd 4
    o Sean Murphy Bunting (CB) – 2019 Rnd 2
    o Jamel Dean (CB) – 2019 Rnd 3
    o Mike Edwards (S) – 2019 Rnd 3
    o Anthony Nelson (DE/OLB) – 2019 Rnd 4
    o Antoine Winfield (S) – 2020 Rnd 2
    o Rachaad White (RB) – 2022 Rnd 3
    o Cade Otton (TE) – 2022 Rnd 4

    That’s 9 starters in 5 years from Rounds 2-4 (not counting Round 1 picks Vea, White & Wirfs who’ve started tons of games for us). And 6 of those 9 are Secondary guys (our Achilles Heel prior to BA & Todd Bowles getting here).

    Where we’ve fallen short is obviously at QB, as well as TEs & RBs on offense, and especially DT, DE/OLB & ILB on defense. Licht has managed to fill almost all of those ‘holes’ to date with FAs (JPP, Suh, Shaq, Brady, Gronk, Fournette & obviously re-signing LVD). With us being short on money, that’ll need to change, and quickly.

  29. PNW Buc Says:

    Why draft rookies for depth? You get your depth from those 1 year veterans contracts. You draft rookies to compete for starting jobs that will make your roster competitive. John Schneider and Pete Carroll drafted 6 starters last year, that’s not the norm, but if you have good scouts and coaches that know how to do their job and get a little lucky, then it can happen. Don’t settle for mediocrity….

  30. AlwaysBucs Says:

    Going into his 10th draft as GM he has holes at

    Edge Rusher

    Jeez, this guy still only has a job due to borrowing against future caps and retaining free agents and brining in Brady. His roster building is not very good.

  31. HC Grover Says:

    Translation..this year is a write off.

  32. Geno711 Says:

    Many times, when hiring in the real world, the hiring manager has to consider who will be the best Day 1 for the job.

    But there are certainly many times, a good hiring manager will pick the guy who will be best in the job in 6 months or a year (and not the guy that will be best at the job day 1, week 1).

    So to me, what Jason says makes perfect sense. There is always that give and take. Some guys easily will be best on Day 1 and in 5 years. Other times your choice will be less obvious.

  33. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    The talent of a player is only as good as the competency of the coaches to put them in a position to succeed. Bowles has demonstrated over 2 franchises he’s not that coach.

  34. Geno711 Says:

    PNW Buc Says:
    April 17th, 2023 at 11:22 am

    I get Seattle draft 2022 with 4 starters not 6.
    2 OL each had over 7 penalties and 7 sacks allowed (so not studs)
    Walker the running back who became starter in game 4.
    and a 5th round corner who was the steal of the draft.
    (Their 4th round corner was garbage).

    Then looking at the Seattle draft 2021, they got no starters out of that draft class.

  35. Redeemer Says:

    Geno makes a good point. A ready made Superbowl team can afford to play the long game at the draft. I for one would be drafting for guys that can contribute right away this year. They need at least two starters, probably three. That’s a tall order. Again it depends on the goals. I think they are intent on winning the south. That tells me licht will draft guys with ready made skills. Just my opinion though. He did waste the 64th pick for a qb that’s dressed for two games in two years.

  36. Lakeland Steve Says:

    I get what he’s saying but hopefully he doesn’t really believe that it’s ok drafting guys who can’t start. We have done a really good job of that in the last couple of years with guys like JTS and Logan Hall. Still waiting for those two to prove they can be quality starters. Let’s see if we can draft another Winfield and Wirfs types this year.

  37. Tom G Says:

    Some teams aspire to win the championship and some teams only aspire to win their division. Lightning, Rays or Bucs. I will spend my ticket money for teams that try to win it all.

  38. Larrd Says:

    His statement sounds like coachspeak, but if Goedeke can start at right tackle, they don’t have to plug holes with rookie starters, since they signed the safety and DT. It gives Licht leeway to trade down and a good reason to not trade up.

  39. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Show Me the TDs Says
    “This doesn’t make sense to me. If a player is drafted and makes an impact right away, isn’t he better than someone who MIGHT make an impact in a year or two.”

    Ronde Barber.

  40. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think Jason is saying that you always hope to get immediate starters, but some players take a couple years to settle into their role.

    I believe we’ve seen many examples of this in the past. Especially at Cornerback.

    That means Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Kyle Trask, and Robert Hainsey should all start playing well this year.

    That’s why I have not judged the past two drafts too harshly yet. It’s too early.

  41. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Round 1 Pick 32 (32) Joe Tryon-Shoyinka EDGE (4 sacks ea. year; has not missed a game) – He needs to improve this year…but…his stats are amazingly William Gholston-like.

    Round 2 Pick 32 (64) Kyle Trask QB – a BIG unknown…regardless of anything anyone claims. Hopefully, we learn the truth this year.

    Round 3 Pick 32 (95) Robert Hainsey OT – Depth player…chosen at a time when we thought that was all we needed. Still, he could step up this year.

    Round 4 Pick 24 (129) Jaelon Darden WR – Horrible pick…but I see why Licht drafted him…speed. Everyone here felt we needed speed. But it means nothing if he cannot catch the ball.

    Round 5 Pick 32 (176) K.J. Britt LB – Another depth pick…and it made sense. Still not sure what he has in the tank, and we may not find out this year since David came back. That said, maybe? Maybe not?

    Round 7 Pick 24 (251) Chris Wilcox CB – wasted pick…but final round so it doesn’t matter much.

    Round 7 Pick 32 (259) Grant Stuard LB – wasted pick…but final round so it doesn’t matter much.

    The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th rounders all have potential…but they must show it this year. The 3rd year is when players should show their true grit (though some show it earlier).

    Round 1: NO PICK (I believe we traded down?

    Round 2 Pick 1 (33) Logan Hall DE – Did not play in all the games (8), though I believe he did suit up for them? I have no real idea what this kid can offer, if anything. But again, it is too early to judge anyway, especially if the team expected him to take time to develop. Hopefully this year we’ll get a true taste of his potential.

    Round 2 Pick 25 (57) Luke Goedeke G – Well…we can hope. Another guy who we do not yet know the truth about. I do believe his 8 starts last year will end up being good for him. We’ll just have to see how he responds when he returns.

    Round 3 Pick 27 (91) Rachaad White RB – This is a tough one. We all know OL play was horrible due to injuries…all phases of the offensive game suffered for it. White started 8 games, but played in all but one game. In games with 10+ carries, he averaged 57 yards per game. In those 5 games, he fumbled once (total 3 on year). He will be our starter this year…and the offensive line will be rebuilt for the run (at least this year). We’ll find out what he’s worth in this, his second year. Still, his first year was not bad overall.

    Round 4 Pick 1 (106) Cade Otton TE – Got a good feeling about this kid. As a rookie, he wasn’t a superstar, but he did well enough. With a 9.3 per catch average, he had 391 yards. 16 games, 11 starts. He’ll be the main guy this year, I think, so we’ll see exactly what he is capable of.

    Round 4 Pick 28 (133) Jake Camarda P – This kid was a star last year. Unless he backslides, I expect him to be great for years.

    Round 5 Pick 14 (157) Zyon McCollum CB – Started 3 games. Was totally invisible.

    Round 6 Pick 40 (218) Ko Kieft TE – I personally think he should be used to run the ball in short yardage situations…but he has potential to be a good blocker too. In a HB/FB role, he would be more useful, especially since we’ve got to build a run game (we have not had a good one since we stopped using the FB).

    Round 7 Pick 27 (248) Andre Anthony LBB – wasted pick…but final round so it doesn’t matter much.

  42. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Too soon to judge, really, but the 2021 draft could be judged after this year.

  43. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    JL jumped the shark last FA

    Just a matter of time now

  44. Goatfarmer Says:

    For comparison’s sake, here are the Buccaneers drafts since inception, by year, by GM:


    That’s all available all over the internet. Pro football reference is a bias free totally data only site. Everything is there. I read it there and skip over it here, because this is supposed to be fun and that is not. Necessary yea. Sun, no.

  45. Wild Bill Says:

    WTF? Truth is it’s impossible to rebuild the Bucs with immediate starters in one draft. Lucky if they get more than one or two immediate impact players in this draft. Lucky if they get 2 or more development players who become starters 1 season later. If they can draft one or two immediate impact players and get 2 or 3 development players out of this draft that would be great. For more instant upgrades they will have to sign some experienced free agents and that is expensive . I do not see a rapid turn around for the Bucs. They will likely struggle to match last year’s division wins. Get ready for a tough rebuild process over the next few seasons.