Jason Licht: YaYa Diaby Has “Scary” Upside

May 4th, 2023

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was feeling great about his new third-round pick on Friday night, but Licht sounded even more excited this week.

The 10th-year GM hopped on SiriusXM NFL Radio and was glowing about YaYa Diaby, the edge rusher out of the University of Louisville with the giant wingspan and a multitude of tools as the No. 82 overall pick.

“YaYa just has an incredible combination of speed and strength, and it’s kind of scary what the upside is with this guy,” Licht said. “He started to hit his stride this year and we feel it’s nothing but upside in the future.”

Remember when the Bucs drafted Noah Spence in Round 2 (No. 39 overall) in 2016? Consider that Diaby is taller, heavier, faster, longer, stronger and more explosive.

The key with Diaby, assuming he isn’t a Day 1 terror, will be development. Licht sort of acknowledged that on draft night.

“I feel like sometimes we expect them to go out Week 1 and dominate or certainly by their first year, they had to have dominated or been a great player when it takes time for some of these players. [Sometimes] two years to reach their full potential.”

When Licht dropped that “two years” line, Joe immediately winced and thought of Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.

Regardless, Diaby has the tools and the Bucs have a new coach for their edge rushers, veteran assistant George Edwards. Joe has high hopes that Edwards will raise the games of his young group.

47 Responses to “Jason Licht: YaYa Diaby Has “Scary” Upside”

  1. NCBucfan Says:

    Wasn’t dumbanick saying the same thing about Bowers over a decade ago. I really hope he does, but man, pass rushers are the hardest to forecast. Go Bucs!

  2. Mort Says:

    He’s long and strong and down to get the friction on…

  3. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Let us hope so.

  4. SB~LV Says:

    Noah Spence should be in his NFL prime right about now.

  5. Miller5252 Says:

    Ole Tryon was suppose to be a freak as well and so far he’s been more of a liability as a 3 down edge rusher. JPP with a shoulder injury was still better than Tryon last year. The last few years we keep hearing about “in a few years” instead of being a solid day 1 starter. Bowles won’t survive “in a few years” guys, he needs solid starters that can fill holes now.

  6. Mike Says:

    Keep throwing resources at it and eventually we will get it right!

  7. slacker Says:

    Hahahahaha, oh boy. Here we go again. Another player who is extremely raw but has the tools to be a force. Rinse and repeat

  8. Redeemer Says:

    Takes time. The NFL jump is a shock to most. Why do you think the sec rules the draft. It’s like the minor leagues for the pros. Not that you can’t find a good one in the acc. Kid looks like he has the tools, needs some honing. It’ll come.

  9. Oxycondoms Says:

    Surprised licht is this comfortable with his job drafting projects

  10. SlyPirate Says:


    Not with this group of fans.

    A 21 yo college player has to be able to go against vets with 5-8 years experience and be great. Otherwise, they’re a bust. Sapp had 3 sacks as a rookie. He would have gotten crushed by Joe’s tribe.

  11. Redeemer Says:

    Sly, you draft on talent, and mostly potential. Lots of guys that are great players now, had to develop and adjust to the pro game. Very few sure things exist.

  12. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Bucs have better luck with trades and free agent edge rushers Barrett and JPP. Bucs should have signed an FA agent or trade for one. With the 3rd pick they should have took a safety.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    I said this before, but I really like what the Bucs did here. They went with guys with high RAS scores, meaning they’re off the charts with physical ability — AND had great production and played a lot of games — AND are ready to play right now — AND didn’t overdraft them.

    So they got older rookies who are already physically developed with high end talent and played a lot so they might not have the same rookie learning curve as you’d normally expect.

    Picking JTS, and to a lesser extent Hall, I think caused the team to rethink how they’re taking top guys – or at least for the moment anyways. JTS played very few games in college and took a year off because he was afraid of catching a cold, but has tons of talent. While people bash JTS, having 8 sacks over 2 your first two seasons doesn’t make you a bust, it just sort of makes you a middling player. But JTS was around the QB a lot, he just wasn’t bringing them down, so if he can get that part of the game figured out, he still might end up being a good player.

  14. #99 the Big fella Says:

    Well said Rod!

  15. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Redeemer/Sly

    I agree.

    There were only 12 out of 32 first round draft picks who earned their 5th year contracts…

    Making the leap into the NFL from college is extremely difficult – especially if you suffer any major injuries.

    Even with today’s use of technology and modern statistical analysis there is still no guarantee of success.

    It reminds me of the Navy Seals. A ton of very talented and athletic soldiers fail because it really takes a special individual to make it. You have to be both mentally and physically up to the challenge – along with a little bit of luck because injuries happen as well.

  16. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    If he’s so big and strong and fast and productive, why didn’t he go earlier in the draft? (not a rhetorical question)

  17. Pryda…sec147 Says:

    I say keep the pass rushers coming we need a few to win these games

  18. Cobraboy Says:

    Noah Spence (RIP) had one pass-rush move: speed to the outside. That was it. He was easy to figure out.

    What does Diaby have?

  19. Cobraboy Says:

    Casual fans think the draft is hallowed science, and busts are rare.

    In reality, it’s more like playing the craps tables using a theoretical “system”…and the house always wins.

  20. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Has scary upside…until he doesn’t!

  21. Redeemer Says:

    Marine, my dad was task force green, so I get the ref.

  22. Buccos Says:

    He looks the part

  23. ATLBuc Says:

    JTS gets to the QB consistently. Taking them down has been his issue

  24. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    Maybe the new head coach next year will be able to develop him.

  25. Cho Says:

    Was disappointed by the pick at first, but mainly because I didn’t know the guy. Now I absolutely love it. Pass rush, pass pro and more pass rush. This draft is going to be foundational towards a half-reset. We’ll remember it fondly in a couple of seasons.

  26. Bobby M. Says:

    So did JTS, OJ Howard, Winston, etc….everyone has huge upside when they’ve yet to put on pads. Licht said Winston was one of the most motivating players he had ever been around….it’s GM talk.

  27. unbelievable Says:

    @Rod – 100% on the college game experience.

    Most of our picks this year played A LOT of college ball, as opposed to someone like JTS, Logan Hall, etc.

    Guess what Bucs fans? Almost every rookie pro player is “raw” to start…

  28. The Beer Whisper Says:

    The new catch words for, he ain’t too good “he has tools”

  29. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    JTS and Hall were drafted on Speed and Height. Neither had power to go along with their speed. Both Kancy and Diaby were drafted with Speed and Power in mind.

  30. Bob Buc Says:

    Why is it when I’m watching JTS and he gets near the QB, it suddenly seems to look like flag football? Physicality drops from 90% to about 50%.

    Don’t want him on my bank-robber team. We finally get in the vault and he’s too shot to load the bags with money.

  31. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    One never knows until the first game. Brady was good rite away. I could never figure why that is the case, but most times the creme rises to the top quickly.

  32. Voice of Truth Says:

    He drafted 4 people that are known to be backfield disrupters

    Not much else we can ask for – it’s up to Todd to make it work and one thing I do think he is good at is scheming pressure

    Pressure makes the secondary better and leads to more turnovers

    Fingers and toes crossed

  33. Brandon Jeff Says:

    A lot of these all world athletes dominated against lesser competition. They were able to succeed on their natural ability.
    In the pros , most are extremely athletic. The great have managed to conquer the mental aspect which is 90% of the game.
    Devin, Jameis, JTS and Howard among others had all the talent in the world but didn’t know what to do with it. Brady was great because he dominated mentally, not physically.

  34. Brandon Says:

    Diaby is 263 and Spence was high 240’s. Diaby is 4.53, Spence was 4.8-something. Therre is very little comparison between the two physically.

  35. destinjohnny Says:


  36. Capt.Tim Says:

    Diaby is a great pick. This young man will be better than JTS and Logan Hall.

  37. gotbbucs Says:

    He’s basically always an arms length away from the QB. He’s got the wingspan of a 7′ tall person.
    I saw his RAS score and I saw his highlights and knew immediately that he would be a draft target.

  38. firethecannons Says:

    Tryon shoyinka had scaary upside and he has fizzled out, noah spence was supposed to have sary upside and he fizzled, on and on so Yaya hopefully can make it work he looks the part.

  39. Stanglassman Says:

    I lost my mother and my aunt to that ‘cold’. My college house mate and good friend has ‘long cold’ so bad he can’t even work much less run ultra marathons anymore. It’s ruined his life in every way imaginable. Can take a second and think how people like us feel when you say something that insensitive. There are millions of people who lost people close to them. You were fortunate not to have lost anyone or have had anyone terribly effected.

  40. DJB Says:

    Seems like all our draft picks are very good athletes, but also tenacious players that play through the whistle, I don’t see that yet in Hall and JTS.

  41. Marques Says:

    Joe Tryon-Shoyinka only played 12 college football games and then came Covid. You need to relax with him. He has shown a lot of good things. Is he where we want him? No. Is he improving? Yes. Maybe not at the pace you want. He’s a high character hard working developing player. He’s getting to the qb just not finishing yet. He’s still a work in progress. The key word is progress. I expect more production from him this year. There is no reason why he won’t make another step or 2 with his game. Another year off season in the gym with the team will get him even stronger than the year before. Stay patient.

  42. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Again I agree with rod munch. I saw the same thing screaming at the tv when JTS was in spitting distance of the QB. The new coach we got from the cowgirls excites me cause he did some great things with them. Defense has a chance to be very scary this year n beyond

  43. Geno711 Says:


    Very sorry for your losses.

  44. JollyRoger Says:

    This guy has one of the slowest get-offs I’ve ever seen and has zero pass rush moves. Terrible pick

  45. BUCman Says:

    Hopefully YaYa can become what we had hoped JTS would be.

  46. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Well spoken, Stanglassman.

    Some of our contributors here are very short sighted or just plain immature. We’ll have to forgive them as best we can.

  47. Obvious Says:

    I sure am sorry to hear about your Mom and your Aunt. Also sorry to hear that C9vid has ruined your friends life as well.

    I’m also a victim of the reach of Covid. I thought like 99% that it was a simple thing… Live or die and if you live then you’re all good. NOT THE CASE!!!

    Turns out that in my case it has given me COPD for life.

    I know this for a fact because I was testsd (lungs, throat, etc) in November. I at the time had caught something called “RSV”. Another doozy and similar to Covid.
    Anyways, lungs and possible diseases were all tested then. In January I got Covid. It is now May and I now have COPD (scared lungs tissue) that will Never go away. Also related to emphysema.

    Yeah, seems A LOT of info is missing from what Covid can ACTUALLY DO to people. And OF COURSE Most people are IGNORANT like the PUTTS up above.

    I looked up “long cold” but couldn’t really find a targeted explanation but I guess it doesn’t matter. I could just tell you how I feel and that would probably be it.

    Again, sorry for what happened to your family and friend. I get it. I wish I didn’t