Anthony Nelson’s Super Scrimmage Highlights Strong Draft Run

August 16th, 2023

Roster construction.

So today, Bucs outside linebacker Anthony Nelson had a helluva day practicing before the watchful eyes of the media the capital of the free world, Gotham City, as well as in front of prying “Hard Knocks” cameras.

Nelson had a sack of drama queen Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and a pick six of Jets backup quarterback Zach Wilson.

What a time (and place) to shine!

Nelson, a fourth-round pick in 2019, is part of a remarkable string of third- and fourth-round draft picks by Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht.

Before Nelson had a good day this morning in New Jersey, Joe was doing background research and thought the following was incredible:

One could argue that from 2015 to 2019, Licht hit every third- and fourth-round draft pick he had. Here’s the rundown:

Round 4 – Kwon Alexander

Round 4 – Ryan Smith

Round 3 – Chris Godwin
Round 3 – Kendell Beckwith

Round 3 – Alex Cappa
Round 4 – Jordan Whitehead

Round 3 – Jamel Dean
Round 3 – Mike Edwards
Round 4 – Anthony Nelson

Every one of these guys with the exception of Beckwith got second contracts in the NFL. Several (Cappa, Dean, Edwards, Whitehead and Godwin) got handsome second contracts. For Godwin, he’s on his third contract with the Bucs and is a Pro Bowler.

OK, OK, OK. Joe can hear the screaming now: Ryan Smith sucked. He sure did. As a corner and as a kick returner. As a special teams cover guy, he was excellent. A fourth-round pick lasting seven years in the NFL and acquiring a Super Bowl ring is a success no matter how you slice it.

The average length of an NFL player’s career is 3.3 years.

But OK, let’s say Smith was a miss. That still means Licht, for a five-year period, batted .888 on his third- and fourth-round picks. That’s unheard of.

Yes, Licht has had clunkers in the third- and fourth-rounds before and after the period of 2015-2019. No need to recount them and trigger your PTSD. But those third- and fourth-round picks Licht nailed were the backbone of a Super Bowl champion.

Yes, even with Smith on special teams.

Joe still thinks Mike Smith ruined Ryan Smith because Mike Smith could never decide if the kid was a corner or a safety from the moment the North Carolina Central product was drafted. That would eff up many a players’ head.

Beckwith? Dude once had 14 tackles against the Belicheats. In his fourth NFL game!

Beckwith never made it past his rookie season because he was in a car wreck after his rookie year. He shattered his ankle in the wreck and was basically done with football.

Man, what could have been?

Joe doesn’t know if you can find a general manager who, for a five-year period, had his worst selection in the third- or fourth-rounds become a special teams ace on a Super Bowl-winner.

30 Responses to “Anthony Nelson’s Super Scrimmage Highlights Strong Draft Run”

  1. TonySoprano Says:

    Ok now let’s look at all the 1-3 round picks over his tenure. Oof…

  2. All_da_way Says:

    Nelson is just an ascending player. With the rookie rushers, Gill/Shaq returning from their injuries and JTS improvement the Bucs have a shot of fielding a quality defense.

  3. unbelievable Says:

    LMAO at the very end of that video, you can see some random Jets player (who was not playing with the offense on that snap) start charging towards Nelson as if he’s gonna stop him from getting the pick-6 LOL. Jets players sound like frustrated high school kids based on the reports from the joint practice.

    As for Licht- you nailed it Joe, that’s quite the run of 3rd and 4th round picks!

    Jason is a very good GM.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m excited about our defense…….TB is a good DC…..we resigned Nelson, Dean, David & Gholston….picked up Gaines, Neal, Drafted Kancey & Ya Ya…..Shaq is back….

    Now the Offense, that’ could be another matter.

  5. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    unbelievable Says:
    “LMAO at the very end of that video…”

    I found that amusing, also. Reminded me of Mike Tomlin trying to trip a guy from the sideline.

  6. unbelievable Says:

    TonySoprano Says:
    August 16th, 2023 at 3:51 pm
    Ok now let’s look at all the 1-3 round picks over his tenure. Oof…


    Well, you should know that a wrong decision is better than indecision…. but sure lets look at rounds 1 – 2 (since Joe already included round 3, derp):

    1- Mike Evans – duh
    2 – ASJ – bust

    1 – J Winston – bust
    2 – D Smith – hit
    2 – A Marpet – hit

    1 – VH3 – bust
    2 – N Spence – promising start, career ended with injuries
    2 – R Agauyo – bust

    1 – OJ Howard – talented but injuries / didn’t have the heart
    2 – Justin Evans – talented but injured

    1 – Vea – hit
    2 – R Jones – hit
    2 – MJ Stewrt – bust
    2 – Carlton Davis – hit

    1 – D White – hit
    2 – SMB – hit

    1 – T Wirfs – hit
    2- A Winfield – hit

    Too early to fairly judge 2021 – 2023 IMO.

    So tallying those up, that’s 10 hits, 5 busts, and 3 guys who were derailed by injuries.

    That’s over 50% hit rate. I’ll take it.

  7. kyle Says:

    lfg!!! 6.11..

  8. John Says:

    Rashard Higgins or Jarvis landry. I’d say Higgins at this point. Dump gage sorry it’s just not gonna work out. Too injury prone now.

  9. EEK Says:

    say what you will about our qb situation, we don’t have Z Wilson at least

  10. Joe Says:

    Rashard Higgins or Jarvis landry.

    Please. The upside that Trey Palmer potentially has is so, so, so much better than a glorified possession receiver like Jarvis Landry who is currently unemployed.

    (And we’re assuming Landry even wants to play with Baker Mayfield again.)

  11. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Why is Nelson behind JTS on the depth chart?

  12. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Bucs look to have real depth at OLB this year. I’m talking about Watts and Gill too. If Kancey and Vea play all season the Bucs may have a 60+ sack season coming!

  13. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    AlabamaBucsFan Says:
    “Why is Nelson behind JTS on the depth chart?”

    Draft position privilege. But yeah, if you divide their numbers by snap totals, Nelson has over-performed. Hopefully Plan 9 shows improvement early and makes it a moot point.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Nelson is one of those players who came here with a lot of rough edges, but who’s been developed into an excellent OLB. Todd Bowles had this to say about him just today on another site …

    ‘He’s ‘Steady Eddie.’ He’s always in the right place. He has very good hands to be an outside ‘backer, might have the best of the group. He’s going to be where he’s supposed to be.’

    I think he’ll develop even more working with George Edwards this year. And yes Bucs Fan, the ‘Bucs look to have real depth at OLB this year’.

  15. TonySoprano Says:

    @unbelievable – not sure what you’re implying, of course a wrong decision is better than an indecision. We’re you expecting Licht to just not submit a draft pick? Derp.

    Look like me and you have different versions of a hit. Rojo, SMB, OJ were all busts imo. For a GM as long tenured as Licht, I’d hope he’d have the number of hits that he has. You conveniently left off his last few drafts which are look pitiful.

  16. TonySoprano Says:

    I also don’t consider a malcontent off ball LB drafted in the top 5 that is literally the worst LB in coverage from n the NFL a big hit.

    I actually liked this years draft (save Torrence instead of Mauch as a G in the 2nd) and hope it Licht redeems himself, but if this clas doesn’t show much, it think it’s time to move on.

  17. D-Rok Says:

    Just saw a vid clip on Bucs site – deep pass from Trask to Palmer, and Palmer SMOKED Sauce Garner. That’s a great sign against a really good corner.

  18. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    It would be great if Bowles would stop f’n around and just start Nelson over JTS. He’s already proven that he’s the all around better player.

  19. Sly Pirate Says:


    Now’s your time. Be a man. Say you were wrong.

  20. JimBobBuc Says:

    Start Nelson over JTS. Last year Nelson had more sacks that JTS with much less time on the field.

  21. Pewter Power Says:

    That was a gimme, doesn’t get any easier than that

  22. unbelievable Says:

    @TonySoprano- the quote I posted is from The Sopranos… thought you might be a fan for some reason.

    SMB played out his entire rookie contract and then left as a free agent. That doesn’t happen to busts. Is he a number 1 lockdown corner? No, but he’s serviceable for a 2nd rounder. If you wanna say RoJo is a bust, that’s fine, but the reality is he only had 1 season where he was actually given the opportunity, and he played damn well en route to a Super Bowl win.

    And I didnt leave off 2021 – 23 for convenience, I left them off cuz you need 3 years to truly evaluate any player.

    But I get it, hot takes are much cooler.

    That said, Licht is hitting over 50% on rounds 1 and 2, and even higher in rounds 3 and 4. All of which are above league averages.

  23. Wild Bill Says:

    Bucs reluctant to demote JTS and be labeled a bust. But Nelson just may force the change if JTS does not show any significant improvement like pronto.

  24. Infomeplease Says:

    Nobody can discount that run. This years draft looks to turn out well too!! Nelson better get snaps!! LFG!!

  25. Joe Says:

    Why is Nelson behind JTS on the depth chart?

    Team has a significant investment in seeing JTS develop and shine.


  26. TonySoprano Says:

    @unbelievable- haha touché on the sopranos quote, should’ve caught that. But I’m still firmly n the ‘SMB sucked camp’. For every timely interception he had, he had 10 easy completions against him. He always seemed 2 steps behind his receiver.

  27. Brandon Says:

    Anybody else see the Jets player not involved in the play try to chase down Nelson as he made his way to the endzone?

  28. BucsLife Says:

    @TonySoprano we don’t win the SuperBowl without SMB getting those playoff pics. Not a bust at all

  29. garro Says:

    I still got the what ifs over Beckwith. Man he could have been the real deal!

    I’m telling yall that if they give Nelson more snaps he is gonna make Jaspm Licht GM of the year.

    Go Bucs!

  30. garro Says:

    Wow Nelsons INT looked like Peewee Football LOL.
    I think Nelson got the biggest gift of his careeer there.

    Where is Chris Berman doing the voice over? Rumblin Stumblin Bumblin….LOL

    Go Bucs!