Jason Licht Considers Receiver “A Need”

April 15th, 2024

LSU receiver Brian Thomas.

It’s going to be very interesting what the Bucs do at receiver in the draft next week, if they do anything.

Is there a glaring hole at receiver? Not this year. But one, maybe two holes loom around the corner.

Joe loves Chris Godwin but Joe also cannot ignore facts. Godwin is in a contract year, he might not want to return and it’s just hope — there’s that ugly word again — that he’s re-signed.

(Remember when Godwin’s wife lashed out at the Bucs last season on social media? Who saw that coming?)

Then there is future Hall of Famer Mike Evans. He signed a two-year contract through 2025. Evans turns 31 in August. There is a reason few receivers over 30 make bank. Father Time is undefeated. Evans would be cheating Father Time if he keeps playing like he did last year.

So, when does Father Time get fed up with Evans toying with him?

Receiver is a strength for the Bucs, but time seems limited.

As a result, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht said last week receiver really is a need, no joke.

“It’s another position that you can’t have too many of those,” Licht said, adding he thinks new playcaller Liam Coen can get the most out of the entire receiving corps.

“We really like Trey [Palmer] and we like what  [Rakim Jarrett] was showing before he got injured last year,” Licht said. “… it’s another position that I would consider a need and you can’t fill them all right now in the draft, but we’d love to get one.”

If the Bucs wanted to draft a receiver in the first round without trading up, this is the year to do it. This draft is stocked with strong receivers.

Would Brian Thomas be there at No. 26 for the Bucs? Maybe.

Thomas, out of LSU, seems to be the No. 4 receiver in this draft — with No. 1 receiver potential.

Here is how Dane Brugler of The Athletic breaks down Thomas in his draft guide “The Beast.”

SUMMARY: … He showed flashes his first two seasons in Baton Rouge but took his game to another level as a junior in 2023, leading the FBS in touchdown grabs (17) — the most receiving TDs by a receiver in an FBS season since DeVonta Smith’s 23 in 2020. A former basketball recruit, Thomas has unique body movements for his size (before and after the catch) with the focus and coordination to make plays above the rim. He consistently gets on top of coverage with his quick acceleration (his 1.78-second “flying 20” was the fastest at the combine), although crisper cuts and improved leverage will help him create better separation out of breaks. Overall, Thomas plays with impressive length, fluid speed and ball-winning athleticism. If his route efficiency catches up with his natural talent, he will be a dangerous weapon in the NFL. He projects as a quality NFL starter with the upside of Tee Higgins.

Brugler has Thomas as his No. 15 player overall in the draft.

Could Thomas slide to the Bucs? Hard to tell. But if Thomas is still on the board when the Bucs pick, Licht is going to have to think long and hard before passing on this playmaker.

38 Responses to “Jason Licht Considers Receiver “A Need””

  1. BillyBucco Says:

    I’ve been saying it all Off Season.
    This is the one draft you DONT pass on WR.
    We will see one in the first 4 picks guaranteed.
    That means by pick 92, we have a new stud.
    Preferably a taller outside guy like Johnny Wilson.
    If not, Corneilus Johnson in the 4th might be a steal.
    Godwin and Palmer in the slot with a bunch of smaller WRs, means we need a true outside guy.
    Let’s score more points and let Bowles earn his paycheck.

  2. Joe in Michigan Says:

    If this guy is there when the Bucs draft, I’d be good with it.

  3. Tony Marks Says:

    I could go for a receiver given there’s likely to be good quality at our pick but if the WR position talents are wide open I might trade down and pick up an additional player.

    but yeah anything is better than the bone dead – draft an edge – because we need one not because a good will be available within the reach of our pick

  4. heyjude Says:

    We do have other needs, however I am okay with Brian Thomas Jr. We probably could get him in the first round, but should we really do that? I would rather see us get Verse, if possible.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Is there a glaring hole at receiver? Not this year. But one, maybe two holes loom around the corner.’

    Well put Joe, but as JL said the other day ‘We have a LOT of needs’. And several are bonafide NEEDS for starter-capable players or key rotational players. Those take precedence over depth and/or developmental players.

  6. Esteban85 Says:

    Let a guy with this size and speed be around Evans and Godwin for a season and we might have ourselves another great pick by JL. I see no reason to rule out a WR at #26.

  7. Proudbucsfan Says:

    If said this before, IMHO, I think JL should pick Brian Thomas Jr. at 26 if he’s there and not reach for a desperate need in the first round. I think Jpj can be had in a trade up in the second round and Chop Robinson is definitely not a first rd player neither is the other Robinson from Mizzou, they could be had in the latter rds. Pick up a corner and a guard with our 2, 3rd round picks. I’m no arm chair GM, that just seems like the most logical thing to do because the draft gets over hyped every year and teams fall for it and end up getting busts.

  8. I remember 21 Says:

    I’m glad to hear him say this. Anybody thinking Palmer or Jarrett are gonna be something special is… incorrect. Nobody even feels comfortable with these guys as the #3 WR and it’s not like WR is the hardest position to transition to the league. If a guy isn’t a capable #3 by his second season, you probably don’t want him as your 1 or 2 at any point. I repeat: Palmer had 46 combined touches (rush & pass) in the reg season and playoffs. He had 3 fumbles. That’s basically a fumble every 15 touches, which is totally unacceptable. And as I recall 2 of them were really egregious. I’m not saying cut the guys, but given the age/injury/contract situations with Mike & Chris, we need better options to take over for those 2 sooner than later.

  9. Scott Says:

    Go route guy right now but the potential is there.

  10. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    If the top 3 edge rushers, Turner, Verse and Latu aren’t there at the Bucs 26th pick, I am game for the best available player, even if it is a WR.

  11. Hodad Says:

    Adoni Mitchell is going in the bottom of the first round. He would be an excellent pick.

  12. Lt. Dan Says:

    All of the points outlined in this post is why I was shocked and disappointed that the Bucs let David Moore go.

  13. Irishmist Says:

    Better to take a legitimate 1st rounder at receiver than reach for a 3rd round talent at edge.

  14. Hodad Says:

    Ladd McConkey is another receiver to keep an eye on at 26.

  15. SB~LV Says:

    Strong language
    Certainly need a EXPLOSIVE WR
    We have plenty of pass catchers

  16. geno711 Says:

    I remember 21 Says:

    Trey Palmers fumbling issues in his first year of the pro’s is a big red flag. 3 fumbles.

    That being said, Palmer had no fumbles in college. I think he can be a viable number 3 receiver in the pro’s. Of course that means cutting down on the fumbles in the pros.

    Draft Buzz last year had him with an 83.3 rating. That would be him at about the 100th best player in this years draft.

  17. Joe Says:

    All of the points outlined in this post is why I was shocked and disappointed that the Bucs let David Moore go.

    Guessing Bucs weren’t going to bust the budget for Moore. Equally if not more important, Moore knew he will get on the field more in Carolina. His snaps here were limited.

  18. PSL Bob Says:

    Stick to the plan. Edge rusher or CB in round 1, C in round 2, then start adding depth at other positions.

  19. DS Says:

    I’ve been pounding the table for this guy he is incredible!!! Doubt he is there but man if he is Licht better draft this kid. LSU is WR U

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Great WR draft and I’d be happy if we take one with a top 4 round pick. R1 is fine but I like guys in R2-R4 as well.

  21. Scott Says:

    Limited route tree and struggled against good corners like Koolaid. How will he handle not being as wide open in the pros

  22. Leighroy Says:

    Don’t try to solve 2025 problems before addressing 2024’s issues. If Godwin leaves next year, or Evans suddenly gets caught by Father Time, then draft a 1st round WR… next year. Or you know, sign a FA… next year. I think 20 teams would envy our current WR corps this year.

  23. Kalind Says:

    Or wait til rd2 and get Keon

  24. SB Says:

    Anyone who thinks we need a WR in the first round, respectively, has Bumped their heads. WR is too deep in this draft. If Keon or Pearsall are still available in the second or Legette then Jump on it

  25. LouisFriend Says:

    Leighroy Says:

    Don’t try to solve 2025 problems before addressing 2024’s issues. If Godwin leaves next year, or Evans suddenly gets caught by Father Time, then draft a 1st round WR… next year.


    WR’s rarely just show up playing to their full capabilities. Chris Godwin is a good example of that. Compare what he did in his first season to his second year. He wasn’t doing the things that made his name until he figured out life in the NFL. So if the Bucs want to replace Godwin next year it’s better to draft them this season.

  26. Conner50 Says:

    Tampa does not need a wr with their 26th pick. This draft is deep with receiver talent that we could bag a good one in 3rd round.

  27. LouisFriend Says:

    Conner50 Says:

    Tampa does not need a wr with their 26th pick. This draft is deep with receiver talent that we could bag a good one in 3rd round.

    If the Bucs have a shot at getting a WR1 in the first round they’ll do it right away. The only way you get one of those in the 3rd round is if every team made a mistake in scouting a guy. Don’t believe me? Look at the last 10 drafts and tell me how many All-Pro or Pro Bowl WR’s were drafted in round 3 or later.

  28. Buc1987 Says:

    RB before WR.

  29. Tucker Says:

    I would love this pick if it was the pick in the first more than any edge that would be there or oline.

  30. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Smoke and mirrors. Top 4 picks are going to be OLB, ILB, IOL and CB. Unless a blue chipper falls, i wouldn’t be surprised at Edgerrin Cooper at 26..Granted, if Verse is available he’s a Pewter Pirate but I’m not feeling that lucky

  31. Conner50 Says:

    Tampa got Chris Godwin in the third round

  32. LouisFriend Says:

    Conner50 Says:

    Tampa got Chris Godwin in the third round


    Godwin would be the only one drafted by the Bucs who ever came close, and without Evans taking top coverage off of him it’s unlikely he would have had the success he did.

  33. Proudbucsfan Says:

    There are a lot of comments on here from people who don’t understand pro football. Every draft is not equal, this year edge is very weak and receiver, guard/center, are strong every GM knows these things and I have faith in JL to put us in position to draft the best player available for our team because every team is different. In all don’t get caught in the hype the draft is a 50/50 gamble.

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    You need AT LEAST three starting WRs in the NFL.

    The position should be on the table in the first round for the team, if there is great value on the board compared to other ‘need’ positions.

  35. Gipper Says:

    In favor of another big wide out, but doesn’t matter who plays receiver if Mayfield isn’t given time to throw. The goal should be to give Baker the same protection that Jared Goff enjoys at Detroit. Many large bodies on the OL in this years draft. OG won’t be a problem but Bucs should draft a CENTER with 1st pick if Latu EDGE is unavailable.

  36. Cesar Luna Says:

    Some trading up or down is required in the first 3 rounds of the draft. However drafting these 3 guys, could become a deep playoff or Super Bowl run for the Buccaneers.

    TB Bucs Draft 1st,2nd,3rd Round:

    * DE- Darius Robinson 6’5” 290lbs Missouri
    * LB- Payton Wilson 6’4” 235lbs North Carolina State
    * WR- Keon Coleman 6’4” 220lbs Florida State

    I followed these 3 players college games all 2023, watch their highlights on YouTube and see for yourselves BUCS FANS. If I had GM Jason or HC Todd email address I would hit with a message to checkout these 3 bad ass dudes! We can get O-lineman to protect Baker in later rounds. This draft is loaded with good OT and IOL from day 1 until the last day of the draft. Even some good rookie free agents.

  37. BUCman Says:

    Receiver is absolutely a need! We need a #3 receiver who will be a starter in Coen’s offense. Coen uses three receiver sets consistently. Palmer is not our #3. Thomas will be gone by pick 26. McConkley should be seriously considered. He is a high volume, smart, quick, allusive receiver who frustrates defensive backs. He can play inside or outside. Ran a 4.39 40. Very likely will be the best player available at 26.

  38. Scott Says:

    Troy Franklin is one to look at. Hopefully they take a look at him.