Jason Licht Likes His “Freaks”

April 27th, 2024

Fourth front-seven freak in three years.

Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht has some tells in his drafts.

* He loves guys who ball out at the Senior Bowl practices.

* He really has a soft spot in his heart for small school offensive linemen from the upper Midwest.

* And he likes front-seven players on defense to be “freaks.”

Each summer, college football columnist Bruce Feldman publishes a “Freaks List.” This is a list of the top-100 athletic freaks who will savage opponents on the field that fall. All of these guys either have to be athletic freaks or dudes who are beastly in the weight room.

With the second-round pick tonight, Licht selected Alabama outside linebacker Chris Braswell. And yes, Braswell made Feldman’s “Freak’s List” last summer. Braswell was Feldman’s No. 7 freak.

7. Chris Braswell, Alabama, outside linebacker
The Crimson Tide’s biggest Freak — who vertical-jumped 38 1/2 inches at 243 pounds last year and squatted 705 — is now 13 pounds heavier, up to 256, but still has great burst, clocking 21.9 MPH on the GPS this year. Braswell, who had 4.5 TFLs, six QB hurries and three sacks in 2022, also bench-pressed 405 pounds and hang-cleans 405. Last season, he worked into the Tide’s rotation often in their “Cheetah” package, where he joined Will Anderson and Dallas Turner on the field to harass opposing quarterbacks. Now, with Anderson off to the NFL, expect Braswell to have a much bigger role in 2023.

Braswell now is the fourth freak that Licht has drafted in the past three drafts for his defense’s front-seven.

Two years ago, Licht drafted Logan Hall. So far, he has not panned out.

Last year Licht drafted Calijah Kancey and YaYa Diaby. Kancey, Joe believes, is going to be a total gamewrecker for years. Diaby has shown promising signs as a pass rusher himself.

Joe hopes Braswell turns out to be a major freak for years as well.

25 Responses to “Jason Licht Likes His “Freaks””

  1. 2023 Surprised the Hell out of me Says:

    We have to turn it into NFL production

  2. Truth be Told Says:

    Finally. Pass Rush

  3. Cometowin2 Says:

    Love this pick. Best Edge on the board when we picked. Was productive in the SEC.

  4. QBKilla Says:

    I hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Noah Spence.

  5. geno711 Says:


    Actually the better comp is Whitney Mercilus.

    Mercilus ended up with 37.5 sacks in his 1st 5 years with Houston.

  6. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    If we’re really lucky, he’ll not just be major freak, he’ll be a beastly freak. Or possibly he may end up being a freaking beast. Any combination of freak and beast would be sufficient. Freak Beast or Beastly Freak? Only time will tell.

  7. Colonel Angus Says:

    Good draft so far. Can never be sure until these dudes suit up. Was nice to see players from the big schools get drafted. Today is a crap shoot, hopefully we grab a couple gems. Wouldn’t mind grabbing Ray Davis or Jaylen Wright to add to the RB stable.

  8. Hodad Says:

    You can’t go wrong picking defensive players from Bama, and Georgia.

  9. Scott Says:

    Braswell may be our best edge rusher sooner than later

  10. QBKilla Says:


    Let’s hope he’s better than 7 or 8 sacks a year.

  11. Mr. Editor Says:

    The difference this year is that he tapped into the big time programs more than usual, such as Georgia, Alabama, and Washington. It’s great to have inside information in Georgia’s program, especially now that it’s a juggernaut.

  12. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I don’t think he will be as good as his teammate Dallas Turner who was draft in the first round but he does possess a very high ceiling and could surprise everyone. Unlike JTS who was also fast, Braswell has violent hands and a ton of power. I think Licht has shown that the edge rushers need both, power and speed.

  13. Marky Mark Says:

    No running back?

  14. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    I just hope he’s not Noah Spence 2.0. This is from NFL Draft Buzz.com ;”Drafting Braswell is betting on potential, a gamble that could pay dividends with the right coaching. He’s a powerhouse with the kind of raw talent you can’t teach, paired with a set of weaknesses that can, ideally, be coached out. The team that drafts him is not just picking a player; they’re making an investment. It’s about sculpting that raw talent, refining his technique, and expanding his arsenal. If it all clicks, Braswell could be the steal of the draft, a disruptive force on the defensive front. But it’s a journey – one that will require patience, finesse, and a keen eye for development.”

  15. Beeej Says:

    Nobody’s drafting RB’s in the first 3 rounds, only 4 taken

  16. ModHairKen Says:

    Spot on, Hodad. Production at other schools is one thing. Production at UGA and Alabama is a whole different metric. The best players. The best coaches.

    Braswell is coming to a Defense that does not have another elite Edge rusher. His strength is going to make him standout. He will increase the pressure from the DTs.

  17. Bucs Guy Says:

    Estime, Davis and Allen are all still available as power RBs though I think the Bucs wait until the 6th to draft the big one-dimensional back Milton from UGA. Also lots of LBs still out there. I think that’s where they go today.

    Picking a 3rd rd Safety for depth/special teams was a massive mistake. Should have picked a G or RB instead to go with the WR pick.

  18. Buddha Says:

    YaYa had third most sacks among rookies and more than Will Anderson. I don’t recall any rookie ever having more sacks than Diaby. Don’t know why Joe isn’t more excited about Diaby.

  19. D-Rok Says:

    Holy cow that’s a very strong dude! 700 squat, 400 bench, and most importantly, a beastly 400 clean? He’s prolly as strong or stronger than any tackle he will face. Wasn’t there intel on either Hainsey or Mauch (I think Hainsey) who could barely squat in the 300’s??

    Most of us understand that weight room studs don’t always translate to on-field production; however (!), having a very strong foundation as a rookie is important: maintain his strength and nutrition program and only worry about the playbook and honing his techniques.

    I hope this kid becomes a star for us. Go Bucs ! ! !

  20. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Yeah, don’t really understand the Smith pick! Seams like we could use help at positions other than safety/nickel corner?? Must have had him highly rated on their board.

  21. Fred McNeil Says:

    I didn’t like the Smith pick either. We’ll see.

  22. unbelievable Says:

    Everyone on here worrying about him being the next Noah Spence… why? Do you think he’s going to have a career ending injury as a rookie?

    Spence had a great start to his rookie year and was balling out before getting injured… and then injuring his same shoulder again, which basically ended his career. The biggest knock against Spence was liability in the run game, which by all accounts, is not an issue for Braswell.

  23. Booger Says:

    Yep. Same here on Smith. I just assumed that Bowels had seen something in the kid. So, guess we’ll soon see what kind of ‘eye’ and instincts for talent that Bowels has. There must be a plan… I sure hope to God. Cause, I didn’t like it. There were a couple of other positions we could’ve gone there. Hope it’s not a wasted pick. This draft was soooo loaded and there were several really good players left still on the board. I hope it doesn’t bite us. I don’t know why you’d take a Safety like that, especially over a Corner such as TJ Tampa, etc. I’d MUCH rather have more depth there, especially for down the road, when we move Dean… We wouldn’t be nearly as bad in a hole going into the 2025 season. I seriously, don’t know HOW the Eagles ever got THAT ‘Lucky’ to get BOTH of those Corners like that… I KNEW they were taking Cooper Dejean there, & was like, WOW. And, after having Mitchell just fall right into their laps like that, too… SHEW!

  24. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist Says:

    It looks like we have possibly finally replaced our Legendary Duo of Shaq Barrett and JPP who harrassed QB’s better than any outside LB/DE tandem in Bucs history during our 1st couple Brady seasons….

    Diaby is our young/raw JPP replacement and Braswell is like a Rich Man’s Shaq Barrett. We should be set on the d-line now…

  25. Mm Says:

    If ESPN is right and he only started 2 games at Alabama, then I hate this pick. Your 2nd pick should be a starter. Alabama’s edge is rushers are better than the Bucs? Couldn’t start there. Look back on drafts, your 2nd pick should be a starter, not all pro, but at least a starter. Couldn’t start in college. Horrible. Needs to get a hard nose proven starter not a “hope” with your second pick. ESPN depth chart has him on 2nd team.