Jason Licht’s No-Brainer Pick

April 18th, 2024


You’d better believe he has Jason Licht’s full attention.

In overseeing the past 10 drafts for the Bucs, Licht has shown a knack for hitting on offensive linemen. He overcame a sluggish start at the position, selecting Kadeem Edwards and Kevin Pamphile in the fifth round of his inaugural 2014 draft.

Edwards never played a game for Tampa Bay and Pamphile was a pedestrian 2-year starter at left guard before Ali Marpet wisely found a home there in 2018. Those were two misses, yet hardly mistakes worth noting because few fifth-round picks make any noise at the next level.

Licht hit it big the following year, grabbing Donovan Smith and Marpet in the second round. Caleb Benenoch, taken in the fifth round in 2016, was released by Calgary of the CFL last summer after a nondescript NFL career.

Again, no big deal.

Alex Cappa, a 2018 third-round pick now playing for the Bengals, is a 5-year starter and Tristan Wirfs (2020) quickly established himself as one of the league’s premier tackles.

The past three drafts produced Robert Hainey, Luke Goedeke and Cody Mauch. All three started last year for a Buc team that was one win away from reaching the NFC title game.

So who has Licht intrigued this time around?

His name is Zach Frazier — and he’s got Licht’s fingerprints all over him. This 6-foot-3, 314-pound mauler out of West Virginia fits the Licht profile and he could be fitted for a Buc uniform within the next week.

West Virginia guard Zach Frazier.

If the Bucs stick at No. 26 and Frazier is still on the board, Tampa Bay’s draft room should be ecstatic. He’s what the Bucs are looking for and what they so desperately need — a nasty, hulking interior lineman who can set an ornery tone up front. That’s something the Bucs haven’t had since Ryan Jensen went down with a 2022 training camp injury that essentially ended an accomplished career.

Hainsey has tried his best, but he’s playing out of position as the anchor of a young front that struggles to open holes for Rachaad White.

Todd Bowles craves bigger, more aggressive bodies up front and Frazier has all the tools necessary to inject juice into this drab ground game. Duke’s Graham Barton may be more versatile and Jackson Powers-Johnson has a bigger frame, but Frazier is the right guy at the right time. He’s a 4-time state wrestling champion. Big deal, you say.


It’s a very big deal because once Frazier gets his mitts on you, he owns you.

“Knowing how to use your hands,” Frazier says when asked how his wrestling background translates to the football field. “Once I latch onto someone, I’m not letting go.”

Frazier already has familiarity with some Bucs. In their 2020 season opener, the Mountaineers suffered a 38-31 setback at Pittsburgh. West Virginia ran for 190 yards and threw for another 214 against a Pitt defense led by current Bucs Calijah Kancey and Sirvocea Dennis.

Dennis had a big day with 10 tackles and a sack while Kancey recorded four stops, including one tackle for loss.

Frazier was recently asked to name his toughest challenge across the line of scrimmage and he didn’t hesitate: Calijah Kancey.

“He was probably the toughest,” Frazier said. “You had to sit back and play with really good technique because he’s so fast.”

If Frazier joins Dennis and Kancey at One Buc Place this fall, Licht and Bowles deserve a bow.

He’s a brawler right out of the Licht Draft 101 scrapbook, passionate about football and determined to impose his will.

Let’s see if Derrick Brown can push this guy around. Not on Frazier’s watch.

If Frazier’s still available when the Bucs are on the clock Thursday evening, there should be no hesitation. Turn the card in and start high-fiving the Glazers.

49 Responses to “Jason Licht’s No-Brainer Pick”

  1. CleanHouse Says:

    Cool Article

    Trade up and get Jared Verse if at all possible!

    This guy sounds good, I like the special hands aspect.

  2. ATLBUC Says:

    Ira! You didn’t say what position he would be playing

  3. Derek Says:

    Ira! You didn’t say what position he would be playing

  4. geno711 Says:

    From Dane Brugler:

    He was also a four-time heavyweight wrestling state champion (285-pound weight class) and finished with only two losses (both came in his freshman year) and the highest winning percentage (.988) of any high school wrestler in Marion County history. Frazier was named 2019-20 West Virginia Wrestler of the Year.


    … creates movement in the run game with his massive, vise-grip hands and upper-body strength to latch, torque and turn defenders …
    above-average core strength to strain and extend rides … uses independent hands to re-leverage and absorb a charge in pass pro … impeccable work ethic, which dates back to his middle school days, when he built a home gym for himself … remarkable toughness and aggressively attacked his rehab following his broken leg and was running at nine weeks post-surgery

    Overall, Frazier might not boast elite athleticism or length, but he is good enough in those areas and will win over NFL teams with his core strength, football IQ, competitive toughness and understanding of leverage. He projects as a quality NFL starting center the moment he is drafted.

    Other things. He married his high school girlfriend about a year ago. His father is a football coach. 4.0 GPA in college. 34th overall on Dane Brugler’s top 100 list.

  5. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I agree with Ira! I was all in on JPJ early but with all the information and tape I’ve watched since I think Frazier will be a better pro!

  6. toad bowels Says:

    I did a mock draft and traded out of the first round and here is my result which I would be happy with
    42. Zach Frazier OC West Virginia (trade)
    57. Edgerrin Cooper LB Texas A&M
    60. Adisa Isaac EDGE Penn Stat (trade)
    89. Ja’Tavion Sanders TE Texas
    92. Jermaine Burton WR Alabama
    125. Ray Davis RB Kentucky
    128. Khyree Jackson CB Oregon (trade)

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I like him. If Licht picks him over JPJ and/or Barton I’ll trust it but I kind of lean JPJ.

    It’s funny this talk of Hainsey being so small / out of position but he was 6’4 306 lbs coming out of the draft, or just like 7-8 pounds lighter than these other top prospects

    Graham Barton is 6’5 313 lbs

    This guy is 6’3 314 lbs

    JPJ tho is 6’3 328 lbs

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    Sure – unless the higher rated/higher ceiling JPJ is still on the board…

    I’m fine with Frazier — but only if Latu, Verse, JPJ and Barton are all off the board at #26 and the Bucs trade down a few spots, pick up an extra 3rd – THEN draft Frazier at the end of the 1st or beginning of 2nd rd.

  9. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    Frazier should be there in the top 3rd of the 2nd round. Trade back for additional picks, and get him then, along with a much needed LG (C. Beebe hopefully). With the youth and talent already on this line, they could walk away with the best o-line in the nfl for the next 5-7 years.

  10. Bucs Guy Says:

    Agree with Pickgrin.

  11. heyjude Says:

    Ditto with Pickgrin too.

    I am all in on Frazier as center, after we have an edge rusher.

  12. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    I wish people would stop hoping for Barton for the center position. No doubt he is a really good lineman, but I’d rather they draft someone who has played the position before. It’s different, just like every other position on the line, and so it takes a special skill set and nuances to be able to be good at it. For reference, Goedeke was terrible at LG, but pretty good at RT. Isn’t guard supposed to be easier? Let’s not make the same mistake at such an important position.

  13. ChiBuc Says:

    This is a trade up in the 2nd rd guy. Love him! Edge first. I’d be happy if they traded everything for only 2 pix, and they are Latu and Frazier (more plausible)/JPJ

  14. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    As someone who wrestled way in the past, I know what advantages that can give someone. I’m intrigued to find out what a 314-pound 4-time state champion wrestler would look like on our O-line.

    What’s his 40 time? Maybe we can turn him into a RB. 😉

  15. Pickgrin Says:

    Admiral – Barton would likely play LG in year 1 at least if the Bucs were to draft him.

    I’m really kind of hoping Barton is our guy. I think he’s got the highest ceiling of any IOL player in this draft.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    @Lord C: Hainsey’s problem is not weight. His problem is leg strength. His legs are fairly thin and he has a small butt.

    Great OL have huge legs and ass. That is where power comes from, not from upper-body bench presses.

  17. JimBobBuc Says:

    A few of the evaluators have JPJ, Barton, and Frazier in a class by themselves, then a big drop to the second group of centers. Frazier will go in the top 1/3 of the second round. I don’t see the Bucs trading up very far, from 26, maybe just enough to get ahead of Dallas as they have C near the top of their needs. Maybe we could trade down to EARLY rd2 and get Frazier, he won’t be around at 57.

    A couple people have mentioned Hainsey moving to G. I’m not sure he would do much better at guard, maybe, maybe not.

  18. Day 1-76 Says:

    Here we go again. Drafting a center in the 1st rd is ridiculous, and then suggesting it’s a no-brainer to over draft someone at 26 who you could trade down for borders on idiocy.

  19. Brandon Jeff Says:

    I believe Center is our biggest need and I would love to have Frazier even over JPJ and Barton. Also, his projected draft position allows us some flexibility in the draft. The possibility is filling another need in the first or trade down and get Frazier plus an extra pick would be awesome.

  20. Saskbucs Says:

    I also agree with Pickgrin but won’t lose sleep if this guy was the pick over JPJ. I think Barton is still my number 1 but will be shocked if he is still there at 26. I believe Barton has played C, maybe just not for a couple years. I certainly agree with not moving guys around as the Bucs like to do but seems like the appeal of Barton is his flexibility, playing at a high level anywhere along the line. Stick them in one spot whether C or LG and he will be good.

  21. Brandon Jeff Says:

    To go along with my earlier post, I would rather pick a Guard later in the draft if he would be better than what we have now.

  22. A Bucs Fan Says:

    @Day 1-76 I think you’re confused. The “Joes” think drafting a center in the 1st is ridiculous. Ira’s column and take are different.
    For the record, it’s only one “Joe.” — Joe

  23. Hearty Dikerson Says:

    Really like Frazier, ideally we’d trade down a few spots and then land him.

    Hainsey is not playing out of position. He’s simply not a starter-quality player in the NFL. Blows my mind people keep saying he should move to LG. Guards are bigger, stronger than Cs and play far more 1-on-1. It Hainsey already gets manhandled as a C, it would be even worse at G.

  24. Chris78 Says:

    Finally a article posted with some football sense , yall know they probably 2 day 1 starters in draft , JPJ or Frazier , Frazier has 37 starts to JPJ 12 as a starter, so next 7 days grab some tape and watch this Frazier kid , we all know a super smart center runs the offense and sets the tone and he will be the leader of this O line and Licht just needs to walk soft and carry big stick , he won’t be trashed for this pick!!! I have faith we will get our guy , go bucs

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    I have no problems with drafting Frazier – especially in round #2.

    But if Graham Barton is available at pick #26 I would prefer him over Frazier.

    RAS of 9.99 out of 10 – he ranks #3 out of 1587 NFL lineman tested since 1987. That is a rare specimen.

    Plus – Barton can play every O-line position… Plug him in at LG for the next decade…

  26. WhatTheBuc Says:

    I’d have to agree with Ira. With the exception that if Verse or Latu drops to the 20s. If that happens I think we have to try to move up to get one of the rushers. Otherwise it’s Frasier or JPJ. I wouldn’t be surprised if 3 centers go in the first round if you count Barton. It would be nice if we could trade back and still get Fraiser. I think fans put too much stock in what the draftniks boards look like. I think NFL GMs have Fraiser ranked in the top 32.

  27. WhatTheBuc Says:

    100% exactly. Hainsey is a giant as human beings go but he’s high waisted and has no ass and skinny legs for an interior lineman. I’m not saying to kick the guy off the team. He has his place as a versatile back up. Hainsey is coming into his contract year and there is zero chance the Bucs are paying him starter money. We have to have a plan in place in the event that someone signs him in free agency. If that happens, it would be good for Hainsey and the bucs. Probably get a comp pick for him.

  28. Pickgrin Says:

    WhatTheBuc Says:
    “if Verse or Latu drops to the 20s. If that happens I think we have to try to move up to get one of the rushers.”

    Agreed – I’m hoping for Latu – convinced he will be a difference maker out the gate…. not worried about the neck. Verse is a great prospect at #20+ as well.
    Either would be worth spending a 3rd rd pick to trade up for…….

    WhatTheBuc Says:
    “I think NFL GMs have Fraiser ranked in the top 32.”

    Agreed also – but just barely (28ish-32). Whereas JPJ and especially Barton are probably more like 15>25 on most boards.

  29. BillyBucco Says:

    It’s actually more the center of gravity that’s more important for a Center.
    Frazier will be the beat actual Center because his base is so wide.
    I also like Barton the best because of flexibility all over the Line.
    JPJ could actually be a trade up in the 2nd round guy actually.
    I think people on this board want a BIG guy and that doesn’t translate in the NFL at Center.
    I also agree we could trade back and still get JPJ or Frazier.
    Teams are going to want the Big Tackles instead you watch.

  30. Cho Says:

    Love it. Do it. Trade back, get the wrestler

  31. TimR Says:

    @Toad. That sounds like a great draft.

  32. Smashsquatch Says:

    Grapplers rule! Great sport. Wirfs & Sapp were both studs on the mat. Nobody knows how to use leverage better than a wrestler. He’d be a great pick.

  33. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    I did a mock draft and traded our number 1 for two # 3’s giving us four number 3’s and a number 2. 😎

  34. 1#bucsfan Says:

    He can find O-lineman in later rds.

  35. JustVisiting Says:

    My Judo training helped me a lot in other sports, and I wasn’t even particularly good. I agree with Kaufman: 4-time state wrestling champion is a very big deal in this context.

  36. SlyPirate Says:

    One of 3 Things Happens:
    1. (Low Chance) Verse falls into the 20s and the Bucs trade slightly up. Give up a 4th.
    2. (Medium) A QB falls and the Bucs trade down and draft and IOL.
    3. (Highly Likely) The QB, WR, OT run pushes a top DE or DB down to the Bucs and we draft a top talent.

    Best guess:
    R1: Latu or Cooper
    R2: Van Pran or Frazier

  37. Capt Ahab Says:

    Frazier sounds like a stud. If the Bucs want him then try and work the draft with a trade back option to get their guy. Frazier is projected as a 2nd round pick. If there is a suitor then trade back a few spots, get the guy you want while acquiring and extra draft pick. Licht is a seasoned veteran, he knows how to work the draft.

  38. Bucs2004 Says:

    Trade our first round draft for additional picks later in the draft. We could get more picks in the later rounds. The odds of getting something good are slim and will end up being a bust in the first round.

  39. Stanglassman Says:

    I like Frazier but not at #26. His All scouts overall ranking is 52.4 so he would be good value at their 2nd round pick or a big reach #26 overall. If they really like him they should take DE or G in the 1st. Or they can try and move back and pick up some draft picks and get him.

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    For all those wanting to trade down to grab an extra 3rd round pick, that’s a very iffy proposition IMO. First off it takes 2-to-tango, and finding a trade partner willing to sacrifice a 3rd round pick to move up a few slots is certainly not a given. More importantly though, what if you miss out on a particular player who fills a need because you traded down?

    Remember when we traded down with the Bills back in 2018. The ended up with their franchise QB, and today only Vita Vea is still a Buc (RoJo, MJ Stewart, Davis & Cappa are all gone now).

  41. Olboy Says:

    What DR said.
    One in the hand is better than two in a later bush.

  42. Pickgrin Says:

    DR – I’ll counter that with….. SCOREBOARD!!!!! LOL

    4 of those 5 players constituted 18% of our starting Super Bowl lineup – and all helped us win it.

    How many Super Bowls has Josh Allen won? How many Super Bowls have the Buffalo Bills won in the last 64 years of their existence as a team?

  43. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Hell yes! I’ve been pounding the table for this kid. I’d even take him over JPJ. Great article Ira!

  44. Capt Ahab Says:

    If the Bucs draft a guy in the first round who is slotted in the 2nd, that’s an immediate “F” grade.

  45. Olboy Says:

    Where does that F grade come from? Is that something any GM would give two sh/ts about?Slotted by whom? The Buccaneer’s? If second rnd is the slot the buccaneers choose to place that player then yeah, that would definitely be an F grade if they went ahead and picked him in the first rnd.
    As a pretend GM, why would I allow others outside my war room to define the value of any player on the board? The people I hire will be the ones to define it for me based upon all the Intel and data available and some that maybe isn’t available and more importantly, how I view the needs of the team based upon the many different variables I have to acct for.

    But let’s not us a pretend GM, let’s go to a real one. Jason Licht from an ESPN article:
    “You wouldn’t want to pass on a player, regardless of position, if you have a lot of love for him — knowing even if that’s a deep position. None of us know — we don’t have a crystal ball here. You can feel like a position is deep and then you can look back on it three years from now and maybe it wasn’t so deep.”

    One in the hand is better than two in the later bush

  46. Fred McNeil Says:

    You make a good case for him, Ira. It seems a lot of people like this guy. I saw some awesome film of him yesterday. Consensus seems to be that we could trade down a few picks and still get him. I’d still probably have Verse or Latu. I’m glad I’m not the GM.

  47. Bucben61 Says:

    I think he’s a perfect fit for our team…we definitely need a big time center and he’s all that

  48. BucU Says:

    Imagine our offense with a running game that averages 4 plus yards a carry?
    Stop the presses!

  49. Pewter Power Says:

    Only problem I’ll have with licht is believing Hainsey is the future center and all he needs is bodies as a backup