“I Will Be Quite Honest With You. I Didn’t Think That There Is Going To Be A Snowball’s Chance In Hell That He Was Going To Be There At Our Pick.”

May 1st, 2024

Tried to trade up.

There was drama in the Bucs’ war room Thursday night. Almost too much for Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht.

Last week’s draft was Licht’s first draft since 2014, when he took over the Bucs’ football operations, in which he did not make a trade during the draft.

However, Licht nearly kept his streak intact.

In fact, Licht confessed while appearing this morning on “Schein on Sports,” hosted by popular sports radio and television personality Adam Schein, heard exclusively on SiriusXM’s “Mad Dog Radio” channel, that he tried to trade up to grab eventual first-round pick Graham Barton. But Licht couldn’t swing a deal.

Adam Schein: I have to smile in terms of perfection with Graham Barton. And you guys needed a center, needed an offensive lineman. He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s physical. Has the qualities I know you look for in an offensive lineman that we have seen from other great, recent offensive linemen for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Was that as no-brainer of a selection in terms of player, DNA, fit for your football team?

Jason Licht: I think you nailed it. Yeah, it was. It was a no-brainer for us. And I will be quite honest with you, I didn’t think that there is going be a snowball’s chance in hell that he was going to be there at our pick. So, when the board started to slide and fall the way it did, with the quarterbacks going and the run on some certain positions, I started to get pretty nervous. I attempted to try to move up. But I’m glad I didn’t in this case — that doesn’t always work out that way. [Barton] is everything we are looking for in the traits for an offensive lineman, especially as an interior player.

Schein: At what point do you start to maybe — I don’t want to say “get antsy” because I know how measured you are when it comes to the draft and the process and you are smart and you are calm — but [Barton] is the guy, this is the player. So, is Pittsburgh the moment? At what point do you say, “OK; A) this might happen, and/or simultaneously, B), “Let’s work the phones a little bit?”

Licht: Well, I think you nailed it. It was at 20 there with Pittsburgh because I know how they value their offensive linemen. And I think they got a helluva pick there (versatile Troy Fautanu), too. But it was about then. And then we just kind of started to, once [Barton] got by the Dolphins I thought we had a shot. I was worried about the Cowboys there. They got good value trading out. And then when Philly came in there and took a corner, I thought we might have a shot here, a legit shot. And that’s the way it worked out. I couldn’t have turned that card in any quicker if I tried.

So this is interesting to Joe. Licht made it clear, or at least had the hard sell that Barton was his guy all along. So if Licht was scared about the Steelers, would he have drafted Fautanu if he jumped ahead of Pittsburgh or did Licht have Barton graded higher than Fautanu?

Perhaps Barton is more versatile that Fautanu, which is a key trait among Licht’s desired skills for an offensive lineman.

Of course, Licht would never publicly say he had his sights set on another lineman than the guy he drafted.

Joe just wonders who Licht was talking to in his attempt to trade up? Very interesting details about how Thursday night shook out.

33 Responses to ““I Will Be Quite Honest With You. I Didn’t Think That There Is Going To Be A Snowball’s Chance In Hell That He Was Going To Be There At Our Pick.””

  1. Saskbucs Says:

    Thank god he couldn’t trade up. For 2 reasons… probably would have lost the McMillan pick and if Barton went before 26 I have seen reports that Newton was next on the board and most of us would have been just as happy.

  2. Buc1987 Says:

    Go Barton!!!

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It seems to me that Licht has traded up for several of his Oline picks. He traded up for Wirfs, Cappa & Marpet…….so he gets nervous over his oline picks.

  4. Mark Says:

    I wonder if he married the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen too.

  5. BillyBucco Says:

    That’s because he was right about those others.
    I would definitely be nervous over Barton falling that far.
    How can anyone give us a C grade for this draft?

  6. Richard Dickson Says:

    “How can anyone give us a C grade for this draft?”

    Most poor grades I’ve seen have dinged us for not taking a corner, taking Irving when they thought better backs were available, and the Braswell pick.

  7. SB~LV Says:

    BS … well maybe
    Or just more misdirection for general principle

  8. Fred McNeil Says:

    Mark: “I wonder if he married the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen too ”

    I don’t see any black eyes or broken bones on him so I guess the answer is yes.

  9. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Troy Fautanu was likely the only other OL they would have targeted R1 at that point IMO. Once he went that’s when I’m guessing he got antsy knowing Barton was the main legit interior elite lineman left.

    Steelers had a great draft too

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Of course, Licht would never publicly say he had his sights set on another lineman than the guy he drafted.” – Joe

    This is true…but I get the sense that he’s being honest in this case

    Really, the draft played out as well as we can expect. I mean, sure, there are going to be some busts in there, but I think we got at least 3, maybe 4 good picks.

  11. Hodad Says:

    Joe, Barton was his guy all along.

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs got very lucky the way the picks 20>25 fell in order to land Barton like we did.

    I think Licht’s instincts were good that the likelihood of someone snagging Barton before 26 were high.

    The thing that really saved us I believe was Dallas trading down with Detroit and the Lions wanting a CB. Dallas would have almost certainly drafted Barton at 24 – and I’m surprised the Steelers at 20 and the Packers at 25 selected the 6th and 7th Tackles off the board instead of drafting the best interior prospect in Barton…

    Sometimes its better to be lucky than good – eh Jason?

  13. Fred McNeil Says:

    Tell ya the truth I thought his guy was the hyphen Johnson center. I think I had that impression because nobody figured Barton would still be available. People all said Barton had a higher ceiling. I’m very happy with this pick. My only worry is that he will want to retire early like Marpet. Truly smart guys like them often prefer to enjoy the fruits of their labor while they’re still healthy.

  14. Boss Says:

    I though our draft was about as good as possible picking that late.

    te RB pick made me scratch my head…..not that we did not need one, just seems like the same thing we already have. we shall see.

    Love us getting 2 big bruisers on the OL

  15. lambchopp Says:

    The biggest thing with draft grades is they don’t account for the team’s scheme. Our GM and coaches value versatility especially on OL and the defensive backfield. Bowles uses a lot of different personnel to throw off an offense. If you can make the QB second guess where the rush might come from or who is blitzing in this instance, it shaves off some time from the QBs progressions and not to mention creates confusion with their blocking.

  16. SlyPirate Says:

    Still curious why Barton over JPJ?

    JPJ is the HUGE, played Center, played for a Power 5. Not saying they didn’t get it right but would love to know more.

  17. destinjohnny Says:

    Jason has a habit of trading up when he doesn’t have too.
    Let’s see if this guy can play.
    Cody, Luke and Hainsey ???? Average at best ?

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    Teams almost always have a tier of players – and so long as one of the players from that tier is going to be available at their pick, they don’t start giving up assets to trade up. That’s the entire point of the tier system, so you don’t talk yourself into having to have a guy and giving up more than you need to.

    If he was the last guy in their tier, then yeah, at that point you try to trade up, or you stay and place to see if he falls, and if he doesn’t you trade back.

    Anyways, with all the QBs that were taken, a lot of guys fell, so I’m sure the Bucs had a few options which is why they sat pat.

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    SlyPirate – Licht knows his offensive lineman, so I’m sure he had his reasons. Also Barton can put on weight still, remarkably from what I read his legs are more developed than his upper body, which is normally the opposite for guys. Also, did you see his neck, he looks like a model for a superhero toy set, it’s insane.

    Anywho, I don’t know jack about college ball as I don’t watch it, but in particular with the offensive line, I’ll absolutely defer to Licht – his track record is fantastic, in particular with his only other 1st round offensive lineman.

  20. JimBobBuc Says:

    Barton was consistently mocked to go to Pitt, Miami, or the Cowboys. Some mocks even had JPJ AND Barton being gone before 26. Barton is much more versatile than JPJ and started all 4 years. I’m sure Licht targeted Barton all the way due to versatility and character.

  21. HC Grover Says:

    Look….he is a solid Fail Safe pick. I do not care what the ‘pundit’ morons claim.

  22. Mark A Swygert Says:

    I heard that JPJ had a history of concussions. Also heard he was “flamboyant” in the locker room, whatever the hell that means. The thought was he was a little too “look at me” for a good locker room fit, which is apparently is very to the Bucs.

  23. Larrd Says:

    “I’ll be quite honest with you …”

    There’s no better tell, Joe.

  24. heyjude Says:


  25. heyjude Says:

    Sorry, clicked too fast above.

    I was surprised too we didn’t go for JPJ first. But reading other comments, maybe because of what Mark said too. Jason picked correctly.

  26. Capt.Tim Says:

    Fantastic pick. This guy will be an anchor in our line, along with Wirfs, for a decade.

    Well done, Jason Licht and team. Best draft in years.

  27. Marky Mark Says:

    Outsmarting the Steelers is always good. Baker has the Steelers number and Cinci too.

  28. toopanca Says:

    Light mentioned that they began to focus intensely around the time of Pittsburg’s #20 pick. That just happens to be after edge rusher Jared Verse was taken with pick #19, and immediately before edge rusher Chop Robinson was taken with pick #21. So, he doesn’t come out and say that they prioritized OL over edge so far as the best available players were concerned.

  29. MelvinJunior Says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen SUCH ‘kissing up’ to any GM before… Not Like THIS. LoL

  30. MelvinJunior Says:

    Just think had we moved-up and taken Linderbaum (like I wanted) two years ago, instead of trading back and taking Hall and then eventually, Otten. Wirfs-Linderbaum-Barton… SHEW!!! OLine would be SET for the next DECADE+. Wow.

  31. Tony Marks Says:

    SlyPirate Says:
    May 1st, 2024 at 2:17 pm
    Still curious why Barton over JPJ?


    I started out with JPJ myself but after looking into Barton switched within a week as my first preferred pick. JPJ has the monster size factor but Barton is just the all round better package in versatility, athleticism and smarts

  32. Toad Bowels Says:

    JPJ is fat and might have had issues lasting for 60 minutes in the Tampa Bay heat and humidity. Also might eat himself out of the league.

    Jason made the right choice. I think if Barton was gone then the plan was DT, Edge and OL with one of the 3rd round picks.

  33. MadMax Says:

    Atlanta threw a great big monkey wrench into the whole thing with their trade up for Penix….that messed a lot of stuff up lol…other teams were getting guys they werent expecting too….Im glad we landed Braswell (i was pushing for him but thought he wouldnt be there), and Smith INSYEAD of Bullard (who I wanted) well we got his teammate. Then Mcmillan (who was off my radar but knew a WR would be a good choice)

    And then yeah, I wanted Estime or Bucky, but Bucky was still there, small shifty and fast so we chose to go that route.

    Now everyone just needs to workout, settle in and stay healthy.