The Growth Of Jason Licht

May 25th, 2024

Batting above .500.

AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht just wrapped up his 11th draft as the Bucs’ shot-caller last month. Even he will tell you he learned a lot as the years rolled by.

Of course, Licht hit a home run with his very first pick, future Hall of Fame receiver Mike Evans.

Follicly challenged Billy Barnwell of BSPN has noticed how Licht has grown into the job. So much so that Billy thinks Licht has become predictable.

Oh, Joe knows Licht likes dudes that dominate Senior Bowl practices. And he has a soft spot for small-school offensive linemen from the Midwest, maybe because he too was a small-school offensive lineman from the Midwest after he transferred from Nebraska.

And Licht likes players with personalities. He’s said research shows players with big personalities often max out their abilities or at worst, bust their tails.

But Billy thinks Licht has developed another tell in his drafts: a first-round fondness for the trenches.

The superlative: Team most likely to use its top pick to beef up the line of scrimmage

Bucs GM Jason Licht might be the new Howie Roseman. While the Eagles GM has understandably been recognized as a man singularly focused on improving his team’s offensive and defensive lines, Licht might be even more consistent when it comes to using key draft capital to shore up his team’s big bodies.

Over his past six drafts, Licht’s emphasis on linemen has been notable. In 2018, he used his first-round pick on defensive tackle Vita Vea, who grew into a building block for the Tampa Bay defense that led the franchise to a Super Bowl LV win. In 2020, his first-round pick was Tristan Wirfs, who shored up left tackle for Tom Brady during that title run. In 2021, Licht chose defensive end Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, then followed that in 2023 with another defensive lineman in Calijah Kancey.

In 2022, the Bucs didn’t have a first-round pick, but they used their two second-round selections on defensive lineman Logan Hall and offensive lineman Luke Goedeke. The only exception was 2019, when their first-round pick was linebacker Devin White. That’s a lot of premium draft capital being used on the big men in the trenches.

Licht went back to the well this April in using his first-round pick on offensive lineman Graham Barton. …

In recent years Licht’s trenches results with linemen in first 33 picks in the draft, are a mixed bag. While Logan Hall and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (so far) have been bad misses, Licht nailed Tristan Wirfs, Vita Vea and it appears Calijah Kancey. Hey, what general manager is perfect?

That’s better than 50 percent. And any NFL general manager will tell you, batting above .500 in the first 33 picks is Tony Gwynn-level hitting.

28 Responses to “The Growth Of Jason Licht”

  1. Dude Says:

    One of the best GMs in sports.

  2. Bojim Says:

    I think he’s doing great.

  3. BuddhaBucs Says:

    Billy doesn’t even know what position Tristan Wirfs played.

  4. KABucs Says:

    Stick with the formula. Skill players can be had in rounds 2 – 4 and even lower. All those quarterbacks that were picked in the first round this year? Two of them will probably end up being franchise QBs (if that many) and maybe another one a decent starter but about half are bound to be busts, historically speaking. I wonder which ones they will be? The Bucs best QBs have normally come from other teams, like the two we won Super Bowls with.

  5. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    No GM is perfect but Licht built a team that made the GOAT want to come here to get another ring after leaving New England. Since then I’ve seen some making comments hoping the Glazer’s fire him. Those commenters need to be drug-tested!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    The easiest way to judge someone’s opinion on this site has always been if they said/say to fire Licht. Dumb af

  7. Crickett Baker Says:

    Y, it scared me when he last spoke and mentioned when he might retire. I can not imagine the team without him.

  8. SenileSenior Says:

    Glad to see Licht getting some respect and recognition for his growth into the job. I believe he is trying to build one more Super Bowl class team before he retires. He is fighting hard to get our franchise some respect nationally as well.

    Go Bucs!!!

  9. Fred McNeil Says:

    I’ve just gotta salute the man. Last year he built a team from practically nothing. If If Braswell is pretty good and some of these second year OLBs develop we will have something. The secondary ain’t too shabby at all. I have a lot of confidence in Graham. Everybody seems to love our two third round picks as solid players. I am leery about Irving, but my fellow JBFers seem to love him so I’m sold too. I myself like Klein and Culp and Kulp seems to have beefed up a good bit already. Go BUCS!

  10. BucsfaninOregon Says:

    Wait until you see Bucky in action!

  11. Joseph C Simmons Says:

    What’s crazy is Licht was as good as fired after the Glazers decided to let Koetter go. The only thing that saved him was Bruce Arians being hired and wanting to work with him.

  12. NCBuc Says:

    Can’t take the guy seriously if he seriously just said JL drafted TW to sure up the left tackle side for TB…… TW was a right tackle…. Feel free to correct me, but this guy is just throwing sheet on a wall and hope it makes news

  13. Fred McNeil Says:

    Most pundits don’t ever watch the Bucs. Their loss.

  14. JimBobBuc Says:

    My hope this year was that Licht and the scouts learned from their analysis of picking Hall and JTS. Hall was a tweener that they projected him him to improve a lot from college. JTS was picked because of athleticism and not his actual production. In my mind, Licht needed to focus more on production and less on track numbers. It seems like he has done this with this draft class and I’m very excited we have players that love football and will produce.

  15. BuucccNASTY Says:

    The best GM I have had as Bucs fan in 30 years. No GM is perfect but I wouldn’t trade this guy for one other GM in the leauge. You brought us a superbowl and allowed us to say as Bucs fans we were part of the greatest QB to ever play the games career. I have always wondered what it’s like to grow up the past 34 years as a patriot fan and how great/spoiled they must feel. Well Licht gave us that for a solid 2-3 years and that is something beyond measure. Something that most fans will never feel in their entire life’s. I hope this guy retires from the NFL as the Bucs GM because he will bring us many more great runs like last year, even when the chips are not set perfectly for a superbowl run. If he is our GM for another decade I think it’s not too outlandish to think we have another superbowl appearance, if not another Lombardi trophy. This guy is gold.

  16. Capt.Tim Says:

    Jason Licht is a fantastic GM. He has done an incredible job of keeping this team at the top of the division, without going in Salary cap hell.
    I think this years draft will prove to be one of his best.

    Only time I was really worried, was when I thought Baker Mayfield might get away this Summer. But JI had it handled.

    As long as we have our front office and outstanding ownership group- Tampa Bay is always the smart bet.

  17. MadMax Says:

    My man Jason knows how…and yes hes learned from a few mistakes…but its obvious he’s also very keen to certain people here who post here (no, not the daily drama dudes)…especially the Joes who were pushing for Godwin to be drafted, i think there was even an article about Kancey, which I admit was off my radar. And he’s turning into a beast.

    Its getting figured out and sometimes it takes a collective effort from many involved for input on final decisions. Jason is a very smart and humble man and GM. You gotta love the guy. His work on contracts and pushing that cap is unreal.

  18. catcard202 Says:

    Looks like Billy using AI to write his pieces now…

  19. Usfbuc Says:

    We have a long time before Licht retires so I wouldn’t worry about that. He and his staff have done an amazing job building the team. There were mistakes but I think the staff has learned from those.

  20. Dave Pear Says:

    The roster Jason has put together should be winning 10 or 11 games a year the past few years and this year.

  21. PNW Buc Says:

    Being compared to Howie roseman is high praise.
    GM Jason, you’re doing great, keep it up brother!!!
    Go Bucs

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joseph C Simmons Says:
    “What’s crazy is Licht was as good as fired after the Glazers decided to let Koetter go. The only thing that saved him was Bruce Arians being hired and wanting to work with him.”

    I don’t think that was the case at all.I

    I think the Glazers made the decisions on who to hire as coach everytime up to that point. And they made sure those coaches had too strong of an influence in the drafts.

    I believe Licht finally went to them and said, “This isn’t working. If you want to have a great team with a shot at championships, you need to give me full control.”

    And he went out and showed what he could do. He went after Arians. And got him.

    It was a homerun hire…and Arians 100% trusted Licht. They had a great relationship. Together, they seduced Brady.

    The Glazers finally got out of the way.

  23. toad bowels Says:

    The game is won in the trenches. Keep building those lines Mr. Licht.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I suspect JTS and Hall are salvageable…just maybe not in the way we all might think.

    JTS…I just don’t know. Maybe he needs more power…a couple new moves. If he could bull rush, that might help.

    Logan I think will get better.

    Or…I could be wrong and they could be out of the league next year. Who really knows?

    I am a firm believer that the biggest things preventing any player from becoming great are headspace and commitment. They already have ability, otherwise they would not make it into the NFL.

  25. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Dave Pear Says
    “The roster Jason has put together should be winning 10 or 11 games a year the past few years and this year.”

    I would tend to agree with this. I cannot help but believe that if Arians had remained head coach, we might even have another ring.

    But the oline injuries were pretty harsh too.

  26. Dave Pear Says:

    Right on Bonz. Injuries in 2021 and not just to the OL, although that was bad —but also Godwin, then Permian and Grayson got dinged up and so did Lenny and RoJo. And the AB mental breakdown. And then of course the infamous Cover Nobody Non-blitz call that Bowels made to lose the Rams game after the heroic comeback.

  27. garro Says:

    Wow! Is Jason getting some respect from the four letter baffoons? What is going on here? How did the head baffoons let that one slip through?

    Jason has been one of the best for a long time now.

    Go Bucs!

  28. unbelievable Says:

    If Barton works out that’s 4/6 for 1st round lineman in recent years.

    Not too shabby